Ministers Urged To Back Whales Not Tankers

31 January 2007
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today written to the European Commission officials investigating Ship to Ship transfer and to Scotland's Environment Ministers to draw their attention to the presence of Orca's (Killer Whales) in the Forth.

The Scottish Executive has so far failed to intervene in the dispute over the possible location of Ship to Ship Oil transfer in the Forth, though it can do so on issues to do with protecting wildlife.Mr Smith believes the Commission and the Executive must consider thearea's latest visitors in their deliberations.

Speaking from Brussels Mr Smith said;

"I was as surprised as most when I heard there was a pod of Orca's inthe Forth.

"The Forth is increasingly popular with wildlife such as seals anddolphins and now we have whales.

"It is essential that we do not force them out by allowing a potentially disastrous plan for Ship to Ship Oil Transfer to go ahead.

"The European Commission recently confirmed that having spoken to the UK government and Scottish officials they are continuing with theirinvestigation and the Scottish Parliament's Environment committee isalso considering the issue.

"There could be no better illustration of the value of the Forth as animportant environmental area than a pod of killer whales making it their temporary home.

"I am sure people around the Forth would rather see whales, seals anddolphins than oil tankers."