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Oil Spillage, West Coast

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 4 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what emergency provisions have been made to cover the event of an oil spillage off the west coast of Scotland.

Because it is impossible to predict where or when a tanker accident may occur, the marine pollution control unit's (MPCU) contingency plan consists of highly mobile resources on short-notice standby positioned at various locations around the United Kingdom, from where they can be deployed quickly to the west coast of Scotland or any other part of the United Kingdom that may be threatened by a major oil spillage.Local authorities on the west coast of Scotland all have their own contingency plans for dealing with coastal pollution and can call on advice and assistance from the MPCU, which in a major spillage would co-ordinate onshore clean-up operations as well as directing offshore activities. This is to ensure a fully integrated response.The MPCU is this year holding its annual major counter-pollution exercise off the west coast of Scotland to test the effectiveness of plans to deal with an oil spillage in that area. The exercise will take place on 4 and 5 July in the North Minch and will involve local authorities in both the Isle of Lewis and the Scottish mainland.