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Nature Conservation: Oil

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the level of protection for wildlife in the Moray Firth against oil spillages from ships. (178222)

The relevant nature conservation regulations are the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994 No.2716) (as amended) as they apply to merchant shipping operations. Under these provisions, the Moray Firth is designated a special area of conservation and formal assessment of whether plans or projects will adversely affect the integrity of relevant nature conservation sites must take place, where there is likely to be a significant effect on such sites.

Regulation of merchant shipping is dealt with under Merchant Shipping legislation. Ports where oil is handled have their own oil spill contingency plans, compliant with the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998, (SI 1998 No.1056). Additionally, all of our seas and coasts are protected by the National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations.