Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart is to bring a debate to the Scottish Parliament highlighting the damage caused by ‘high order’ detonations to clear unexploded ordnance (UXOs) from marine areas.
Supporting the Stop Sea Blasts campaign, Wishart is calling on the Scottish Government to end the use of ‘high order’ detonations and only allow the safer low order deflagration which has been used by the Royal Navy for over 15 years.
‘High order’ detonations cause loud and disruptive explosions, scattering harmful toxins across the sea floor and impacting the auditory systems of marine mammals. An incident at the Kyle of Durness led to the deaths of 19 pilot whales in 2011. UK waters are surrounded by 100,000 tonnes of UXOs and increasing human disturbance to the sea floor requires the clearance of the devices.
Last month Wishart hosted a Stop Sea Blasts campaign event in the Scottish Parliament which attracted cross party group of support. Wishart also met with the Minister for Environment and Land Reform to discuss the issue last month. Actor Joanna Lumley has also supported the campaign for the last few years.
On her upcoming debate Ms Wishart said:
“I am very pleased to be bringing this debate to the Parliament. It is really important that we protect marine mammals from harm in the same way we would animals on the land. ‘High order’ detonations can upset auditory systems disrupting navigation, feeding and communication, while noise trauma can cause permanent hearing loss and lead to mass strandings. We should end the practice.
“Our seas are so important to our future and to many livelihoods in the islands. We must ensure we are doing all we can to keep them sustainable, clear of pollution and act to safeguard habitats for all the life and jobs sustained at sea.
“When I hosted the Stop Sea Blasts campaign at Holyrood last month it attracted cross party interest. I am hopeful there will be similar support during this debate to help prevent harm to marine mammals.”