Oil and gas exploration plans for the Moray Firth were today thrown into doubt as Robin Harper MSP pressed Michael Russell, Minister for the Environment, on scientific revelations that Westminster’s science is fundamentally flawed. (1) Scottish Ministers have yet to come off the fence on this issue, but
Michael Russell today committed to “do his usual robust thing” when SNH’s scientific review of the project is completed next week. (2)
UK Ministers claim to have used the work of Professor Paul Thompson, the leading expert on the Moray Firth’s bottlenose dolphin population, to justify their exploration plans, but Professor Thompson’s view is that they have misrepresented his views. In his submission to the consultation, Professor Thompson also notes that UK Ministers have not used “the best available science”, and that the decision to expose the Moray dolphins to this risk “would fail to stand up to expert review in the European Court.”
The full text of Professor Thompson’s letter is available on request.
Robin Harper MSP said:
“This proposal to drill for oil in the home of a protected and endangered dolphin population was obviously flawed from the start. Now it turns out that UK Ministers have misrepresented the science to justify their plans, which have now been blown out of the water by the top expert on this population.
“The Moray Firth and other parts of Scottish waters are protected for a reason, and Malcolm Wicks must now do the right thing and put conservation and the environment ahead of this polluters’ charter.”