Environmentalists demand reforms to avoid repeat of Braer oil spill

WWF Scotland has drawn up a six-point plan for stricter regulations to protect Arctic waters.

Oil leak: The spill was the worst off the Aberdeen coast in a decade.

Environmentalists are calling for measures to be taken to ensure there is no repeat of the Braer tanker oil spill.

On the 20th anniversary of the incident, which saw 84,700 tonnes of crude oil spill into the sea off Shetland, WWF Scotland has drawn up a six-point plan to avoid future accidents.

The Braer was travelling from Norway to Canada in January 1993 when it ran aground on rocks at the south end of Shetland.

Only the stormy weather, which dispersed the oil around the North Sea, saved the islands from a major environmental disaster, but thousands of birds still perished and other marine wildlife, such as shellfish, was affected.

Only 1% of the total volume reached on the island's coastline and monitoring suggested the impact on the environment and ecology was "largely minimal".

WWF Scotland has called for government ministers to avoid deep-water drilling in dangerous areas, end subsidies and tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and ban companies with poor pollution records from Scottish waters.

The other measures on its list are finding a permanent solution to emergency towing vessel cover around the coast of Scotland and telling exploration companies to avoid sensitive areas, such as the Arctic.

Lang Banks, of WWF Scotland, said: "The Braer disaster was most definitely an extremely close shave in environmental terms. Had it not been for the weather, the spill would have caused much more widespread environmental and economic damage, but we cannot rely on the weather to get us off the hook next time.

"As it was, thousands of birds are still estimated to have perished and marine wildlife, such as shellfish, finfish and marine mammals, were also badly affected. Add to that the thousands of pounds lost by fisheries and salmon farms as a result of oil contamination and it's easy to see why it could have been much, much worse."

Earlier this week, First Minister Alex Salmond committed to working with the industry to ensure oil and gas remains a "vital" part of energy production.

The coming year could see increased capital investment in the industry, which grew from £8.5bn in 2011 to a predicted £11.5bn in 2012.

"With 24 billion barrels of oil still to be recovered with a wholesale value of #1.5 trillion, the North Sea oil and gas sector has a bright future," he said.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said today: "Twenty years ago Braer was a wake-up that everything was not right when it came to safeguarding our waters and it is vital that the UK Government never allows complacency to creep in due to the passage of time, because even today oil leaks are still happening.

"Thankfully the Shetland environment has recovered and such major incidents are very rare.

"Safety - both for the marine environment and those who work offshore - must be a priority."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.