New ship-to-ship oil transfer rules delay condemned by SNP MSP Angus MacDonald
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 20:32
Falkirk East MSP urges UK to act quickly
News the UK Government has delayed new rules to protect the Firth of Forth from ship-to-ship oil transfers has been condemned by SNP MSP Angus MacDonald.
This is the third hold up to changes in shipping regulations which were first promised more than two years ago and followed a concerted campaign for changes from the SNP Government and Scottish Parliament to protect areas of marine importance.
Angus MacDonald MSP, who campaigned four years ago to prevent the introduction of ship-to-ship oil transfers, which he said at the time could have a severe impact on the foreshore the length of Falkirk East's northern boundary should there be a spillage of oil said:
“This is disastrous news for a practice that is extremely dangerous and has no place in the Firth of Forth.
“The UK Government promised only in June this year it would introduce new rules to stop any further attempts for ship-to-ship transfers in the Forth.
“For the ministers to have agreed the change but it to be delayed by new regulations about new regulations is simply farcical.
“This is a huge blow to those fighting for improved protection of our waters from oil spills.
“Even a small spill could devastate wildlife and tourism for Falkirk district, Fife and the Lothians – and I urge the UK Government to hurry up and take action.
“It is over four years since proposals by Forth Ports for Ship to Ship transfer in the Forth were first made and the opposition to them now is as strong as it was then.
“This is just another example of the importance of transferring marine powers to Scotland so we can protect our seas in the way we see fit.
“Offshore marine control should be devolved to Scotland which would mean Scottish ministers would be able to block plans for ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Forth.
“With plans to close theForth Coastguard also coming from the UK Government there are serious questions over how a spill would be dealt with.
The delay is due to an act passed by the UK coalition government to suspend and review the proposed new regulations.
This resulted in the new rules being postponed firstly until April, secondly until October and now this latest setback.