HC Deb 16 October 2003 vol 411 c336W
Mr. Best

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what actions the UK Government is taking to combat pollution in the Antarctic. [132242]

Mr. Rammell

The UK meets its obligations under the Marine Pollution Convention (MARPOL 73/78) and the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty through strict enforcement of the Antarctic Act 1994, the Antarctic Regulations 1995 and merchant shipping legislation. This ensures that pollution in Antarctica is minimised and that waste is removed from the region for safe disposal elsewhere. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS), as the principal UK presence in Antarctica, is one of the leaders in environmental and waste management in the region. BAS has introduced stringent waste management and recycling policies and has already undertaken major clean-up and removal of its former bases. It has introduced oil spill response plans, installed a sewage treatment plant at Rothera research station and is also implementing over the next five years a sustainable energy strategy. This will reduce consumption of hydrocarbon fuels and their emissions. Furthermore, HMG insures that all other British activities in Antarctica are appropriately permitted. Such permits set pollution and waste disposal conditions for all British vessels, aircraft and expeditions operating in the area. The UK is also in the lead among Antarctic Treaty parties pressing for the adoption of stricter guidelines for the increasing numbers of large cruise ships entering Antarctic waters.

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