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Brussels, 5 July 2005

Dutch aid to make inland waterways vessels more environmentally friendly

The Commission authorised today a Dutch aid scheme on the basis of which subsidies can be granted for the replacement or retrofitting of diesel engines used by inland waterways vessels. The scheme will be in force for 5 years with a total budget of approximately € 20 million.

The aim of the scheme is to achieve a substantial reduction in the NOx’s emissions of the existing inland waterways fleet[1] in the Netherlands by subsidising low-emission diesel engines. In particular, the scheme will grant subsidies for investment in:

  • acquisition of a low-emission ship's diesel engine instead of a conventional ship's diesel engine when building a new ship or re-engineering an existing ship;
  • acquisition of a low-emission ship's diesel engine instead of overhauling a conventional ship's diesel engine currently in use;
  • retrofitting a current conventional ship's diesel engine into a low-emission one.

The scheme will benefit vessels registered in the Netherlands irrespective of nationality.

The Commission considers the scheme to be in line with the EC Treaty[2], in particular with the Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection[3]. On the basis of these Guidelines, investments in equipments intended to reduce or eliminate pollution and nuisances can be allowed.

[1] within the framework of the commitments imposed by EC Directive 2001/81 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants OJ L 309/2001, p.22

[2] Under Art .87 (3) (c) of the Treaty

[3] OJ 3.2.2001, C 37, page 3

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