HC Deb 21 May 1973 vol 857 cc20-1
23. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many persons are employed in his Department to advise him in matters of safety concerning exploration of North Sea oil and gas.

Sir G. Howe

Nine technical staff and six administrative staff are available to advise on safety questions as part of their wider duties. The technical staff is being expanded.

Mr. Eadie

What part has the Department to play in the co-ordination of safety matters, particularly in relation to oil rigs? Are inspections being made regularly, and is he satisfied that the inspectorate has the staff to deal with this new but important problem?

Sir G. Howe

I agree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of the problem. Inspectors make regular visits to offshore installations to ensure that the conditions are complied with, and as offshore activities develop so the staff will be expanded.

Mr. Marten

Is my right hon. and learned Friend's Department geared to cope with pollution caused by North Sea oil exploration?

Sir G. Howe

That is more a matter for the Department of my right lion. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, but I take note of the point raised by my hon. Friend.