Stroud MP Neil Carmichael begins trip to Antarctic

Media captionAn MP who is campaigning for better protection of the Antarctic sets off on a visit to the polar continent.

An MP has travelled to the Antarctic as part of his campaign for better protection of the continent.

Neil Carmichael has been lobbying for greater conservation of the polar region through a Private Member's Bill.

A wildlife centre founded by the only son of Scott of the Antarctic is in Mr Carmichael's Stroud constituency.

Mr Carmichael said: "It is a really pristine, really vulnerable place. I think I can make these points really clear from experience if I've been."

He added: "I've been interested in polar regions for a little while and on my Environmental Audit Committee we did a report on the Arctic and that really excited me.

"Secondly because Sir Peter Scott, son of Robert Scott, has done so much work in Slimbridge Wetland Centre in my constituency and did a huge amount too in the Falklands in terms of conservation I just thought it was a fitting thing to do."

Image caption Paradise Bay on the coast of Graham Land in the Antarctic Peninsula in Antarctica

The Bill will be heard in July and has called for the government to ratify its environmental obligations in Antarctica.

'Human activity'

The Conservative MP said he hoped bringing in a domestic law would encourage other countries to do the same.

He added: "With the polar regions under great environmental strain it is important to ensure that increased human activity in the region does not adversely affect the environment and there is a clear rule of law for environmental emergencies.

"The Bill will help prevent environmental emergencies and ensure there can be adequate response should one occur."

Mr Carmichael is travelling with the British Antarctic Survey and is due to return to the UK on 11 January.

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