§ Mr. Laurance Reed
asked the Minister of State for Defence whether he will initiate a joint effort with other coastal states to clear the remaining minefields that hazard shipping in the North Sea.
§ Mr. Peter Kirk
The Royal Navy has co-operated regularly in the past in mine clearance operations to widen the shipping channels in the North Sea, and the requirement for future sweeps is under discussion with other North Sea coastal nations.
The hazard to shipping using the recognised routes is minimal and the chances that it would actuate any of the mines which still remain in the North Sea are negligible.