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Air Quality


The air quality has a significant effect on the health and well-being of the population. All sectors have a responsibility to play their part to help improve the local air quality and the shipping industry will continue to make important contributions as part of the UK policy and its globally coordinated approach in dealing with air emissions.

The industry has made huge progress in recent years and is committed to continues to make significant advances. The industry has embraced new stringent global sulphur emission standards that came into effect from 1 January 2020. This is a global regulation that is being applied to all shipping worldwide by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). It will deliver a substantial reduction of sulphur emissions from the sector by at least 77% and have health benefits for coastal communities.

In addition, the IMO has introduced emission control areas to reduce emissions of air pollutants further in designated sea areas. As from 1 January 2015, the SOx and particulate matter limits were reduced to 0.10% in the North Sea and other SECA areas.


Marine diesel engine improvements and NOx reduction technologies have also brought massive reductions in NOx emissions. Marine engines installed on ships on or after 1 January 2011 are required to comply with Tier II emission limits and Tier III emissions limits apply for ships constructed on or after 1 January 2016 operating in NOx ECAs.

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