Brittany Ferries fares to rise as firm pays for fuel changes

Brittany Ferries' Mont St Michel Leaves Portsmouth
Brittany Ferries' Mont St Michel Leaves Portsmouth
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FERRY fares will rise to help minimise the impact of spending millions of pounds upgrading vessels to meet anti-pollution laws.

Brittany Ferries is putting up prices across services, including those from Portsmouth, by an average of four per cent from November 4.

It comes as the company announced it has to spend £320m over the next four years changing its fleet to reduce emissions..

The European Union has ordered fuel sulphur levels need reducing from 3.5 per cent to 0.1 per cent by January, on the back of recommendations by The International Maritime Organisation. Brittany Ferries first warned last year that the EU regulation could affect its business

As Brittany Ferries cannot complete the work by January, it will have to use diesel fuel which is lower in sulphur but more expensive – another factor in prices going up.

Extra ferries will be brought to Portsmouth from Poole and Plymouth to ensure services aren’t affected, though it means fewer will run from the other ports.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, the council’s cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said the ticket hikes were a concern.

‘It’s a mixed bag,’ Cllr Stubbs said. ‘While it’s welcome that Brittany Ferries is protecting the services out of Portsmouth, any price rise will lower demand.

‘After all, there are lots of ways of crossing the Channel and price rises will just move some traffic over to the Channel Tunnel.’

The programme will see sulphur scrubbers fitted to Portsmouth-based ships Normandie and Cap Finistère and the work could cost up to £10m per ship.

Work on Normandie will happen between October and December and the latter will have alterations made from January to March. City-based Mont St Michel will be out of action from September to December next year while £20m is spent making it run on liquefied natural gas.

A Brittany Ferries spokesman said: ‘Unfortunately, the current EU approach forces us to bring forward the work, necessitating a minor reduction of sailings in the coming months as ships are withdrawn from service for refits.’

Individual price rises have not yet been confirmed.