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The original proposal for an Antarctic Bill was put forward by the previous Government who published a consultation and Draft Bill in December 2009. This Bill would implement a new annex to the Antarctic Treaty that was agreed in 2005. The Annex, on Liability Arising from Environmental Emergencies, requires anyone undertaking activates in Antarctica to ensure measures are in place to prevent any environmental damage, together with contingency plans to deal with any damage that might occur.

The current Antarctic Bill is a hand-out Bill which has been taken up by Neil Carmichael MP, who will take it through the House of Commons as a Private Member’s Bill. The Bill has Government support and is due to have its Second Reading on 2 November 2012. It will be based on the Bill consulted on by the previous Government, although it will not contain what was Part 2 of the original Bill covering the requirement for contingency and safety planning for all British operators.

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