Ship-to-Ship Transfers

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th March 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Steven Paterson Steven Paterson Scottish National Party, Stirling 12:00 am, 30th March 2017

What recent discussions he has had with Ministers of the Scottish Government on the devolution of powers on ship-to-ship transfers.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Neither I nor the Minister responsible for this issue, my right hon. Friend Mr Hayes, has had any contact with the Scottish Government so far about the devolution of ship-to-ship transfers. However, the Minister of State wrote to Scottish Ministers earlier this month, acknowledging that the permitting arrangements for granting oil transfer licences for ship-to-ship transfers needed improvement. Our intention is to review the process around the application and assessment of licences in consultation with the devolved Administrations later this year.

Photo of Steven Paterson Steven Paterson Scottish National Party, Stirling

I thank the Minister for that positive response. SNP colleagues, the Scottish Government and local communities are unconvinced by the safety of ship-to-ship oil transfers, particularly in the Cromarty firth, which is a European special protection area for bottlenose dolphins. I am pleased that the Minister is prepared to take up the case with Scottish Ministers, and I wonder whether he would consider devolving powers, which I think is appropriate, so that such decisions could be taken in Scotland.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We will certainly be consulting, as I just said. I understand that the original application from the Cromarty Firth port authority was not suitable and that it is looking to make a further application. If one is submitted, there will be a full consultation exercise, and the Scottish Government will be formally consulted.