Major incident declared after leak into Poole Harbour from oil field
A major incident has been declared after a leak into Poole Harbour from an on-shore oil field on Sunday.
The public is being advised to not swim in the area or the surrounding area.
Leader of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council Philip Broadhead said the leak came from a pipeline at nearby Wytch Farm refinery, the largest onshore oil field in western Europe.
“We have today been advised by the operators that there has been a leak from the facility,” he said.
“Whilst this has been contained, we are told that oil has escaped into the water and surrounding area.”
He added: “It is of course extremely disappointing to hear of this event, and while there will be a time later for anger and investigation, our focus now must be on ensuring we can mitigate any impacts of this situation.”
A major incident has been declared due to an oil leak from the Wytch Farm oil field.
Please find more information below - further updates will be provided when we know more.
All partner agencies are working closely together to ensure all measures needed are being enacted. pic.twitter.com/NAJsnxaITt
— Philip Broadhead (@PhilBroadhead) March 26, 2023
Poole Harbour is a designated a site of special scientific interest and is a haven for wildlife.
Officials at Poole Harbour Commissioners, which is leading on the incident, said they had activated an oil spill plan and the pipeline had been shut down.
“PHC have activated their oil spill plan and are working with a number of organisations. A major incident has been declared and a gold command unit has been established,” it said.
“We would advise members of the public that they should not swim in Poole Harbour or the surrounding area until further notice.
“Anyone who has come into contact with the spill should wash immediately with soap and water. If eyes have come into contact with the spill they should be rinsed with water.”
Perenco UK, which operates Wytch Farm, said there had been a “limited” leak and that clean-up operations were under way.
Franck Dy, Wytch Farm’s general manager, said: “Any spill is an extremely serious matter and a full investigation will be launched to ascertain what happened in Poole Harbour.
“It is important to stress that the situation is under control, with the discharge of fluids having been stopped and the spill is being contained."
In a statement, Dorset Police said: “Please follow the advice not to swim in Poole Harbour or the surrounding area until further notice.”
The UK Health Security Agency also repeated the advice, saying: “Members of the public should not swim in Poole Harbour or the surrounding area until further notice.”