HL Deb 10 July 1996 vol 574 cc27-8WA
Lord Brabazon of Tara

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made in the clean-up operation following the "Sea Empress" oil spill of the Pembrokeshire coast.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen)

The clean-up operation has made excellent progress. The majority of beaches have now been cleaned of the heavy pollution immediately following the spill. Pembrokeshire's prime resort beaches at Tenby and Saundersfoot were restored in time for the Easter break and Tenby North Beach has recently been awarded the prestigious European "Blue Flag" for high standards of cleanliness and water quality. It is one of only four beaches in Wales to achieve this.

The main efforts in the ongoing clean-up operation are now concentrated on the most accessible areas of coastline. However, the strong winds and high waters of the Pembrokeshire coastline continue to reveal isolated patches of buried oil, tar balls from oil broken down at sea and some sheening effects as oil residues are washed out. All beaches continue to be monitored closely and "hit squads" are immediately brought into action to deal with any localised problems of this kind. Resources will continue to be deployed for as long as is necessary to complete the clean-up operation.