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As an island nation, the Government is committed to supporting coastal communities and levelling-up across the Union. We are working with local leaders to ensure every coastal region, city and town will recover from Covid-19 and ultimately level-up.
We have continued to make significant progress in supporting coastal communities in a number of areas, demonstrated by the Coastal Communities Fund now having supported 359 projects, totalling over £229 million since 2012. This has funded ambitious schemes such as 'Waters of the Wash' in Kings Lynn, transforming a Norfolk harbour town into a unique sailing destination complete with a new pontoon and swing mooring.
Our coastal economies and communities add unique value to the country and offer significant growth potential. Our commitment to unlocking this growth was demonstrated at Budget 2021, where the Chancellor announced 8 Freeports in 8 regions of England, 7 of them in coastal areas. Freeports will be national hubs for international trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK; attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities across the country including in coastal areas.
Our £106 million Welcome Back Fund is helping local councils to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic by reinvigorating their local communities and supporting local economies. Funding has been allocated to all local authorities in England with additional assistance of up to £100,000 for coastal authorities. This helped our seaside resorts fully capitalise on a rise in domestic tourism over the spring and summer months.
The Department has made no assessment of the potential effect on coastal communities of providing Government funding for maritime decarbonisation. However, in 2019, alongside the Clean Maritime Plan, the Department published an assessment which identified that low and zero emissions shipping could result in potential economic benefits to the UK of around £360-£510 million per year by the middle of the century.
Maritime UK has published its views that investment in maritime decarbonisation could in future create jobs in all four nations of the United Kingdom, particularly in coastal communities with a tradition of maritime economic activity, including shipbuilding.
Industry research estimates that in 2017 the UK maritime sector as a whole directly supported more than 220,000 jobs for UK employees.
The Spending review launched on 7 September by the Chancellor of the Exchequer will conclude alongside an Autumn Budget on 27 October. It would be premature for me to comment on any plans for further investment in maritime decarbonisation before a settlement has been agreed.
The Government has carefully considered all industry submissions, including the proposals published by Maritime UK. The Spending review launched on 7 September by the Chancellor of the Exchequer will conclude alongside an Autumn Budget on 27 October. It would be premature for me to comment on any plans for further investment in maritime decarbonisation before a settlement has been agreed.
To date the Department for Transport has funded a £1.5 million competition for innovation in clean maritime and provided £93,897 in grant support through the 2019 Department’s Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant (TRIG) Programme, to early stage research projects related to clean maritime. In 2020 the TRIG programme provided almost £90,000 to clean maritime projects. Under this programme the Department allocated £400,000 this year to 13 projects in zero emission shipping.
In March this year Government launched a Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) to decarbonise the maritime sector. The CMDC will allocate up to £23 million in R&D funding to 55 projects comprising of feasibility studies and trials in zero emission shipping technologies, accelerating the development of zero emission technology and infrastructure in the UK.
The British Government remain committed to delivering a broad human rights agenda across Latin America. Our programming across the region has included projects to strengthen democracy, protect civil society space by fostering freedom of expression and build capacity for local human rights defenders, which includes environmental activists.
As set out in the FCDO Annual Human Rights Report, we expect British businesses to respect local and international law wherever they operate. The UK was the first country to create a National Action Plan to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This plan sets out what is expected of the conduct of UK businesses, including compliance with relevant laws and respect for human rights; treating the risk of causing human rights abuses as a legal compliance issue; adopting appropriate due diligence policies; and consulting those who could potentially be affected.
We remain concerned about the persistent level of violence and threats towards environmental defenders in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America and we regularly raise human rights issues with the Colombian Government and in multilateral fora. Most recently, the UK's Minister for the Environment, Lord Goldsmith, visited Colombia and raised our concerns around violence and threats toward environmental defenders on 5-8 October and discussed ways in which the UK can support the Colombian Government’s efforts to tackle that violence.