Cruise ships to be charged new tax in Scotland

Cruise ships will be charged a new tax in Scotland as the country’s Green Party targets pollution and overtourism.

The levy has been designed to tackle the “twin challenges” of emissions and the ships’ impact on local communities.

Lorna Slater, Scottish Green co-leader, said: “We will with our partners in local government to empower councils to charge visiting cruise ships a levy.

“It will mean communities hosting cruise ships get the investment they deserve, and our aim would be to encourage greener ships.”

Ms Slater said the scheme was “essential” as one ship could produce the same number of emissions as 12,000 cars. She added that cruise operators “have been allowed to get away with polluting for too long”.

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More than 815,000 cruise ship passengers travelled to Scotland in 2019 to destinations including Oban and Leith.

Orkney Council recently announced plans to limit the number of ships that can visit at one time.

In Cromarty Firth, cruise ship crews were asked not to sound their horns after a noise complaint. However, more than 1,000 people signed a petition backing the horn blasts.

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Cruise ship tourism can be controversial with some local communities complaining about crowds and pollution.

In a study released earlier this year, Southampton was found to be one of the most polluted cruise ports in Europe.

Barcelona, Europe’s most polluted port and a top cruise destination, recently closed one of its city centre ports to cruise ships.

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Despite the bans, the world’s largest ever cruise ship is due to launch in January. Icon of the Seas, the latest Royal Caribbean vessel, has been on its second sea trials.

The team recently unveiled the crew bedrooms which have been specially designed for the new ship.

The Scottish Greens also announced an extension of free ferry travel for people under the age of 22 living on the Scottish islands.

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