§ Mr. John Hunt
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has completed his review of arrangements for dealing with proposals to moor large vessels in coastal waters for storage and transportation purposes.
§ Mr. David Howell
Last year, following widespread concern over a proposal to moor a large tanker in the Solent for the storage and transhipment of liquefied petroleum gas, the Prime Minister asked me to consider with colleagues whether there was any scope for improving the present arrangements for dealing with such developments.
A working party of officials has now completed a review of the present administrative and statutory controls. Copies of its report have been placed in the Library. It confirms that existing arrangements need strengthening to deal with this new type of industrial development. Legislation is recommended to establish new controls over offshore industrial projects of the kind which already apply to similar developments on land. Such controls would enable the environmental and amenity aspects to be taken into account, and bring the procedures for consideration within ministerial control. New administrative arrangements are recommended to deal with any cases that may arise in the meantime.
The Government broadly endorse the working party's recommendation. In particular, they accept, in principle, that new statutory powers will be needed and that the Department of Trade should take the lead in preparing the necessary legislation. The form of the new controls will need careful consideration to avoid overlap with existing provisions, and this will necessarily take time. The Government therefore accept that improved administrative arrangements are needed in the meantime. The new procedures, within the framework of existing legislation, recommended in the report will be put into effect forthwith and will be co-ordinated by the Department of Trade.