HC Deb 12 December 1991 vol 200 cc549-50W
Mr. Frank Cook

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food up to what distance from the United Kingdom coastline his Department monitors the seawater and sediments for radioactive pollution; what contribution his Department makes towards establishing a scientific research base for the European Communities in controlling oceanic and sea pollution; and if he will make a statement on the future of pollution research conducted by his Department.

Mr. Maclean

The Ministry's fisheries radiological inspectorate carries out regular monitoring of seawater and sediments for radioactivity, and the results are published, with maps indicating areas covered, in the annual series of reports entitled "Radioactivity in Surface and Coastal Waters of the British Isles", copies of which are in the Library of the House. In addition to routine monitoring of coastal sediments, we have a full programme of offshore monitoring. Areas covered include the North sea, the Irish sea, Scottish waters, the English channel and the Bristol channel. The Ministry contributes its substantial expertise on marine pollution issues to EC activities in this field. This has included contributions to project MARINA, designed to assess exposure for the EC population to radiation as a consequence of disposals of radioactive waste into member states' waters. The Ministry also collaborates on projects within the EC's radiological protection and marine science and technology programmes. In total we plan to spend some £3.9 million on research and development related to aquatic environment protection in 1992–93. This is in areas such as the impact of riverine inputs, new potential pollutants, the impact of fishing on the marine environment and the relationship between pollution and fish disease, as well as on matters related to radioactivity and nuclear wastes. The programme is closely co-ordinated with that of other countries not only through the EC, but through other international organisations, such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas and the North sea task force.

Back to