GRANGEMOUTH: FORTH PORTS PLC A THREAT TO PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

– Forth Ports struggle with one freight container, Greens call on Ministers to block controversial ship-to-ship oil transfers

Greens today called on the Executive to “get its act together” and block ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth following the incident at Grangemouth yesterday when the chemical Divinyl Benzene leaked out of a tank. The oil transfer plans are being proposed by Forth Ports, the company that runs the Grangemouth port and reportedly owns the container the Divinyl Benzene was stored in.

Ironically Tourism Minister Patricia Ferguson today highlighted the value of eco-tourism to the economy during a visit to the Scottish Seabird Centre on North Berwick, one of the many tourist attractions at risk from the oil transfers, while at the same time her colleague Rhona Brankin has refused to block the transfers plans which will risk the local economy and the environment in the entire estuary area.

Green Co-convener and Lothians MSP Robin Harper said: “This chemical leak is very worrying indeed, particularly the time lapse between the accident and identification of the substance. I would expect a full explanation of why this has happened. The risks associated with hazardous plants require the highest standards of health and safety. Major incidents like this highlight the need to minimise such risks and to avoid threats to human health and the environment in the first place. I want to know why it took Forth Ports so long to identify the nature of the problem and there should be a thorough investigation into their handling of this incident.”

Chris Ballance, Green MSP for South Scotland and Speaker on Tourism, said:

“The Executive needs to get its act together. Sustainable tourism and mad-cap schemes like oil transfers are not compatible – and the incident at Grangemouth yesterday reminds us that public health and the environment must be put before the profits of companies such as Forth Ports.

“On one hand we have the Tourism Minister visiting the Seabird Centre in support of this excellent venture, while the Deputy Minister for the Environment has failed to block ship to ship transfers of oil in the Forth Estuary which could potentially devastate the marine environment upon which the Centre relies. I hope that the Tourism Minister will now urge her colleague to do the right thing for the economy and the environment by pulling out all the stops to block ship-to-ship oil transfers.”

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