Surfers Against Sewage is to throw its weight behind the Scottish Green Party-led campaign to stop ship to ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth.
The Cornwall-based group is renowned for high-profile grassroots action for clean, safe recreational waters, free from sewage effluents, toxic chemicals, marine litter and nuclear waste. (1) Later this month, water sports enthusiasts will join local business representatives, Green MSPs and members of the coastal communities on local beaches to highlight the threat the oil transfers pose to the local economy and environment. (2)
SAS are mobilising supporters from across Scotland to gather along with Scottish Greens, leisure and tourism business representatives, and concerned residents. Members of the public will be asked to sign a petition in the form of a surfboard. At a later date, this will be presented to Forth Ports, the company set to gain financially from the transfers, but also tasked with safeguarding the marine environment and giving the final go ahead to the plans.
Robin Harper, Green Lothians MSP and party co-leader, will be speaking at the event. He said, “Portobello beach is an invaluable community asset, treasured by families, water sports enthusiasts and local residents. The prospect of a potentially devastating oil spill would ruin the local economy and leave the environment scarred for years to come. Ministers can and should change the law to ensure that elected politicians, not a private company, have the final say – I’d urge anyone concerned with the plans to join us for the rally to ensure their voice is heard.”
Richard Hardy, SAS Campaigns Director, said:
“The Firth of Forth is an exceptional marine environment and is highly valued by its many recreational water users who use the water all year round. It is therefore vital that its future is safeguarded against potential dangers such as ship to ship oil transfers. SAS believe the Scottish Executive urgently needs to step in and take control of the decision making process to ensure the health of the Forth is not undermined by potentially lucrative contracts for Forth Ports.”
Sam Christopherson, Surf Instructor at Dunbar Coast to Coast Surf School, said, “As a surfer for 15 years on East Lothian coastline, I have seen amazing improvements in our local beaches and water quality, so much so that I even had the pleasure of surfing with dolphins three times last year. Ship to ship oil transfers are a huge risk to the local community – for Forth Ports to even consider this is just crazy.”

Surfers Against Sewage ran a successful campaign in the late 1990s that forced an upgrade of Seafield Sewage Works to improve the treatment of water before it is pumped out to sea.
The momentum against the transfers continues to build. Last month, Green revealed that SPT Marine was responsible for spilling around 35,000 gallons of oil – but the company failed to disclose the information when providing official evidence to Parliament, but instead claimed to have an “excellent” record on ship to ship oil transfers. (3)
1. See Richard Hardy on tel: 01872 555951 or 07711 767548
2. The Surfers Against Slicks events will take place on Saturday 24 March at North Berwick beach (east beach), 11am-noon, then again at Portobello Beach (meet outside Dalriada pub), same day, 3 to 4pm.
3. See _Oil_Transfer_Company_039_misleads_039_Parliament_On_Oil_Spill_Record.html