HC Deb 08 February 1967 vol 740 cc1654-5
62. Mr. Currie

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will arrange for regular air reconnaissance patrols of the seas surrounding the coasts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the detection of floating oil patches and for the treatment of such areas of oil by means of dispelling chemicals.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

The warnings of floating oil patches received from aircraft and ships are generally adequate. Any additional information received from regular air patrols would be very small in relation to the cost of such arrangements. It is open to local authorities to ask for the assistance of the Services in the clearing of offshore pollution when the latter have the necessary resources.

Mr. Currie

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the very grave nuisance value to people around the coast of this country caused by oil patches floating inshore, and of the grave damage done to bird life around the British Isles as a result of oil patches? Will he take energetic steps to have this grave nuisance dissipated?

Mr. Mallalieu

I am aware that this is a serious nuisance. I am also aware, if I may say so, that the Navy deals with this extremely efficiently. But it has to be paid for, and local authorities need persuasion on this.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does the Minister realise that the problem which this presents applies not only to the sea around Northern Ireland, but also to the seas around Britain, and that oil pollution is ruining many of our beaches? Will he take immediate steps to see that this problem is rectified?

Mr. Mallalieu

I am quite certain that my hon. and learned Friend will take every possible step to avoid pollution in Aberdeen.

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