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27 Feb 07. A new UK strategy to improve the conditions in which ships are recycled is published today. The aim is to ensure that Government-owned and commercial ships are recycled to acceptable health, safety and environmental standards, particularly in developing countries.

The UK has taken the decision to develop its own strategy rather than wait for the outcome of international negotiations, which are likely to take several years to bring any agreement into force. Based on current estimates, some 30 MoD vessels are scheduled to come out of operation by 2013.

For commercial vessels, it is expected that some 400 EU flagged ships will require recycling by 2010 due to the phase out of single hull tankers. The Strategy provides: New guidance on the sale or recycling of Government-owned vessels. This includes additional conditions in sales contracts to ensure that new owners take full responsibility for the safe recycling of the vessels allowing recycling only in facilities meeting acceptable standards and introducing stronger controls on vessels exported outside the UK.

Recommendations for UK ship owners clarifying the UK position on European and international obligations for the import and export of vessels to and from the UK. Recommendations for recycling facilities including expanding capacity to relieve current limited options available to ship owners and upgrading existing facilities in developing countries to ensure improved conditions for workers and the environment. Defra has also issued guidance to improve understanding of the regulatory framework and to signpost assistance available to those who wish to recycle ships in the UK. A full Regulatory Impact Assessment has been produced to accompany the Strategy.

The Strategy is published at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/strategy/ship.htm

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