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The Independent Online
The Government's approval for the Brent Spar to be sunk was flawed, a panel of scientists appointed by the energy minister, Tim Eggar, concluded. Ministers did not consult widely enough before giving Shell permission to dump the giant oil storage buoy in the North-east Atlantic, said the 14 experts in their report published yesterday.

The scientists accepted Shell and the Government's claim that dumping the 14,500 ton Spar would do very slight environmental damage, with effects only being detectable within about a mile of the dump site. But they also questioned the Government's ''case by case'' approach to disposing of redundant oil rigs, saying the minor environmental damage done each time might eventually accumulate ''to an unacceptably large overall impact''.