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Chagos Islands

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 26 January 2010

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will police the proposed marine protected area in the Chagos archipelago; and what are the estimated costs of establishing a full “no-take” marine reserve. [HL1286]

No decision on whether to establish a marine protected area in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) has yet been taken. However, if a decision is taken to move to a “no-take” fishery, then an additional cost to the public purse of around £1 million per annum will be incurred in order to maintain a BIOT patrol vessel. The annual cost of running the vessel is about £1.7 million (including fuel costs). This is at present offset by a fishing licence income varying between £700,000 and £1 million per year. Costs not offset by income are met by a subsidy from the overseas territories programme fund.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are planning to proceed with the proposed marine protected area for the Chagos archipelago in the context of the opposition of Mauritius and the Chagos Islands. [HL1288]

A decision on whether to establish a marine protected area (MPA) in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) has not yet been taken. A decision will be taken following the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) public consultation which is at present under way and which will run until 12 February 2010. The Foreign Secretary launched the FCO public consultation into the proposed MPA in the BIOT on 10 November 2009. The consultation will run until 12 February 2010. A decision on whether to create an MPA will not be taken until the consultation has concluded.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the interests of the Chagos islanders will be safeguarded in their proposed marine protected area for the Chagos archipelago. [HL1307]

Any decision to establish a marine protected area would be taken in the context of the Government's current policy on the territory following the decision of the House of Lords in R (Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2008] UKHL 61 that the British Indian Ocean Territory (Constitution) Order 2004 and the British Indian Ocean Territory (Immigration) Order 2004 are lawful.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office public consultation launched on 10 November 2009 and any decision that may follow for the establishment of a marine protected area are, of course, without prejudice to the outcome of the current, pending proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights. This means that should circumstances change, all the options for a marine protected area may need to be reconsidered.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will await the decision of the European Court of Human Rights on the rights of the indigenous people of the Chagos Islands before declaring the Chagos Islands a marine protection area. [HL1347]

A decision on whether to establish a marine protected area in the British Indian Ocean Territory has not yet been taken. A decision will be taken following the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) public consultation which is at present under way and which will run until 12 February 2010. The FCO public consultation was launched on 10 November 2009 and any decision that may follow for the establishment of a marine protected area is, without prejudice to the outcome of the current, pending proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights.