§ Mr. Allan
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment has been undertaken of the impact of the Government contract with Marine Odyssey Inc. for commercial salvage on an historic wreck upon the prospects for future UK accession to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage. 
§ Dr. Howells
It is not envisaged that there will be an impact, as this agreement is a unique pragmatic solution to a situation in which the archaeological heritage is at risk. It enables the Government to ensure that the site is excavated responsibly. Although the UK is not currently bound by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, the Government has stressed from the beginning that the project must as far as possible be developed in line with the rules contained in the Annex to the Convention, which are seen as representing best practice for maritime archaeology.