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Oil pollution

Potential biodiversity issues

  • Damage to habitats by smothering and/or the introduction of toxicity into habitats/substrate
  • Mortality or injury of species e.g. waterbirds
  • Damage to habitats during any “clean-up” operation
    • damage from physical removal of oil
    • toxicity problems from use of detergents or dispersants

Potential mitigation measures

The Port of London Oil Spill Contingency Plan and the Oil Spill Response GIS provide a comprehensive set of procedures and background data for use in the event of a significant oil spill. Application of these procedures should ensure that biodiversity issues are adequately accounted for. By way of clarity, the following particular considerations apply:

  • Assess the sensitivity of the location of the incident: is it in or in proximity to a statutorily designated site; is it in or in proximity to an area of particular importance (e.g. one likely to hold high concentrations of bird species). See bird density maps and Oil Spill Response GIS
  • Alert Environment Agency/Counter Pollution Branch of MFA/TOSCA as appropriate to biodiversity issues
  • In consultation as above, if operationally feasible seek to direct polluting materials away from most sensitive sites
  • In consultation as above and if appropriate following advice from Natural England, minimise any damage or disturbance stemming from physical removal of the oil or the use of detergents or dispersants to clean up the site
  • If mortality or injury of species is likely or confirmed (in the case of significant oil spill there will be a high probability of bird oiling) make best efforts to inform RSPB and RSPCA .