Following growing concerns about the impact of shipping related pollution incidents, the Local Government Association’s Coastal Special Interest Group (SIG) has been working closely, with French local government colleagues to improve our understanding of these complicated and important procedures. This work has been helped by the participation of some local authorities in the SIG in the cross Channel ‘CAMIS’ (Channel Arc Manche Integrated Strategy) project.
The proposal to work together more closely has led towards the drafting of a Cross Channel Declaration on Shipping Incidents and Maritime Pollution. The Declaration will enable those local authorities, on both sides of the Channel to cooperate though an agreement on various aspects of the response to shipping incidents. In essence it highlights protecting the interests of local authorities, research, information for Members, training, communication, Franco-British cooperation and coordinated intervention as possible common areas of interest.
Mindful of the current structures and agreements that are in place at a national and trans-national level, the Declaration seeks to fill a gap in the current arrangements. In the UK the National Contingency Plan and Manche Plan provide for many aspects of the response. However, the shoreline response and particularly the role of local government could be delivered and coordinated more effectively. The LGA Coastal SIG feels also that there is an opportunity for mutual learning across the Channel and a role, potentially for joint action to press for changes in legislation at a European and Global level.
The Declaration is a starting point. It will provide for a vehicle for joint working. It is hoped that through the Declaration a network will be established for further development of the concept and closer working and communication. The Declaration is available below as a pdf.
Officers from a SIG member authority attended a 4 day course held by the Marine and Coastguard Agency, which had particular focus on the role of the Local Authority. A summary of this training course can be accessed by clicking on the link below: