HC Deb 09 November 1988 vol 140 cc302-3
15. Mr. Menzies Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has received about pollution in the North sea.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Since 1 July this year my right hon. and learned Friend has received representations about pollution in the North sea from the hon. and learned Gentleman, and from two organisations and five individuals.

Mr. Campbell

Does the Minister accept that there is real concern about the level of pollution in the North sea up and down the whole of Scotland's east coast? Will he undertake on behalf of the Government to take proper steps to deal with that matter? In particular, will he give an undertaking to make the necessary capital allocation to Fife regional council, so that it can institute the Levenmouth sewage disposal scheme?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Fife regional council's allocation for water and sewerage has risen steadily from £5.5 million in 1985–86 to £7.7 million in 1988–89. Sixty to 70 per cent. of that figure relates to sewerage and sewage treatment. The allocation and guideline figures for 1989–90 and for 1990–91 are close to the council's own planned expenditure figures and are about 11 per cent. above the Scottish per capita average. Nevertheless, I take seriously the hon. and learned Gentleman's general point.

Dr. Godman

The Minister knows that our fishermen are deeply concerned about marine pollution. Does he agree that they would be encouraged if the Government were to instruct Occidental to remove completely from the sea bed what remains of the ill-fated Piper Alpha? Will the Minister kindly advise his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy that section 5 of the Petroleum Act 1987 gives him precisely that power to impose upon Occidental a programme of complete removal?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The hon. Gentlman has raised a very interesting point, which I shall draw to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy.