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Press Release - British Antarctic Survey wins environment award

Issue date: 07 Nov 2003
Number: 11/2003

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS), is winner of a national "Green Apple" Gold environmental award for the successful removal of an old waste dump from Antarctica. The Green Apple Awards were presented at The House of Commons yesterday (6 November) at a prize-winning ceremony hosted by The Rt. Hon. Patricia Hewitt MP, Secretary of State for Trade & Industry and Minister for Women.
The waste dump was a legacy of the early days of British science activity in the Antarctic in the 1960's and 1970's, before new regulations controlling waste removal came into place with the Antarctic Treaty Environmental Protocol. The clean up took place near the remote BAS summer field station at Fossil Bluff, Alexander Island on the Antarctic Peninsula. The ?500k clean up was part of a partnering agreement between BAS and British Construction Company AWG Construction Services. In total over 50 tonnes of waste including hundreds of fuel drums, an engine block and general rubbish was removed. Hazardous wastes such as lead-acid batteries, medical syringes and asbestos were also cleared away. The wastes were first flown to Rothera Research Station and then shipped to the Falklands Islands or UK for recycling or safe disposal. BAS Environment Officer, Dr John Shears, says, "We are delighted to win a Gold Green Apple Award. The BAS is committed to protecting the Antarctic environment and we hope that other nations working in the Antarctic will follow this example of environmental best practice". ENDS Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press Office Linda Capper tel: 01223 221448, mobile 07714 233744 email l.capper@bas.ac.uk or Athena Dinar tel: 01223 221414, mobile: 07740 822229 email: a.dinar@bas.ac.uk Notes to Editors: Photographs of Fossil Bluff before and after the clean up are available on request. The Green Organisation, dedicated to promoting the positive side of environmental endeavour, gives the 'Green Apple Awards' for examples of best practice. The UK is undertaking a major five-year programme costing ?2 million to remove abandoned British stations and waste dumps from Antarctica, in accordance with the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty (1998). It is BAS policy to minimise the impact of its activities on the Antarctic environment. The BAS removes all its solid waste from the Antarctic for reuse, recycling or safe disposal, including wastes generated by past activities. Clean up at Fossil Bluff began on 11 December 2002 and was completed on 6 February 2003. A team of four clean-up specialists from AWG Construction Service carried out the work, assisted by three BAS staff. Half the clean up costs (?250k) were provided by BAS' parent body - the Natural Environment Research Council. BAS matched these funds by providing support logistics such as Twin Otter Aircraft and three project staff. Fossil Bluff is one of the most remote field stations in Antarctica and is situated on Alexander Island on the Antarctic Peninsula. It is used as a meteorological outpost and re-fuelling station for BAS. It is accessible only by small, ski-equipped aircraft from the BAS Rothera Research Station, also on the Antarctic Peninsula. During the 2003/4 Antarctic season, BAS will complete the five year clean up programme and is removing the abandoned British stations at Detaille Island, Danco Island and Prospect Point on the Antarctic Peninsula. The BAS was also nominated for a "Working Well Together" health and safety award for the clean up at Fossil Bluff with AWG Construction Services. The award is supported by the Health and Safety Executive for the safety commitment demonstrated at all levels between the two organisations for joint building and clean up projects in Antarctica. British Antarctic Survey British Antarctic Survey (BAS) undertakes a world-class programme of science in the Antarctic and related regions, addressing key global and regional issues through research, survey and monitoring. BAS also helps to discharge the UK's international responsibilities under the Antarctic Treaty System. British Antarctic Survey is part of the Natural Environment Research Council. For more information on British Antarctic Survey please visit the website at: www.antarctica.ac.uk