HL Deb 02 February 1977 vol 379 cc951-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What mandatory requirements are now in force, comparable to those in force in the Norwegian sector, for companies operating off-shore to remove unwanted gear and debris from the seabed, which may be a hazard to fishing operations. [25th January.]


Discussions have been held with Norwegian officials on this subject and it emerges that the Norwegian requirements relate to debris left around abandoned wells.

The United Kingdom has no similar specific requirements, but all consents for the abandonment of wells, given under conditions of licences, require the clearing of the immediate area around them, including removal of the wellhead and casing to a depth of at least ten feet below the seabed.

Other licence conditions state that the licensee shall not carry out licensed operations in such a manner as to interfere unjustifiably with navigation or fishing in the waters of the licensed area or with the conservation of the living resources of the sea.

If waste material which was loaded on to a supply vessel for disposal onshore was subsequently dumped en route, there would be an infringement of the Dumping at Sea Act, 1974.