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Piper Alpha (Pollution)

Volume 174: debated on Thursday 14 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what monitoring is being undertaken to establish the effects on the marine environment, including fish stocks and sea mammals, of the loss of polychlorinated biphenyls from the Piper Alpha platform; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 24 May 1990]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply which was given to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) on 25 January (Vol. 165, columns 839–40.Officials have since discussed with representatives of the fishing industry and the Nature Conservancy Council the results of the surveys carried out under the abandonment programme approved by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. My right hon. Friend is considering what further monitoring may be needed under the abandonment programme.DAFS will continue to monitor the area round Piper Alpha as part of its general monitoring of the contaminant levels in sea water and in fish stocks in sea waters around Scotland.

Research on contaminants in seals and other sea mammals in Great Britain's coastal waters has been commissioned by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. The sea mammal research unit in co-operation with the DAFS marine laboratory, Aberdeen is at present examining the relationship between contaminant burdens in seals and their feeding sites by studying a group of breeding female grey seals over a number of years. Results are expected soon.