To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy for consolidating Britain's long-term presence in the British Antarctic territory in advance of the revision of the Antarctic treaty in 1991; and if he will make a statement.
There is no automatic requirement for the Antarctic treaty to be reviewed in or after 1991. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science announced on 13 November 1987, at column 322, additional funding totalling £30 million over the period 1988–89 to 1990–91 for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), funded through the Natural Environment Research Council. The greater part of this provision will purchase a research and supply ship to replace RRS John Biscoe. The new vessel will make important contributions to research in the Southern ocean and will support more scientists in Antarctica. Halley and Signy stations will be rebuilt, and a fourth Twin Otter purchased to augment the BAS fleet.