Lazarowicz hails tough new laws on oil transfers in Forth

EDINBURGH North & Leith Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz has welcomed the UK Government's decision to press ahead with tough new rules on ship-to-ship oil transfers.

The last Labour government brought forward the regulations after Mr Lazarowicz lodged a Private Member's Bill in 2007, but the coalition government ordered a further consultation after pressure from MPs in the south-west of England.

However, it has now given the go-ahead for the regulations to come into force to control transfers in coastal areas like the Firth of Forth.

Mr Lazarowicz said: "They have obviously listened to the concerns and I'm glad they have not torn up the regulations. It gives us 90 per cent of what we wanted."

Plans by SPT Marine Services to transfer 7.8 million tonnes of Russian crude between tankers anchored in the Forth were withdrawn in February 2008.

Sarah Boyack, Edinburgh Central MP and Labour's environment spokeswoman at Holyrood, also welcomed the Government's decision.

She said: "Communities along the Firth of Forth will be breathing a sigh of relief.

"The U-turn by the coalition is testament to the strength of our campaign to ban ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Forth.

"The environmental risk of oil spills was too great to ignore and I am glad the UK Government has finally seen sense.

"It would have been a huge mistake to undo the measures put in place by the previous Labour government to restrict this practice."