Skip to main content

Falkland Islands: Land Mines

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had on de-mining operations in the Falkland Islands; when he expects the Falkland Islands to be cleared of mines; what the reasons are for the length of time taken to complete the de-mining operations; and how many people have been injured by landmines in the Falkland Islands in the last 10 years. (242815)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the mine-clearing operation in the Falkland Islands to be completed. (242873)

Under the Ottawa convention, the UK is required to clear all anti-personnel mines from its territory by March 2019, having recently secured a 10 year extension to the original 2009 deadline. Our request for an extension was based on the Joint UK-Argentine Feasibility Study completed in October 2007 that concluded de-mining is technically feasible but presents significant challenges and would take at least 10 years to complete. Based on the findings of the feasibility study we have recently decided to proceed with the clearance of three mined areas in the Falkland Islands. The variety of terrain they cover will serve as a means of testing the environmental and ecological impact of de-mining, which are significant factors of concern. The results from these areas will be valuable in informing future work.

In accordance with article 5 of the convention all mined areas have been perimeter marked, regularly monitored and protected by fencing to ensure the effective exclusion of civilians. I am pleased to say that there have been no mine casualties in the 25 years since the conflict.