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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06775: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 1 February 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what representations it has made to the Secretary of State for Transport regarding licence applications and the impact on wildlife sites of ship-to-ship transfers of (a) oil and (b) other chemicals in (i) harbour authority areas, (ii) other inshore waters and (iii) offshore waters; what assessment it has made of (A) the impact of any proposed licences and (B) whether any proposed licences meet the requirements of the habitats directive, and what the reasons are for its position on this matter.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 22 February 2017

The Scottish Government is not a formal consultation body for Ship to Ship Oil Transfer Licence applications under the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010, as amended. Scottish Ministers have written on a number of occasions to the Secretary of State for Transport requesting devolution of this reserved function, including two letters in 2016. In 2007, Scottish Ministers wrote four times to the UK Government's Secretary of State for Transport with regards to concerns over ship to ship oil transfer proposals in the Firth of Forth.

Assessment of potential impact of proposed ship-to-ship oil transfer licence applications, including compliance with the EU Habitats Directive is a matter for the competent authority. For ship-to-ship oil transfer licences that is currently the Secretary of State for Transport, although Scottish Minister's argue such powers should be devolved to the Scottish Government. Ship to ship transfers in offshore waters are not currently regulated. Again, this is an area that is reserved to Westminster. The Scottish Government is not aware of historical ship to ship transfer applications for other chemicals in Scottish territorial waters.