Oil leak near Poole Harbour cost local economy more than £500,000: Report

A LEAK at the Wytch Farm oil field near Poole Harbour cost the local economy more than £500,000, a report has concluded.

The impact of the leak in March last year, which saw an estimated 200 barrels of reservoir fluid leak into waters off the Dorset coast, has been investigated in a report commissioned by Dorset and BCP Councils.

And it concludes the impact on business and economy in the area was more than £570,000 in total.

Fishing work and bathing were banned in the area for a period after the leak was detected, as clean-up work and investigations were carried out around the scene.

The pipeline was part of the Wytch Farm oil field, which is operated by Perenco.

Carried out by Hatch, the report said of the losses: “Set in the context of the overall economy for Dorset and BCP Council this is considered minimal, however it is recognised that impacts have disproportionately fallen on independent and SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) firms within the area, during times of closure, particularly those within the aquaculture and fishing sectors.

“While not quantifiable, the wider impacts to the economy regarding perceptions to investors and attractiveness as a place to do business has been considered.

“There is limited direct evidence to establish a firm conclusion and considering the short-term nature of restrictions the assessment concluded negligible.”

Click here to read the full Hatch report (opens in a new window)

Environmentally, a separate report by Premiam Environmental, said: “There has clearly been an environmental impact in Ower Bay around the point of release.

“Any remaining hydrocarbons were fully contained initially by booms and absorbants and later, by a bubble curtain, to prevent risk to the wider Poole Harbour area.”

READ MORE: Poole Harbour waters safe to use after oil spill, say bosses
READ MORE: Poole Harbour oil spill: Climate group’s anger as clean-up begins

Work to remove contaminated sediment has been completed, it added, and the area is being monitored.

The impact on birds was deemed to have been “limited to a few individuals”, the report went on.

“Birds of Poole harbour (BoPH) completed a wetland birds survey on April 2, 2023, soon after the initial oil release,” it said.

“This showed some oiling on six birds had occurred.

“Some unconfirmed numbers of birds were said to have been seen with oil sheens on their bodies after this initial survey, but these were not formally reported.

“Overall, impacts on birds appeared to have occurred but were limited to a few individuals.”

The report concluded there had been “limited impact from the incident on the wider Poole Harbour area”.

Click here to read the Premiam Environmental report in full (opens in a new window)

Monitoring will continue to further assess any potential impact, the reports added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *