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Firth Of Clyde (Accident Hazards)

Volume 886: debated on Tuesday 11 February 1975

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7.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in view of the proximity of the torpedo testing range in Loch Long, the munitions quay serving Glen Douglas, the BP super tanker terminal at Finnart, the British Polaris base at Coulport, the US Polaris base at Holy Loch, and the British nuclear submarine base at Faslane, what analysis he has made of the compounding of the associated risks; and who is responsible for co-ordination following any major nuclear or oil accidents in the Firth of Clyde.

Full account was taken of safety considerations in the siting of these establishments. The chances of a public hazard arising at any of them is extremely remote, and there is no risk of an accident at one resulting in a further accident at any of the others.

In the highly unlikely event of a naval nuclear incident in the Firth of Clyde, the Commodore of the Royal Navy base at Faslane would co-ordinate action.

Primary responsibility for dealing with oil spillages rests with the Department of Trade the local authorities, the Ministry of Defence, the Clyde Ports Authority or the oil industry, according to where the spill occurs; co-ordination is achieved by joint contingency plans which exist to ensure that any major spillage is combated as quickly and effectively as possible.

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is rubbish to say that there is no compounding of risk? Will he say why no combined exercises have been carried out to test the warning system and safety measures?

The establishments were deliberately sited to ensure that even in the most unlikely event of an accident there would be no effect on large centres of population. The chances of a particular location being affected by accidents occurring at more than one establishment are exceedingly remote. I am personally completely confident of the arrangements that exist.