§ Dr. Gray
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether, in view of the latest oil pollution of East Anglian beaches, he will arrange for a regular helicopter patrol service from Great Yarmouth Heliport so that local government authorities receive sufficient advance warning to take suitable counter measures.
§ Mr. Greenwood
A system is already in being under which sightings of oil are reported to the coastguards, who inform local authorities. After discussion with the local authority associations my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I are about to issue a circular which will advise local authorities how best to use the information received from coastguards and how to obtain weather data in order to predict the movement of oil slicks. In certain circumstances Service aircraft will be available to reconnoitre an oil slick. The great expense of a regular helicopter patrol would not in my view be justified.