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French Guyana

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 10 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the letter from the Minister for Overseas Development of 18 February to the hon. Member for Linlithgow, what is the outcome of the inquiries by the British embassy in Paris about injury to the rain forest in French Guyana.

[holding answer 2 March 1992]: The French Ministry of the Environment has confirmed that the hydro-electric project at Petit Saut referred to in the New Scientist of 25 January 1992 has over some 10 years been the subject of extensive study, including a public inquiry, which looked at all the possible options for power generation. There had been a full environmental impact assessment undertaken on the project in which the Ministry of Environment had participated. The conclusion was that a hydro-electric dam was the best option. The scheme is intended to meet not only the electricity needs of the launch-site at Kourou, but also the wider need for electricity throughout French Guyana. I am writing to the hon. Member with further details provided by French officials.