§ Mr. Gale
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what further assessment he has made of the possibility of the satellite tracking of oil spills around the coastal waters of the United Kingdom; what assessment he has made of the Maritime and Coastguard pilot experiment into such tracking; and if he will make a statement. 525W
§ Mr. Jamieson
Trials and operational use of radar satellites in a number of countries, including the UK, have proved that this technology can be used to detect oil spills.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry completed several satellite trials last year. The report on the trials indicated that the integration of satellite images with routine flights of surveillance aircraft would increase visual detections of slicks and promote opportunities for evidence gathering on polluters.
During the next financial year the MCA will be using radar satellite technology operationally. In addition the MCA is working very closely with the EC and Bonn Agreement Members with a view to establish a collaborative approach to funding of such operations.