HC Deb 19 July 1995 vol 263 c1578W
Mr. Olner

To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what study his Department made of routine onshore dismantling of oil rigs before giving permission to dump the Brent Spar at sea; [36282]

(2) if the Government ordered an independent body to sample and analyse the contents of the Brent Spar during the currency of the proposal for deep sea disposal; [36279]

(3) what assessment he has made of the time-scale for the length of time the Brent Spar would take to break up if dumped at sea; and what considerations led him to his conclusions; [36281]

(4) what is now his policy toward the deep-sea dumping of oil rigs. [36283]

Mr. Eggar

Several options, including onshore disposal, were considered for the abandonment of the Brent Spar before the judgment was made that deep-sea disposal was the best practicable environmental option in this case.

Independent surveys were carried out which enabled Shell to assess the contents of the Brent Spar. Copies of the impact hypothesis, which examines the long-term fate of the structure on the seabed, have been placed in the Library of the House.

It remains Government policy to consider every proposal on a case-by-case basis and in the light of a comparative assessment of the alternative options. This will have proper regard for environmental considerations and other users of the sea, as well as risk, technical feasibility and cost in order to arrive at the best practicable environmental option.