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Birch Point

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress he has made in his investigations into the reasons for the movement of dumped materials outwith the Birch Point explosives disposal ground in the Firth of Clyde.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland fisheries research vessel Clupea was diverted from her programmed duties to undertake an underwater survey in and around the Birch Point disposal ground between 14 and 18 May 1990. As investigation of the dumping operations and fishing activity at the site has also been undertaken.Following consultations with the various regulatory bodies and other interested parties, including local fishermen's representatives, a report of the investigation and the findings of the survey is being finalised this week. The report will be published before the parliamentary recess and copies of the published report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.The initial investigation has confirmed that a further, closer survey of the dump site is needed. This will be undertaken by DAFS from 21 July to 5 August inclusive. In order for the survey to proceed all fishing activity in the area concerned will be prohibited for the duration of the survey. An order to this effect has been made under the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984 and the fishermen have been advised.Further guidance for fishermen in the Clyde area on what to do if explosive material is encountered in fishing gear is also in preparation in the light of the investigation and will be issued directly.