Move to protect Antarctica and scientific research backed by MP

19 June, 2012 No Comments

June 19, 2012

MP Julian Huppert is supporting a call to give greater protection in law to the frozen continent of Antarctica and the Cambridge scientists working there.

Julian is a co-sponsor of the Antarctic Bill in the House of Commons tomorrow (Wednesday, June 20) to ratify international agreements into UK law.

The process is already underway in other countries which signed the Antarctic Treaty designed to protect the environment and promote international scientific co-operation.

Scientists from the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey have undertaken the majority of Britain’s scientific research in the Antarctic for over 60 years sharing the continent with scientists from over 30 countries.

Julian, a member of the Polar Region (Arctic and Antarctic) All Party Parliamentary Group, said: “This Bill is essential to protect the unique environment of the Antarctic and the vital scientific research that is taking place there.  

“Our government has made its commitment to the international Antarctic Treaty; now it needs to write that commitment into UK law so that we can give full protection to this region and the scientific work being carried out.

“It is through this work that we have learnt about the threat to our planet from global warming and the precautions we need to take to safeguard it for future generations. We need to offer this continent legal protection rather than just the protection offered under an international obligation.”

Interim Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Professor Edward Hill said: “The Antarctic Treaty System is a very successful international process for enabling peaceful international scientific cooperation and for protecting the environment of Antarctica.

“The Antarctic Private Members Bill is intended to ratify international agreements into UK law, a process that is underway in other Treaty nations.”

This Private Members' Bill is being proposed by Neil Carmichael, MP for Stroud, who was successful in the ballot for such Bills. As a result, there is a good chance that this Bill will become law.

If passed, it will coincide with the centenary of Captain Scott’s last ill-fated expedition to the South Pole when he and his four comrades perished.  

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