HC Deb 04 February 1985 vol 72 cc437-8W
Dr. David Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what public consultation his Department has carried out regarding its plans for tanker havens around the British Isles;

(2) if he will give a date for the publication of a list or map of tanker havens around the coast of Britain;

(3) if he will ensure that no sites of importance for nature conservation, as identified by the Nature Conservancy Council, are considered or used by his Department as tanker havens;

(4) if he will list those areas of coastline identified by his Department for use as tanker havens;

(5) if he will list the criteria used by the marine pollution control unit of his Department in assessing and identifying potential and actual tanker havens;

(6) if he will list those local authorities consulted by his Department regarding the identification and investigation of sites for coastal tanker havens, to be used as shelters for tankers in distress or leaking oil.

Mr. David Mitchell

It has long been established that the most effective way of preventing a continued spillage of oil from a damaged tanker is to remove her cargo by an emergency transfer operation and this can best, and most safely, be done in a sheltered place.

The possibility of drawing up a short list of specific places where such shelter might be provided was considered but has been rejected as being impractical. Instead the Nature Conservancy Council, the local authority associations and the Fisheries Departments have agreed that a broad survey of the whole of the United Kingdom coastline should be undertaken and a data bank established of all the marine, amenity and environmental factors that would need to be considered should a decision have to be taken to move a damage tanker to a sheltered place.

The NCC and MAFF have already been consulted about the environmental aspects involved and local authority views will be sought shortly.