plight facing the Canary Islands if plans to drill for oil off the coast of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura go ahead. " />

365 Days of Sunshine and an Oil Spill

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Spanish oil and gas giant Repsol's intentions have been met with strong resistance from interested parties, including Greenpeace and UK tour operator Thomson / First Choice. It is understandable to see why. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico saw pictures of an oil slicken paradise transmitted worldwide and will have done damage to tourism as well as the devastating effect it had on the natural environment. UK tour operators can rely on the Canary Islands as a popular destination all year round.

The difficult question is whether the risks involved in exploration for the world's most sort after commodity outweigh the need to protect the natural environment of the Canary Islands and the tourism industry it is so heavily reliant on. I cannot see for one minute luxury cruise liners wading through an oil spill to call at each of the Canary Island's ports, let alone the knock on effect an oil spill would have on the Islands' beaches and sun seeking beach goers.

While one oil spill is one too many, they are very rare. As the crazy and irrational scenes at petrol station forecourts in the United Kingdom have shown over the last week, fuel is something we cannot live without. Repsol is likely to win this argument and, provided all goes safely without any catastrophes, the Canary Islands could end up in a win-win situation; maintaining its thriving tourist industry and receiving a welcome boost as one of the world's oil oligarchs sets to work 40 miles off the coast.

Chris Deacon

Solicitor - Claim Abroad team 

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