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Offshore Oil Spillage

Volume 972: debated on Monday 22 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied with the ability of his Department effectively and efficiently to deal with offshore oil spillage; and if he will make a statement.

My Department is structured to make a prompt and effective response to any oil spill which threatens major pollution of our coasts or waters. Whilst I am satisfied with this ability, no Government can guarantee that no oil will come ashore from such a spill.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply which may or may not give satisfaction to those who have heard it. Does he not agree that there is a need to develop alternatives to detergents upon which his Department relies so heavily at present? In this regard will he or one of his colleagues agree to inspect some technology that has been developed by a company in my constituency which manages to lift oil from water and which his colleagues at the Department of the Environment have already inspected and approved?

I appreciate my hon. Friend's constituency interest in this problem and the interest of his constituency companies in trying to solve it. I believe that representatives of those companies met Admiral Stacey this morning. He heads the marine pollution control unit. I hope that these technical points were put to him. My hon. Friend the Under- Secretary of State for Trade will be very happy to discuss these matters with my hon. Friend.