Wishart highlights benefits of new bomb disposal technology for marine life

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today sought an update on Scottish Government consideration of new bomb disposal technology that would help reduce the impact on marine life compared to traditional disposal methods.

In a Holyrood Environment question session today Ms Wishart said:

“It’s estimated that there is over 100,000 tonnes of unexploded munitions in British waters. Many will be on sites in Scotland earmarked for offshore windfarm development. As the Scotlink Orca Species Champion, I’m concerned about the impact of clearing munitions on cetaceans. Detonations and explosions can displace animals and cause permanent hearing loss and fish breeding grounds can also be impacted.

“I’ve had correspondence with the Cabinet Secretary about new disposal technology, low-order deflagration. What progress has been made to bring forward a policy change to make use of the technology to help protect marine life?”

The Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment recognised the potential benefits of deflagration technology on reducing acoustic impacts but said the government is awaiting further evidence that the technique is commercially viable.

Commenting afterwards Ms Wishart said:

“I’m pleased the Scottish Government recognises that low-order deflagration could have real benefits for protecting marine life when disposing of unexploded ordnance on the seabed.

“As more sites around Scotland are identified as potential locations for offshore windfarms, local communities and industries affected must be fully involved in discussions from the outset. The impact on marine life of those developments and any site clearance must also be considered.”

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