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Further opposition to tanker transfers

PUBLISHED: 19:35 04 March 2011

THE Suffolk Preservation Society this week became the latest organisation to oppose ship-to-ship oil transfers in the North Sea between Lowestoft and Southwold.

The society’s director Simon Cairns described plans to create an exclusive oil transfer zone off the Suffolk coast from April “as lunacy”, and added his voice to those who say it will pose an environmental risk and threaten tourism.

The area off Sole Bay is used by small tankers bringing oil from Russia to transfer to larger vessels unable to negotiate the Baltic Sea. Mr Cairns is urging people across Suffolk to voice their opposition to the creation of the exclusive zone, which will attract other tankers to the area, by taking part in a government consultation on the zone scheme which finishes on Thursday.

Mr Cairns said: “I am lost for words at the lunacy of this initiative.

“Our coast is a precious resource that must be respected and cherished. Signing up to centralise ship-to ship oil transfers in this highly sensitive environment is frankly reckless and irresponsible.

“Tourism is key economic driver for Suffolk and to risk the destruction of this industry for the benefit of oil magnates is beyond belief.”

To comment on the consultation write to minister for shipping Mike Penning, Department for Transport, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DR or e-mail Godfrey.Suiter@DFT.gsi.gov.uk

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