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Court / More detail needed on cruise ship levy, LPA chief says

Photo: John Coutts

LERWICK Port Authority chief executive Calum Grains says sustainability is at the “top of the agenda” of the cruise sector – amid proposals to introduce an emissions levy on liners in Scotland.

He said detailed discussion is needed about the proposal, which was unveiled by the Scottish Greens at the weekend.

The party, which has a place in government as a result of a power sharing agreement with the SNP, said the aim is to reduce emissions while also tackling the “impact of thousands of tourists on port communities”.

Lerwick hosted nearly 130 cruise liners last year, and that number is due to rise in 2024.

With income potentially coming to local authorities through the scheme, Shetland Islands Council leader Emma Macdonald said a balance needed to be struck – with the cruise sector increasingly important to the isles’ tourism scene.

Lerwick Port Authority hosts incoming cruise ships, and its chief Calum Grains said more information was needed in the idea.

But he said the cruise sector is aware of its role in the move to net zero.

“Until we know how and when the proposed levy would be implemented and administered, including in relation to trust ports like us, it is impossible to gauge the impact on this important tourism industry or the benefits to communities,” Grains said.

“The cruise sector is already taking significant steps to transition to net zero, including new environmentally friendly vessels, with sustainability at the top of its agenda.

“The proposal will require detailed discussion on how to achieve the right balance between its aims and securing the industry’s continuing major contribution to the Scottish economy.”

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