Aqueduct Marina to focus on the environment during 2022 | Cheshire
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    Aqueduct Marina to focus on the environment during 2022

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    As 2021 came to an end, Aqueduct Marina’s MD, Robert Parton, reflected on a recent trip to Birmingham and the possible implications to boat owners if cities decide to take more action to combat air pollution.

     “Late last year, I attended a British Marine, Inland Boating seminar in central Birmingham where the attendees that arrived by car found themselves having to deal with the new central Clean Air Zone. At the moment, if you’ve arrived in Birmingham by boat, the clean air zone charges wouldn’t apply. As you might expect, the zone only applies to older diesel vehicles using city centre roads. The zone was finally introduced on 1st June last year after many delays. These vital changes that need to be put in place to combat climate change and improve air quality in many areas and will impact on us all in one way or another.”

     “With the recent COP26 conference in Glasgow bringing such matters to the forefront of our minds, the green agenda is being widely discussed and, as a result, the regulations stemming from it are making the issue increasingly real. So it was apt that the new zone came into effect this year.”

     “Although I travelled by train to the seminar, I noticed that the Clean Air Zone has Gas Street Basin within it and that, for now, the canal boats are unaffected. But the question is, how long will it be before canal boats also have to pay? Discussions with the city council well before the zone were put in place resulted in the spokesman saying that ‘they had no plans to charge boats on the canal within the zone.’ The feeling would seem to be that it would be too difficult to administer, but with boats using the Bridgewater canal being recorded from the first bridge, in an effort to stop overstayers, it makes you wonder if a similar arrangement could be put in place in the city centre?”

     “The reasoning behind the establishment of the Clean Air Zone in Birmingham is to reduce the pollution levels within the city centre. With this in mind, are boaters to expect restrictions on the use of stoves within the zone? A number of other areas have introduced restrictions on the use of stoves so, could Birmingham will follow suit?”

     “Moorings are another way of reducing pollution and emissions. Will the Canal and River Trust clamp down on the residential moorings, some of which have been blamed for the static running of engines to charge batteries? Local residents, too, have, in some locations, complained about the boaters using their stoves to keep warm. Restrictions on time limits or the implementation of local rules could tackle the problem?”

     “Currently, there is a lot of talk about the use of HVO fuel, derived from used vegetable oil and, if used correctly, can dramatically reduce the emissions from a boat’s engine. The IWA are supporting moves in this direction, and CRT is currently trialling its use in some of their workboats. We, at Aqueduct, are also looking into the possibility of offering it to boaters and using it ourselves on-site. Though if the use of HVO takes off and requires the cutting down of the rain forest to grow Palm oil to meet demand, rather than just using recycled oils, the environmental benefits will be very questionable.”

     “So the coming year looks interesting as more and more work is done to reduce the carbon footprint of the waterways, and we at Aqueduct Marina are keen to play our part so, keep an eye on our social media channels and website for news during 2022.”

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