Environmental Protection: Oil Spillages

House of Lords written question – answered on 19 June 2007.

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Photo of Lord Fearn Lord Fearn Liberal Democrat

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What immediate steps are taken when an oil spillage occurs around the United Kingdom coastline; and how the costs of the initial and subsequent action are recovered.

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip

The immediate steps that are taken when an oil spillage from shipping or from an offshore installation occurs around the United Kingdom coastline are laid out in the National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations (the national contingency plan). Copies of the national contingency plan have been placed in the Library of the House.

The national contingency plan addresses pollution from ships and offshore installations. Should the United Kingdom be threatened by pollution from a land-based source, the Environment Agency would be the lead body, with assistance from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency if necessary. This arrangement is set out in an operating agreement between the two organisations.

The arrangements governing liability and compensation for pollution damage, including cost recovery and record keeping, are detailed in the national contingency plan.

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