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Oil: Pollution

Volume 496: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many incidents of oil pollution have been reported in each enumeration area (a) in each year since 1997 and (b) in 2009 to date; and how many of these incidents have resulted in prosecutions. (286299)

The following table shows the number of reported incidents received by the Environment Agency since 1997. The Environment Agency's national incident recording system began to be used in 2001. It is not possible to access information broken down into each enumeration area prior to 2001 without incurring disproportionate cost.

Number of oil pollution incidents (Category 1-4)

1997

5,542

1998

5,308

1999

5,381

2000

6,215

2001

5,684

The following table shows the number of reported incidents received by each Environment Agency region since 2002. This includes incidents from category 1-4. Category 1 incidents are the most serious, category 2 are significant but less severe, category 3 are relatively minor and category 4 are unsubstantiated incidents.

Region

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

20091

Anglian

761

706

687

591

518

502

432

195

Midlands

1217

973

811

605

644

619

609

264

North East

466

520

518

476

347

338

308

161

North West

525

442

333

331

242

235

214

95

Southern

552

539

452

389

361

313

292

125

South West

644

576

613

644

618

540

451

288

Thames

740

590

556

539

452

457

383

174

EA Wales

256

272

285

344

305

287

233

145

Total

5,161

4,618

4,255

3,919

3,487

3,291

2,922

1,447

1 January to June.

The following table shows the number of prosecutions from oil pollution incidents since 2001. This information has been provided by the Environment Agency's national enforcement database in tandem with the information above. On that basis information prior to 2001 is not available.

In cases where a prosecution is not the most appropriate course of action, the alternatives of a caution or warning will be considered. A warning is a written notification that, in the Environment Agency's opinion, an offence has been committed. It will be recorded and may be referred to in subsequent proceedings.

There is a lag between incident and prosecution, which may well be in excess of 12 months depending on the type of offence and its complexity.

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

20091

Anglian

3

0

0

1

6

2

4

4

0

Midlands

3

2

5

4

8

5

5

3

3

North East

0

0

5

3

8

6

4

8

11

North West

1

0

3

2

3

2

4

1

0

South West

4

3

4

4

5

7

10

9

1

Southern

1

0

0

0

1

2

2

0

2

Thames

0

0

5

6

3

5

8

3

0

Wales

0

1

0

2

0

3

4

0

2

Total

12

6

22

22

34

32

41

28

19

1 To date.