The United Kingdom has signed the Environmental Protocol and this has been implemented into UK law by the Antarctic Act 1994 and the Antarctic Regulations 1995. According to this legislation the following activities require a permit from the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs:
- British expeditions travelling to Antarctica;
- British stations in Antarctica;
- British registered vessels and aircraft going to Antarctica;
- Mineral resource activities for scientific research or for certain construction purposes;
- The taking of, or harmful interference with, fauna or flora;
- The introduction of non-native animals or plants; and
- Entry into areas protected under the Protocol (Antarctic Specially Protected Areas – ASPA) or under the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) (CEMP Monitoring Sites).
BAS applies to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for permits for all of its activities and staff working in the Antarctic.
The current BAS Operating permits (including permit conditions) are:
- Permit for activities under Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, Section 6, Section 7, Section 8, Section 9 and Section 10 of the Antarctic Act 1994: No. 03/2022-2023
- Permit for British aircraft to enter Antarctica: No. 04/2022-2023
- Permit for a British vessel to enter Antarctica: No. 05/2022-2023
Non-British visitors are usually covered by BAS’ expedition permit. However, some specialist permits can only be issued to British nationals. If non-British visitors intend to take, or cause harmful interference with, fauna or flora; introduce non-native animals or plants; or enter ASPAs or CEMP Monitoring Sites then they need to apply to their own government for a permit.
Further details and application forms can be obtained from:
Polar Regions Department
Overseas Territories Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office
London. SW1A 2AH.