Food Standards Agency
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Guidance to tackle oil and chemical spills at sea published

New Government guidelines to help the UK prepare and respond to oil and chemical spills at sea have been published. The guidelines, produced by the Premiam project, provide advice on effective post-spill monitoring and impact assessment in UK waters.

Chemical and oil spills in the marine environment remain a significant threat. Rapid response, improved preparedness and effective post-incident monitoring and assessment are all key parts of an effective response. The guidelines cover:

  • planning surveys
  • sampling practices (including handling and storage)
  • chemical analysis
  • ecotoxicology
  • ecological assessment

The Premiam project (Pollution Response in Emergencies: Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring) consists of 19 government partners, including the Food Standards Agency, Cefas, Defra and the Environment Agency. Premiam is developing processes so that expertise, equipment and the facilities necessary for effective monitoring of oil and/or chemical spills are in place. It will also provide a mechanism through which the UK's post-spill monitoring programme is co-ordinated and managed.

The Agency has a strong interest in chemical spills in the marine environment, as they could potentially threaten the food chain. It already works closely with the relevant government departments, their agencies and local authorities when dealing with marine environment pollution incidents.

The guidelines are available at the link below.

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