Pollution response in emergencies – marine impact assessment and monitoring

A set of new guidelines for tackling oil or chemical spills at sea has recently been published. The Post-spill Monitoring Guidelines are a key output from the Premiamproject (Pollution Response in Emergencies: Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring) which was initiated in 2009, and counts the Food Standards Agency, Marine Scotland, SEPA and SNH amongst its partners. 

A comprehensive document, the guidelines provide the principles upon which effective post-spill monitoring and impact assessment in UK waters will be based and is supported by 19 UK government partners. The guidelines cover a wide range of issues including:

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

Chemical and oil spills in the marine environment remain a significant threat. While large spill incidents are relatively rare, events such as the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico and, more recently, the grounded container ship Rena in New Zealand show the importance of effective response. 

Further information on the guidelines can be found at: