A few days before the Parliament was closed down because of Easter there was a debate that took place called Oil Spill: Poole Harbour. The session began with Richard Drax who is the MP for South Dorset and he opened with the call “(Urgent Question): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the oil spill in Poole harbour.” and the Minister who responded to him and the other MPs was Rebecca Pow whose first few words are listed below. The session includes the responses from Rebecca to Richard and his response and the second comment can be obtained from here. However along with the call from Richard there was also a response from Caroline Lucas who is the MP for Brighton Pavilion and her response was very significant for both Poole and also West Sussex but sadly Rebecca did not pick up these calls. So this is the response to Richard:
Rebecca: I can confirm that at 8 o’clock on Sunday 26 March, the Poole harbour commissioners declared a major incident following an oil spillage of approximately 200 barrels into Poole harbour in Dorset. The spill is understood to be of a product that is 80% saline solution and 20% crude oil. The cause of the spill has been reported as a fault with a land-based pipeline operated by Perenco Oil and Gas. The pipe has since been shut off and depressurised to prevent any further contamination, and booms have been deployed to help contain the spill. Investigations are under way to determine the reason for the fault and to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
And here is the comment and response following Caroline’s call later in the debate:
Caroline: Poole harbour is a haven for wildlife and is home to rare species, so this spill is incredibly saddening. The Minister says she wants to ensure the disaster is not repeated, but she must know that where there is drilling, there is some spilling. There have been a staggering 721 oil spills in the North sea alone over the past three years. Just last month, the Planning Inspectorate overturned West Sussex County Council’s refusal of permission for more testing for shale oil reserves in Balcombe, beneath the High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty. Given the huge risk to the natural world when things go wrong, will she ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to review this decision?
Rebecca: It is all about balance—it is important that we protect our natural environment, particularly in areas as precious as Poole Harbour, because that is as important to our economy as the oil—and ensuring that the investigation is correctly carried out as swiftly as possible. Anything that needs to be put in place to enhance our environmental protections and measures must be put in place—and I would say the same for any other similar project.