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Thursday, 25 November, 1999, 15:30 GMT
BBC apologises to Greenpeace
The apology centres on the controversial Brent Spar storage platform

Greenpeace has received a public apology from the BBC over a report that the group lied about the amount of oil left on the redundant Brent Spar storage platform.

The BBC also apologised to Greenpeace's executive director Lord Melchett over the report.

The apology follows Greenpeace's 1995 campaign against the dumping of the Brent Spar at sea.

Lord Melchett: Set record straight as soon as error was discovered
The campaign was mentioned in a report on the BBC's Nine O'Clock News in February this year.

A short film was shown of an interview with former Cabinet minister John Gummer in which he said the campaigners had told lies and, as a result, had caused damage to the whole environmental movement.

Greenpeace's solicitor Razi Mireskandari told Mr Justice Morland at the High Court that in the last few days of its campaign, Greenpeace made an error in taking samples of oil from the Brent Spar.

The sample was taken from the vent pipe rather than the storage tanks.

And in June 1995, this resulted in Greenpeace mistakenly asserting that there were over 5,500 tonnes of oil left.

As soon as the error was established, Greenpeace set the record straight and Lord Melchett wrote to the chief executive of Shell UK with an apology and immediately retracted the allegation.

At no time did Greenpeace or Lord Melchett tell lies.

The BBC apologised and has agreed not to rebroadcast the footage of Mr Gummer.

It also agreed to pay the legal costs of Greenpeace and Lord Melchett.

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See also:
25 Nov 98 |  Sci/Tech
Brent Spar's long saga
26 Aug 98 |  Europe
Final resting place for Brent Spar
25 Nov 98 |  Europe
Brent Spar gets chop

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