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Irish Sea: Pollution

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what pollution incidents there were involving more than 0.01 tonnes of spillage in the Irish Sea in each year since 2003; on what date each occurred; what size the spillage was; and which company (a) reported and (b) was responsible for each incident. (176661)

The Environment Agency’s pollution incident database shows that there were 237 recorded incidents on or close to the Irish Sea coast between 2004 and 2006. These cover a range of incident types and severities. Not all of these spillages or releases will have entered the waters of the Irish Sea.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effect of tribulyte tin from ships on the marine environment in the Irish Sea. (177056)

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), together with colleagues in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland and the Fisheries Research Services in Scotland have carried out studies on the effects of tributyl tin (TBT) on dogwhelks in the seas around the UK, including the Irish sea. The results, based on surveys between 1994 and 2003, show that effects on reproduction only appear to be significant within a few hundred metres from point source discharges of TBT.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what procedures are in place to monitor the effect of the tribulyte tin from ships on the marine environment in the Irish Sea. (177511)

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), together with colleagues in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland and the Fisheries Research Services in Scotland have carried out studies on the effects of tributyl tin (TBT) on dogwhelks in the seas around the UK, including the Irish sea. The results, based on surveys between 1994 and 2003, show that effects on reproduction only appear to be significant within a few hundred metres from point source discharges of TBT.

In the UK, approval for use of tributyl tin as a biocide in antifouling systems, granted under the Food and Environment Protection Act (FEPA) or the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR), was revoked by the Health and Safety Executive in 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his next OSPAR quality status report on the Irish Sea is due; and if he will make a statement. (177512)

The main joint working on the state of the Irish sea is carried out within the framework of the Oslo and Paris (OSPAR) Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic, where regular assessments are done, information gathered by the various organisations is brought together and assessments are made and published in the OSPAR quality status report (QSR). The last QSR was published in the year 2000, and included a regional report on the Celtic seas. The next QSR will be published in 2010.