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Beaufort's Dyke: Survey Work

Volume 569: debated on Thursday 29 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:When they will announce details of further survey work at Beaufort's Dyke.

The Government have arranged for the Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen, to undertake further surveys of Beaufort's Dyke and the surrounding area. The principal objective of this work, which will be undertaken in May and July, will be to map the densities and distribution of any dumped munitions, particularly those located outwith the Beaufort's Dyke explosives disposal site.The survey work will encompass:

  • an area to the north, including the territory to be covered by the proposed electricity interconnector;
  • the area to the east between the deep trench and the Scottish coastline;
  • and an area to the south and east up to and including the natural gas pipeline between Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

The final limits of the investigation will be determined by the distribution and densities of dumped munitions. A map of the areas to be covered by the survey has been placed in the House Library.

The MLA investigations will utilise their research vessel's hull-mounted transducer interfaced to RoxAnn ©, high resolution side-scan sonar, towed sledge, ROV-mounted and drop frame (suspended from the survey vessel) underwater television systems, and a magnetometer, or pulse induction or resistivity system. A boomer system may also be used to investigate sub-surface seabed sediments.

Seabed sediment and fish and shellfish samples will again be collected, particularly from those areas which were not sampled earlier, to confirm whether dumped munitions have had an effect on the quality of the marine environment or commercially exploited species.