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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
County welcomes pollution action
M V Willy
The grounded Willy created an insurance nightmare for the council
There are hopes that new legislation will safeguard Cornwall's coastline from pollution and increase protection for marine wildlife.

The government's Marine Bill is being supported by environmentalists, politicians and emergency planners.

It is expected to close an insurance loophole highlighted three years ago when a tanker, the MV Willy, ran aground in south east Cornwall.

It is also likely to create havens off the coast to safeguard rare sea life.

It's going to give us more powers in the event of pollution
Steve Winston, emergency planning officer

Joana Doyle, from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, says the areas could include the Manacles off the Lizard, St Ives Bay and a stretch between Trevose Head and Boscastle.

She said: "Some of the very sensitive species which will be protected by developing these marine protected areas will include smaller things like the pink sea fans.

"They're very small things which very few people realise we even have in our waters."

Pollution fears

Cornwall's emergency planning officer, Steve Winston, has also welcomed the proposals.

He said the night the MV Willy ran aground at Kingsand, near Torpoint, in January 2002, led to the evacuation of the village because of fears of an explosion.

The clear-up operation cost 50,000 and it has taken since then to persuade insurers to pay out with 7,000 still outstanding.

He said: "The precaution we wanted to take was to remove all people away from it but because it was a precaution, there was no pollution and no explosion, the insurance company could wriggle out of it because there was a loophole in the law.

"We fought a long time for this legislation. We're very pleased the government is going forward with it.

The bill, which is still being drafted, could be in force within two years.

Oil washed up on Cornish beaches
29 Nov 02 |  England
Stranded tanker safe in port
14 Jan 02 |  England
Operation to free MV Willy
11 Jan 02 |  England

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