Narrowboat owners across the West Midlands are facing financial ruin after European Commission officials launched plans to impose draconian emissions laws on boat engines. Philip Bradbourn MEP (Conservative, West Midlands) is joining forces with Michael Fabricant to push for vital amendments on the Recreational Craft Directive, due to come before the European Parliament shortly. If the Directive is passed as it currently stands, boat owners could be faced with bills of up to £20,000 per engine in order to comply with this latest European Union legislation.
Speaking from Brussels, Mr Bradbourn says: "This Directive is designed to help the environment by curbing noxious emissions from boat engines and mainly aimed at speedboats and yachts, but unless amended would also include barges and narrowboats. These have a central role in the heritage of the West Midlands, where we have a network of canals widely used for recreational purposes. We also have a thriving industry supplying and servicing old engines for installation into new boats. These old engines could not possibly meet the proposed new emissions ceilings, and I will be working hard in Brussels to get them exempted and keep the industry afloat."
Michael Fabricant adds: "The very existence of small business in and
around Lichfield which specialise in reconditioning old engines is under threat, not to mention the many narrowboats which contribute to the thriving canal leisure industry. Even the restoration of the Lichfield-Hatherton Canal could be hindered indirectly if these latest plans from Brussels are passed. I will be taking this up with the Department of the Environment in London while Philip plays his part in Brussels".