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Old 08-09-2006, 11:56
Ian Cloke

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Next Thursday (14 September 2006), on the River Trent at Gunthorpe Lock downstream of Nottingham, the Environment Agency will carry out trials of a 125 metre long floating barrier that will help to control major oil pollution incidents.

Each year, there are over 200 oil pollution incidents across Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. This trial is part of our ongoing commitment to Civil Contingency Planning, and will test our capability to deal with a major oil spill.

The inflatable temporary barrier, known as a ‘boom’, is designed to collect oil behind it, holding it in one place so that it can be removed and taken away to be disposed of safely.

River levels permitting, small boats with outboard motors will be ready to put the boom in place by about lunchtime, attaching it to the lock island on the downstream end and the right bank on the upstream side. It will also be anchored to the riverbed at various points to enable it to withstand the current.

There are several suitable locations on the River Trent downstream of Nottingham but Gunthorpe is the best one for the trial as the oil can be collected in the Lock and a large area of hard standing allows tanker access in order to remove the pollutant.

The trials will be carried out by specialist contractor Gulf Offshore under our supervision. Work will start at first light and continue for the rest of the day.

Senior Environment Officer, Matthew Gable, says: "This boom is one more weapon in our fight to prevent pollution affecting the environment. The booms we have already are very effective but not big enough for a river like the Trent."

"Nottingham is an industrialised area with major highways crossing the River Trent, so it has a higher risk of a major pollution incident. This new boom will allow us to deal effectively with any such incidents affecting the river in future."
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