HC Deb 27 June 1995 vol 262 c569W
Mr. Betts

To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much public money has been spent to date on Shell's activities with regard to the proposed sinking of the Brent Spar oil platform. [30816]

Mr. Eggar

Consideration of Shell's proposals for disposal of the Brent Spar has taken three years and has involved a number of Government Departments and agencies. It is not practicable to quantify the cost in terms of public expenditure.

Mr. Dobson

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what requests for additional information about future options for the Brent Spar were made to Shell UK by Ministers or officials in his Department subsequent to the Department receiving the Brent Spar abandonment best possible environmental option analysis in early 1994; what date, and by whom and what method, such requests were made; what was the response of Shell UK; and if he will make a statement. [31082]

Mr. Eggar

[holding answer 26 June 1995]: The decision to dispose of the Brent Spar at a deep-sea site was the best practicable environmental option. That decision was arrived at after three years of detailed work. Regular discussions with Shell throughout that time ensured that the Government were able to carry out a full assessment of the various alternatives. From 13 possible options, six were studied in detail and two exhaustively. It was concluded that deep-sea disposal was preferable to onshore dismantling. Any proposals that Shell now puts forward relating to land disposal will need to address the problems which led to the identification of deep-sea disposal at the best practicable environmental option.

Mr. Steen

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he is currently making about the viability of relocating the Brent Spar oil rig to Brixham to form the northern arm of the harbour protection scheme; and if he will make a statement. [30990]

Mr. Eggar

None—it is for Shell UK Ltd. and Esso Exploration and Production UK Ltd. as owners of the installation, to come forward with proposals for its future.