17 July 2006
Barrett calls on ministers to block ship to ship oil transfer decision
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today launched a motion in parliament calling on government ministers not to give the go-ahead for controversial ship to ship oil transfer plans in the Firth of Forth.
Mr Barrett, whose Edinburgh West constituency includes the Forth Rail Bridge, has tabled the motion following last week’s announcement by the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency that they would be approving the contingency plan put forward by Forth Ports plc to deal with any oil spill. Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander, is widely expected to support the decision.
Mr Barrett had previously taken part in the consultation process for the contingency plan, arguing against the proposals along with Margaret Smith MSP, John’s colleague in the Scottish Parliament.
John Barrett said:
“The decision by the Maritime and Coastguard agency has rightly sparked outrage amongst local environmental groups and politicians alike. I am extremely disappointed that the views of local people have been so blatantly ignored.
“The proposed operations would take place on an extremely large scale in unpredictable waters and would risk doing serious damage to environmentally-significant waters and coastlines.
“There was almost universal opposition to these proposals. It is time for the Government to step in and ensure that the Forth is not needlessly put at risk.”
Mr Barrett has tabled the following Motion today in parliament:
Ship to Ship Oil Transfer in the Forth
That this House expresses disappointment at the decision by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to approve the oil spill contingency plan in the Firth of Forth; believes that due to the ecologically sensitive nature of the Forth, plans for ship to ship oil transfer should not be granted approval; recognises that there is wide-spread opposition to the plans from experts, environmental groups, local authorities and parliamentarians; and calls on the Transport Secretary not to approve ship to ship transfer unless Forth Ports can show conclusively that there will be no detrimental impact on the area’s environment including birds life and marine mammals as a result of the oil transfer operations.