"Significant" progress made in Poole Harbour oil leak clean up

·2-min read
Oil is visible in the water of Poole Harbour, Dorset, following an oil leak from a pipeline at an onshore oil field at the weekend <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Oil is visible in the water of Poole Harbour, Dorset, following an oil leak from a pipeline at an onshore oil field at the weekend (Image: PA)

“SIGNIFICANT” progress has been made in a huge clean-up operation following an oil spill in Poole Harbour which sparked a major incident.

Poole Harbour Commissioners said a Shoreline Assessment and Clean up Technique (SCAT), had covered almost 100km and recovered approximately 14,000 litres of oil/water mix and approximately 1,500 kg of oil sediment.

On Sunday, a major incident was declared after 200 barrels of reservoir fluid, comprising 85 per cent water and 15 per cent oil, entered the harbour due to a pipeline leak at Wytch Farm oil field which is operated by Perenco.

As reported, a government investigation is underway after MPs raised concerns for sensitive nature reserves and the impact of local fisheries.

Members of the public are still being advised against using Poole Harbour and the beaches within it with shellfish gathering also halted while the response continues 24 hours a day, despite some adverse weather conditions.

Jim Stewart, CEO at Poole Harbour Commissioners, said: "The Dorset Strategic Co-ordination Group (SCG) has been meeting regularly since Sunday to assist with the incident, calling upon the expertise of numerous agencies including Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council, Dorset Police, Dorset Council, National Health England, Environment Agency and Natural England.

"This has proved an excellent example of multi-agency collaboration in response to a major incident.

"Key stakeholders in the shellfish industry have been advised not to market shellfish harvested from Poole Harbour from Sunday 26 March onwards.

"This advice will remain in place until further assessment has been made and advice has been received from the Food Standards Agency and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) regarding safety.

"Testing has taken place and investigations are continuing at this time."

The UK Health Security Agency has asked that people avoid using the beaches and water in the Poole Harbour area for any recreational use until further updates become available.

This includes but is not limited to hand gathering of shellfish, swimming, bathing, watersports, fishing and angling.

Read more: Protestors don hazmat suits and chant over 'flabbergasting' oil spill

He added: "We continue to ask that members of the public do not try and help with the clean-up at Poole Harbour, specialist trained teams are working hard on the ground."

Mr Stewart said it is unlikely there will be any long term health effects from short exposures (eg days).

Anyone who has come into contact with the spill should wash immediately with soap and water for ten minutes. If eyes have come into contact with the spill, they should be rinsed with water.

Anyone who has been exposed to fuel oil and is feeling unwell please contact NHS 111 or seek medical attention from your GP.