§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
I understand from reports received from the South Hams district council, which, as the affected local authority in Devon, has the responsibility for dealing with oil pollution once it is washed ashore, that all holiday beaches in their area are clear.
The local authority is continuing to monitor beaches but there are no reports of further oil landing apart from a small quantity sighted at Hope Cove and Thurleston over the weekend of 2–3 June. There is still some oily scum around the more isolated rocky coves and some remaining bagged oily waste will be cleared from Gull and Causewell coves this week.
§ Mr. Steen
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to find suitable sites for the long-term storage and ultimate dumping of polluted sand and seaweed scraped off the beaches of the south Devon coastline; and if he will make a statement as to progress to date and the proposed timetable.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
The responsibility for identifying sites for the storage and disposal of polluted sand and seaweed lies with Devon county council as the relevant waste disposal authority.6W
I understand from the Department of Transport's marine pollution control unit, which set up a joint response centre with the local authorities involved in the clean-up operations following the incident, that the county council are currently considering, on the basis of MPCU advice, various options for the treatment and disposal of the oily waste collected.
These options include: assisting the natural degradation of the oil by bacterial treatment prior to disposal to a registered landfill site; stabilising the material to prevent further leaching of oil by treatment with quicklime and then, either disposal to landfill or use of the stabilised waste as a bedding for road building or car park construction.
The timetable will be set by the method eventually chosen and the wish of the county council to avoid any adverse traffic effects that might be caused during the busy summer season by the movement of the mass of collected material.
This material amounts to approximately 1,500 cubic metres and is currently being held in temporary lined holding sites.