20 November, 2009

A UK Antarctic Bill will be announced in the Queen’s Speech to Parliament today. The Draft Antarctic Bill seeks to further improve the environmental protection and governance of Antarctica, amending the Antarctic Act 1994 and implementing international agreements which the UK has agreed to as a Party to the Antarctic Treaty.

The bill has three main elements:

  • implementation of the ‘Liability Annex’ to the Antarctic Treaty’s Environmental Protocol
  • to put onto a legal footing the current requirement that all British Antarctic expeditions have adequate contingency and safety plans
  • amendment of the 1994 Act to allow the FCO to permit foreign nationals on British led expeditions, and give additional protection for the Antarctic environment

You can download a copy of the Draft Antarctic Bill

Consultation process The UK Government is inviting comments on the Draft Bill, particularly from those organisations which currently, or may in the future, undertake activities in Antarctica. Please send all responses no later than 12 February 2010 to:

Stuart Doubleday
Polar Regions Unit
Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Tel: 0207-007-2750
E-mail: Stuart.Doubleday@fco.gov.uk