§ Mr. Macdonald
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation has taken place, and what advice has been received, from local authorities as to the adequacy of the scale, type and amount of boom equipment stationed in Scotland for use in an oil pollution incident.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
The Department's marine pollution control unit (MPCU) keeps local authorities fully informed of the content of its stockpiles of beach protection and cleaning equipment and is always ready to consider any suggestion they might make about the amount or type of equipment it keeps. However, there have been no formal consultations with, or advice from, local authorities as to the adequacy of the scale, type and amount of boom equipment stationed in Scotland for use in an oil spill incident.
As I explained in my answer of 4 July at col. 563 the MPCU's stocks of highly mobile resources, including booms, are on short notice stand-by at various locations around the United Kingdom from where they can be quickly deployed to the west coast of Scotland, or any other part of the United Kingdom which may be threatened by a major oil spill.
The adequacy of these resources is kept under constant review and following the Rosebay incident off the south Devon coast in May of last year, the MPCU has taken steps to enhance substantially its stockpiles, including the one at Cambusbarron in Scotland, by improving its stocks of booms, shoreline barriers, skimmers and other equipment.