Magazine article Geographical

Slick Move to Save Britain's Coasts from Oil

Magazine article Geographical

Slick Move to Save Britain's Coasts from Oil

Article excerpt

The government is hoping to save sensitive parts of Britain's coast from pollution by identifying high-risk areas. Waters around the UK's coastline include some of the world's busiest sea lanes; at any one time around 5,000 ships are operating in the North Sea alone. The majority of ship-related pollution to the sea is from oil released following accidents. The UK has suffered several major oil spills in the past 25 years. Local councils had to clean more than 70 beaches after the Sea Empress ran aground at Milford Haven in Wales in 1996 discharging 72,000 tons of crude. Other major spills include the Torrey Canyon in 1967 and the Rosebay in 1990.

Responding to these disasters, transport minister Lord Macdonald published a feasibility study in February on setting up Marine Environmental High Risk Areas (MEHRAs), and interested parties are expected to submit their views this month. The idea is just one of many recommendations contained in the report of Lord Donaldson's Inquiry, Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas, which was published in 1994 in the aftermath of the Braer oil pollution incident. …

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