MPs launch Arctic protection inquiry

MPs sitting on the Environmental Audit Committee have launched an inquiry into how the UK might protect the Arctic from oil and gas drilling. Over the next two years, countries […]

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By Tom Gibson

MPs sitting on the Environmental Audit Committee have launched an inquiry into how the UK might protect the Arctic from oil and gas drilling.

Over the next two years, countries which butt onto the Arctic will be able to apply to the UN to exploit the region’s natural resources.

Although the UK has no jurisdiction over Arctic seas, it has commercial and scientific interests in the region and sits on the Arctic Council. The Committee will examine how the Government could use its influence to limit negative impacts on the environment.

Joan Walley MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee said: “We will be looking at what the UK Government can do to ensure that the Arctic is protected and whether it is even possible to drill for oil and gas safely in such remote regions.”

The inquiry will examine what the consequences of unrestricted development in the Arctic are, how Arctic energy reserves might impact on UK energy security and policy and how new Arctic shipping routes and fishing grounds might affect UK maritime and fisheries policy.