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MP leads campaign for coastal clean-up plan.

CEREDIGION MP Simon Thomas is spearheading a parliamentary campaign to force local authorities to prepare coastal clean-up plans.

The Plaid Cymru MP said: "It is not generally known that the management of such oil spills as the Braer or Sea Empress disasters is not a local authority duty.

"However, both inquiries into these two incidents recommended that it should be so and that the government takes action.

"We all remember in Wales what happened when the Sea Empress spilled its oil on to the beaches of Pembrokeshire. Not only did bird and animal life suffer but tourism took a huge knock as well.

"Though local authorities respond magnificently to these disasters, they do so without a statutory footing and in particular without the necessary funding."

Mr Thomas already has cross-Party support from MPs for his campaign which was initiated by concerns from his own local authority's emergency planning officer. "Ceredigion has 50 miles of coast, some of the best beaches in Britain and European recognition for its maritime conservation areas yet everything the local authority does to prepare for an oil spill that could destroy this precious environment is done on a voluntary basis, " said Mr Thomas.

"This is a crazy situation.

"Now is the time to press for action. There is a Home Office review of emergency planning and increased realisation of terrorism brings to the fore the possibility of environmental terrorism.

"The Cabinet Office invited me to make the cases for change and I am appealing for support from all Welsh politicians."
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 25, 2002
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