To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action is being taken to assist coastal local authorities with the removal of debris on beaches dumped by ships at sea.
[holding answer 24 April 1990]: Material dumped by ships at sea is one source of beach debris, and to prevent or minimise such pollution the United Kingdom Government have implemented all the relevant provisions of the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships (MARPOL). This includes strict controls on the discharge of oil and chemicals, garbage and the carriage of packaged dangerous goods. The provision and monitoring of port reception facilities for these wastes is an important requirement of the convention. With regard to garbage, the disposal of any plastic into the sea is prohibited and other forms of garbage may be dumped only under strict conditions. Regulations to this effect were made by the Secretary of State for Transport, which came into force on 31 December 1988.The responsibility for clean up of the coastline lies principally with local authorities, and while it is for authorities to determine their own priorities, their spending on environment protection generally is taken into account in the Government's support for local authority expenditure.