HC Deb 09 May 1956 vol 552 cc1206-7
40. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is aware that the present regulations regarding the ejection of oil from vessels at sea near the coast are not adequate to meet the situation, and that large portions of our beaches are still being contaminated and sea birds have to be destroyed after contact with the fudge and oil; and what further steps are being taken to deal more effectively with this nuisance.

Mr. Watkinson

There has been a general improvement in the oil pollution situation during the past few months and I am sorry that it has been marred by some recent incidents. I shall soon bring into operation the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1955, which provides for additional measures for the protection of our coasts.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that the present regulations are far from satisfactory for dealing with the problem? Is there anything to prevent him from issuing regulations to govern the position around our own coasts without waiting for international agreement on the matter?

Mr. Watkinson

That is what I was just saying. I am proposing very shortly to bring into operation the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1955, which will give great protection to our coasts.

Mr. Stokes

Do the new regulations include a provision for oil separators on all vessels coming into British ports? That is the only way to cure the trouble.

Mr. Watkinson

The right hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) is right on the technical point, but these regulations are very complex and I had better lay them first. I shall be laying them quite shortly