Coastal Pollution Incidents

Each week many hundreds of ships pass along the north and south coasts of Cornwall and between Lands End and the Isles of Scilly.  Statistically, each of these ships present some risk of pollution to the coast.  This might arise as a result of collision, grounding, sinking, structural failure, loss of cargo overboard, accident during cargo transfer or other marine incident.  A major accident occurring many miles from the Cornish coast, perhaps even on the other side of the English Channel, might affect the County, particularly if it involves a large vessel.

The main authorities likely to be concerned with dealing with a coastal pollution incident in Cornwall are:

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  • Cornwall Council
  • Harbour Commissioners and Harbour Masters
  • Natural England
  • Environment Agency
  • Counter Pollution and Response Branch of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency  (MCA)
  • Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority
  • Marine Management Organisation (MMO)

Cornwall Council is responsible for:

  • Producing, validating, reviewing, and updating as necessary the County Coastal Counter Pollution Plan and Falmouth Bay and Estuaries Maritime Emergency Plan.
  • Updating the Falmouth Bay and Estuaries Oil Spill Contingency Plan along with other agencies.
  • Providing a suitably qualified Coastal Counter Pollution Officer (CCPO)
  • Co-ordinating the training of local government staff in oil counter-pollution measures such as Beachmaster training.
  • Dealing with small scale pollution incidents; particularly the clean-up of amenity beaches and other publicly accessible foreshores. 
  • Disposing of waste arising from clean-up operations.
  • Establishing, if necessary, the county Tactical Coordinating Group to co-ordinate counter pollution activities.

Further information

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