HL Deb 06 April 1965 vol 265 cc1-2

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a statement can be made on the damage done to the sea bed and marine life off the Sussex coast by the recent sinking of 1,000 tons of oil by the use of the chemical Gamlin.]


My Lords, the chemical Gamlin is an oil solvent and an emulsifying agent. When spread on oil at sea it disperses he oil into the sea water. No material damage to marine life or to the sea bed is expected to result from its use on this occasion.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for that reply, may I ask whether he could have an investigation made to see whether what he has told us is actually the case? Could there be an examination of marine life and vegetation on the sea bed to see whether any damage has been caused? We know how on the surface of the land the use of chemicals, while bringing advantages, creates grave disadvantages, and it would be unfortunate if a similar sort of thing were to happen to the marine life and the vegetation of the sea bed.


My Lords, I am assured that this chemical does not cause oil or any part of it to sink to the sea bed. It does produce emulsion which is dispersed over a very wide area. Very careful tests have been made and, so far as it has been possible to ascertain, only the plankton within a limited distance would suffer from the use of this chemical. It is, of course, a wonderful way to prevent all this oil from eventually landing on the beaches.

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