Lorna Slater speaking at Scottish Green Party conference

The Scottish Government is set to give local councils the power to charge a levy on cruise ships, the Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater announced today. Slater, who is currently the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity in the Scottish Government, announced the policy in her keynote speech to the Scottish Greens’ conference taking place in Dunfermline.

The Scottish Greens say that the policy will allow councils to reduce the amount of harmful emissions from cruise ships while generating money for investment in areas under pressure from high levels of tourism. The party has said that the policy is intended to encourage cruise operators to switch to zero emission vessels.

Addressing the conference, Slater said: “We will work with our partners in local government to empower councils to charge visiting cruise ships a levy. 

“This will mean communities that host cruise ships get the investment they deserve, and it is my intention to ensure that Councils are empowered to charge the most polluting ships more. 

“This is essential – a typical ship produces the same amount of carbon emissions as 12,000 cars; operators have been allowed to get away with polluting for too long. A cruise ship levy will empower councils to help tackle this global problem.”

Europe’s most polluted port, Barcelona, has announced a ban on cruise ships to their city, while Norway will refuse to allow all but zero emission ships to sail its fjords in two years. 

In addition to the cruise ship levy, Slater also used her speech to announce that the Scottish Government would be exploring a ‘local carbon land tax’. This would be designed to incentivise landowners to restore degraded peatlands and create more woodland.

Slater also announced that the Scottish Government intends to develop up to 6 gigawatts of new solar power over the next six years.

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