UK reports 'major incident' over oil leak in Dorset

UK reports
# 27 March 2023 03:29 (UTC +04:00)

A major incident has been declared after an oil leak from an onshore field in Dorset, APA reports citing Sky News.

The UK Health Security Agency in the South West has said members of the public should not swim in Poole Harbour or the surrounding area until further notice after oil leaked into the water.

The leak has come from the Wytch Farm facility in the Purbecks which is one of the largest onshore oil fields in Europe.

The facility, taken over by Perenco in 2011, was previously operated by BP.

Perenco has confirmed there has been a "limited oil leak" at one of its well sites at Wytch Farm.

The oil and gas company said its "incident management team was activated immediately" and the "leak was stopped".

However, Philip Broadhead, the leader of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, said although the leak was contained, oil has escaped into the water and surrounding area.

Perenco has said it is working closely with the relevant authorities and a clean-up operation is under way.

Franck Dy, Perenco's Wytch Farm general manager, said: "Any spill is an extremely serious matter and a full investigation will be launched to ascertain what happened in Poole Harbour. It is important to stress that the situation is under control, with the discharge of fluids having been stopped and the spill is being contained."

Meanwhile, Mr Broadhead said in his statement: "As leader of the council I will, along with the senior council team, be working to see what implications this leak may have and what action we may need to take.

"It is of course extremely disappointing to hear of this event, and while there will be a time later for anger and investigation, our focus now must be on ensuring we can mitigate any impacts of this situation."

The UK Health Security Agency in the South West has said members of the public should not swim in Poole Harbour or the surrounding area, adding: "Anyone who has come into contact with the spill should wash immediately with soap and water.

"If eyes have come into contact with the spill, they should be rinsed with water."

Dorset Police has said the incident is being "overseen by a number of local agencies".

Their statement continues: "Please follow the advice not to swim in Poole Harbour or the surrounding area until further notice."

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