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North Sea Dumping

Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations have been made regarding the proposed dumping of 50,000 tonnes of acid and other wastes into the sea off the north-east coast from other countries and United Kingdom organisations; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has received a number of representations from some of the other contracting parties to the Oslo commission and from United Kingdom organisations about proposals to issue licences for the dumping of industrial wastes into the North sea.In accordance with the requirements of the internationally agreed procedures in respect of the dumping of such wastes after 1989, we have submitted detailed information to the Oslo commission about the nature of the wastes concerned, the methods of dumping proposed, the tests carried out to confirm that such dumping would not pose any risk of harm to the marine environment and the work undertaken into alternative disposal methods. An Oslo commission working group on 14 February 1989 expressed its appreciation of the United Kingdom's efforts to phase out this dumping. As a result of these efforts to establish environmentally acceptable land-based methods for dealing with these wastes I was able on 2 February to announce my intention to terminate the licences for their disposal at sea by the end of 1992. Two licences would be extended into 1993 only if absolutely necessary and for the shortest possible part of that year.