COMMONS

Government proposals for future of British Antarctic Survey challenged

31 October 2012

MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee have raised a number of concerns about the effects that the proposed merger of the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre could have on frontline Arctic research and warned that the Government should not proceed until it can prove it has a compelling case to do so

In a letter feeding into a Parliamentary inquiry on the subject, the Committee argues that the current £15m Arctic research programme must not be put at risk as the Natural Environment Research Council seeks financial savings from the proposed merger. It also warns that research should not be aimed at reducing the risks for those exploiting the Arctic — through drilling and other resource extraction.

Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP, commented:

“Only a few years ago the Prime Minister was photographed hugging huskies in the Arctic in an effort to stress his green credentials; I hope he can now reassure us that his Government would not be so cynical as to refocus the UK’s Arctic research on opening up the region to greater resource extraction.”

The Committee wrote to the Science & Technology Committee (PDF PDF 49 KB), which is undertaking a brief inquiry into the merger of the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre.

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