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.