HC Deb 27 June 1989 vol 155 c392W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his discussions with Sir Peter Walters, chairman of BP about their mining operation in the Brazilian rain forest.

Mr. Eggar

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) of 26 June, at column287. My officials are in contact with BP on this issue.

Mr. Allen McKay

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the Government are taking to stop(a) BP and (b) other British companies contributing to the destruction of rain forests around the world.

Mr. Eggar

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development will be visiting Brazil including the Amazon region from 4–9 July. During his visit he will be discussing with Brazilian Ministers and officials our efforts to identify effective ways of helping them with a wide range of environmental problems including rainforest conservation. He will also be meeting representatives of British companies operating in Brazil with whom he hopes to discuss their role in environmental protection.

The hon. Member will he aware of recent media reports alleging involvement by United Kingdom companies in rain forest destruction. We are studying these, but I understand that the companies, including BP, claim that these press reports contain important errors of fact, and that they themselves operate significant environmental protection programmes in their projects in Brazil.

More generally, Britain is a leading supporter of the tropical forestry action plan and the International Tropical Timber Organisation which aim to help countries conserve their forests and manage them sustainably.