DTI Introduces New Pollution Control Regulations for Offshore Installations

The Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002 came into effect July 18, 2002. These Regulations will give the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who is responsible for the regulatory control of offshore installations, the power to intervene in a pollution, or potential pollution incident. These powers will be delegated to the Secretary of State's Representative, known as the SOSREP for short. In addition to intervention powers, there is the provision for the payment of compensation in certain circumstances.

While it is expected that intervention will be rare, the Government recognized the need for powers to intervene where the public and national interest was at stake. These Regulations mirror those already in place for shipping incidents, and to ensure that there is no conflict, the SOSREP will be the same person who carries out similar duties for the Department for Transport.

In presenting these Regulations to the House of Lords, Transport Minister, Lord McIntosh of Haringey said: "I do not believe that these regulations will be a burden on the offshore industry but rather, in the event they are ever activated, will facilitate the setting up of a partnership for dealing with a major oil spill, which will reduce or prevent pollution."