HC Deb 03 April 1980 vol 982 c344W
Mr. Beith

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement about the recent oil pollution of the North Northumberland coast which resulted in many deaths of sea birds; and whether he has investigated the source of the oil.

Mr. Fox

Approximately 2,000 oiled sea birds were collected on the Northumberland coast during the latter part of March. Some 500 of these have died. Oil in patches came ashore during the same period on beaches between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Bamburgh. This has been dealt with by the local authority and a sample of the beached oil has been sent to the Government Chemist for analysis.

Aerial reconnaissance carried out by the Department of Trade in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy Council failed to locate any significant amounts of oil at sea. The Department of Trade, through the Coastguard, asked vessels in the area to keep a special look-out for oil and report any sightings. No reports were received.

It has not been possible to trace the source of the oil.