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November December 2019 Marina World

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DISASTER MANAGEMENT Although a significant quantity of oil was recovered in the Holyhead clean-up, non-hydrocarbon pollution reached unprecedented levels. level of risk. However, marina construction standards have remained unchanged while the code of practice for the design, construction and operation of coastal and inland marinas and yacht harbours specifically, has not been updated to accurately reflect current practices or accommodate further likely change in the near future. Nor does it consider the use of materials, such as polystyrene, that are used in the construction of marinas. As the Holyhead incident illustrated, this is a material that can pose a serious potential pollution risk. A review of the standards is urgently required. Control and communication Just as containment is the priority at any spill incident, so the early communication between and coordination of stakeholders and agencies is of vital importance when trying to limit the spread of pollutants. This early communication is dependent upon there being clarity regarding which organisations are responsible for leading on a response to a given incident, as well as the availability of guidance for a specific type of incident and pollution control. The unique nature of the Holyhead incident meant that no marine models or guidance on the appropriate cleanup techniques were available for responding agencies to follow. Therefore, in locations where Port Authority responsibilities overlap those of marinas and moorings, guidance should be provided to all agencies involved, including the identification of a lead organisation and the roles and responsibilities of partner agencies. At the same time, the Holyhead incident illustrated that effective engagement with the insurance industry is critical – establishing a single point of contact and representative for the sector was key to enabling the salvage of sunken vessels which were a continuing source of pollution. Incident response drills Where the likelihood exists that pollution incidents will affect multiple organisations, as was the case at Holyhead, it is important to establish local agreements and incident response drills should be undertaken on a regular basis involving all stakeholders. This will aid the development of working relationships and improve the integration of all incident response arrangements. As part of the planning process for all, greater consideration should also be given to non-hydrocarbon pollutants. While the Holyhead incident was unprecedented – polystyrene being the primary pollutant – it was not the first incident in which non-hydrocarbon pollutants have affected the UK shoreline. Incident response exercises should therefore draw upon the lessons learned from Holyhead while nonhydrocarbon pollutants should be included within the scope of the National Contingency Plan and guidance available to ports. Security in a volatile future Three studies recently published in Nature and Nature Geoscience use extensive historical data to suggest there has never been a period in the last 2,000 years when temperature changes have been as fast and extensive as in recent decades. The study, which claims to confirm the link between human activity and climate change, also notes the dramatic rise of extreme weather events and, as weather systems become increasingly volatile, there is a real danger that marinas, as well as other commercial and leisure infrastructure, particularly in coastal areas, are now at real and increasing risk. With decades of experience in environmental risk reduction and disaster recovery, experts like Adler and Allan can help manage and mitigate the risks, dealing with disaster before it strikes. But real change is required in the guidance available and current operating practice, to provide security in today’s increasingly volatile climate. Andy Billington is group operation manager at Adler and Allan, a UK company that provides clean-up, mitigation and land remediation services in response to pollution incidents such as tanker spills and major flooding incidents. Further information on the Holyhead operation can be accessed at: Cost-of-a-Spill/holyhead-disaster.pdf - November/December 2019 41

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