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British Marine Federation Environmental Code of Practice

The old PPG14 from the Environment agency dealt specifically with the marina and craft discharging too, and polluting, waterways, the new British Marine Federations ECOP has a much wider scope. Whilst the British Marine Federations Environmental code of practice deals with a lot more than just spills and water pollution, such as Consents and Planning and Energy Usage and Climate Change, the main areas relevant to water pollution and usage of spill control equipment are listed below.

User should refer to the British Marine Federations web site for clarification of any points raised here. In addition we wholly support the Best Practice advice given by The Green Blue, which is the joint environment programme created by the BMF and the Royal Yachting Association.

The key piece of legislation that is of most concern here is:

The Water Resources Act 1991

This is the key piece of legislation relating to water pollution. Under the Act it is an offence to allow any polluting, poisonous or noxious material (including solid waste matter) to enter a ‘controlled water’, without a consent, or outside of the terms of the consent issued by the Environment Agency or SEPA. This applies irrespective of whether the substance was released accidentally or not. Controlled waters are defined as virtually all fresh and saline natural waters up to the UK offshore territorial limit (3 miles), including rivers, streams, lochs, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater. Water contaminated with diesel, oil and petroleum spirit, sewage and contaminated bilge water would all require consent to discharge from the Environment Agency as they could fall within the definition of polluting matter if discharged into controlled waters.

Please note that sewage and trade effluent from vessels is exempt from the pollution offence in the Water Resources Act 1991 but most navigation authorities will have byelaws prohibiting overboard discharges from sanitary appliances and members should be aware of any bye-laws in place.

Such an offence carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, for conviction in a crown court. For conviction in a Magistrate’s court, the maximum penalty is £20,000 fine and/or three months imprisonment.

BMF ECoP notes..

Resource Efficiency - Pollution Prevention states:

Any spillages must be cleared up with a suitable absorbent. Absorbents and other materials used in a clean up operation will be classified as hazardous waste and should be properly disposed of at approved facilities or local authority waste disposal sites. Ensure that your staff are aware of the procedures for dealing with spills and that they know the locations of spill kits.

Managing oils, fuels and hazardous materials states:

Any spillages must be cleared up with a suitable absorbent. Absorbents and other materials used in a clean up operation will be classified as hazardous waste and should be properly disposed of at approved facilities or local authority waste disposal sites.

Dealing with an Incident states:

If a spill does occur:
• Take immediate action to contain the oil and where possible prevent it entering any drains or watercourses
• Where oil has been spilt into controlled waters, use booms and absorbent materials which float on water and only absorb oils, to contain the spill. These need to be anchored to prevent them moving away from the site of the spill and spreading the polluting material. You should contact the Agencies by calling the Emergency 24hr Hotline on 0800 80 70 60
• Where a spill has occurred on land ensure that it is contained and it is not allowed to entering a watercourse either directly or through a surface water drain. It is also vital that it does not enter the ground, or groundwater and you should contact the Agencies by calling the Emergency 24hr Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 as they can give advice to minimise the risk of pollution. Coloured drain covers will help you identify surface water drains
• Do not attempt to hose the spillage down or clean up with detergents or emulsifiers, as these will increase the risk of harming the environment
• Contaminated absorbents should be disposed of in accordance with legislation as they may be classified as Hazardous Waste, depending on the constituents of the spill. These wastes need to be disposed of to an approved facility. Information on the disposal of used oil absorbents is available from PPG8 and the Environment Agency

Incident Planning states:

2. Have suitable spill kits and absorbents to deal with any spill

The Green Blue Notes...

Oil and Fuel Best Practice Advice states:

• Use a drip tray under the engine to catch leaks (this is a legal requirement on many inland waterways)
• Use a bilge sock to absorb oil and fuel in the bilges
• Carry a spill kit on board and learn how to use it


 

 
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