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Environment Council

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she supported French proposals at the Environment Council on 4 March to create a programme to monitor by satellite hydrocarbon discharges at sea; and if she will make a statement. [103825]

[holding answer 19 March 2003]: The French made a statement proposing enhanced European co-operation in satellite monitoring of hydrocarbon discharges at sea under "Other Business". There was no substantive debate of the issue and the United Kingdom did not intervene.The UK has used satellite surveillance on a trial basis, with the Coastguard Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre acting as the focal point. The experience was positive, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport is keen to develop the facility further. The UK already shares satellite information with other Contracting Parties to the Bonn Agreement, and we are working with those Parties and with the EC Management Committee on Marine Pollution with a view to establishing an international monitoring programme.