UK: Recent Counter Pollution R&D Activities
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency commission research in all areas of its business, primarily: “safer lives, safer ships and cleaner seas”. The current annual R&D budget stands at approximately $1.5 m. Much MCA led research carried out for counter pollution activity is multi-agency collaborative work attracting funds from both the UK public and private sector. The primary objective of this work is to improve the UK’s position to plan for and respond to oil and chemical maritime pollution. Key recent projects include the determination of the limiting viscosity for the use of dispersants in oil spill response; the outcome of this work underpins the MCA dispersant response philosophy in the light of increasing levels of heavy oils transiting UK waters. A comprehensive investigation into the potential ecological effects of the use of dispersants was concluded in 2004. The UK coastal and marine resource atlas, a GIS platform capturing 100 layers of environmental sensitivities, provides planners with a comprehensive reference tool. New projects recently approved by the MCA Research Committee include: A new GIS platform to present potentially polluting wrecks in UK waters, a very heavy fuel oil risk assessment, a risk assessment for Hazardous and Noxious Substances in UK waters, the design of a waste treatment infrastructure for dealing with significant quantities of oily waste, and the development of a standard shoreline clean-up assessment reporting protocol.