HC Deb 15 March 1938 vol 333 cc212-3
4. Mr. R. Gibson (for Mr. Grenfell)

asked the President of the Board of Trade the conditions under which oil is discharged by harbour authorities in Great Britain; whether uniform methods are employed in disposing of oil residues from tanks; whether separators are in general use; and whether he is proposing to issue further regulations to prevent oil pollution in British waters through the failure to convey the oil a sufficient distance from low-water mark when it is taken out for dumping into the sea?

Mr. Stanley

Separator barges are available at several of the important com- mercial harbours of this country for the purpose of receiving oily water from vessels, and the recovered oil is either consumed in the ordinary way or is burned under boilers at shore works. There is no uniform method of disposing of the sludge. If it is incombustible it is sometimes dumped on land as ordinary refuse and sometimes taken out to sea and dumped at varying distances from land outside territorial waters. So long as the deposits are not made within territorial waters in contravention of the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922, there is no power to take action; but I am not aware that any pollution of our coasts is caused by the dumping of the sludge.

Mr. R. Gibson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this discharge of oil results in a heavy death rate among sea birds and fish?

Mr. Stanley

This is not a question of the discharge of oil, but of the dumping of sludge.