Counter Pollution & Response
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is the competent U.K. authority that responds to pollution from shipping and offshore installations. The MCA is regularly called upon to react to a wide range of maritime incidents and have developed a comprehensive response procedure to deal with any emergency at sea that causes pollution, or threatens to cause pollution. The “National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations” (NCP), which is currently under review was published in January 2000 and sets out revised command and control procedures for incident response following Lord Donaldson’s Review of Salvage and Intervention and their Command and Control. These procedures have built-in thresholds to allow for flexibility of response to different degrees of incident.
The MCA runs and participates in many maritime exercises each year to ensure the operational readiness of its staff and equipment. The CPR Branch organises a series of training courses for local authorities to prepare their personnel to respond to shoreline pollution. The Oil Pollution, Contingency Planning and Response Course is run four times a year at key locations around the UK. These courses are aimed at Emergency Planning Officers within local authorities and cover all aspects of spill response from the local authorities’ perspective. CPR also runs eight two-day courses in Oil Spill Response, aimed at local authority Beachmasters, which are hosted by local authorities. Both courses are accredited by the Nautical Institute. MCA also run Decision Making in Oil Spill Response Courses to prepare the statutory nature conservation agencies, the environmental regulators and the Government fisheries departments for their role in the Environment Group set up in response to a maritime incident.
Advisory Commitee on Protection of the Sea (ACOPS)
The Advisory Commitee on Protection of the Sea (ACOPS) is one of the world’s first environmental NGOs. Private, independent and non-political, enjoying UK charitable status. Originally concentrated on encouraging international agreements to reduce marine oil pollution, ACOPS has expanded its interests to include land-based sources of marine pollution, as well as other aspects of degradation of the coastal and marine environment.
ACOPS has a broad constituent base, consisting of international associations of local authorities, wildlife and environmental protection organisations, trade unions, academic bodies, ports and harbours, tourist and shipping industries, as well as eminent individual members which include some of the world’s leading politicians, administrators, scientists, economists and lawyers. There are no formalised central briefing mechanisms.
The following are Annual Surveys of Reported Discharges attributed to vessels and offshore oil and gas installations operating in the United Kingdom Pollution Control Zone:
For more info visit: www.premiam.org
The MCA are partners in a new cross-government initiative, PREMIAM, to improve the response and effectiveness of environmental impact assessment following marine oil and chemical spills.
The PREMIAM (Pollution Response in Emergencies: Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring) project is a Defra funded project aiming to produce guidelines for post-incident monitoring and also provide a co-ordinating mechanism to ensure that this is conducted efficiently (both with respect to cost and scientific robustness).
PREMIAM is being co-ordinated by emergency response and impact assessment experts from Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science). It has wide support from all the main government stakeholders and will fully engage the scientific and emergency response community in delivering its aims.