Shetlands (MV Braer Incident)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:25 pm on 11th January 1993.

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Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale 4:25 pm, 11th January 1993

On the lack of urgency, the hon. Gentleman seems to overlook the fact that the Scottish Office Minister responsible for the environment, my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro), went to Shetland the day after the incident, as did the Minister for Aviation and Shipping from the Department of Transport. Since then, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport and my right and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I have visited Shetland and spent a considerable time talking to a wide range of interest groups involved. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment would have been in Shetland again today for his second visit but for the weather. So there is no lack of urgency or commitment on the part of the Government, as is reflected in the statements by my right hon. Friend and I today.

On compensation, I hope that the hon. Gentleman upholds the fundamental principle that the polluter pays. In the meantime, to deal with short-term economic hardship, I have announced the setting up of a bridging fund to help to meet the anxieties that he identified.