Falklands : Mineral Resources Committee Environmental Gap Analysis Funding
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 21.09.2013 (Article Archived on 19.10.2013)
Stephen Luxton, Director of Mineral Resources, introduced a report on Environmental Gap Analysis Funding, which had been endorsed by the Environmental Committee at their meeting on 23 August.
Mineral Resources Committee
Environmental Gap Analysis Funding
Stephen Luxton, Director of
Mineral Resources, introduced a report on Environmental Gap Analysis Funding, which had been endorsed by the
Environmental Committee at their meeting on 23 August.
Speaking about the report, Nick
Rendell, the Environmental Officer commented on it summarising where there were
data gaps which needed to be addressed prior to further oil development taking
Dr Brickle explained that a Gap
Analysis Working Group had been set up as a sub-group of the Falkland Islands
Offshore Hydrocarbons Environmental Forum.
Agreeing the priority areas which
needed to be examined, the Group had including littoral/sublittoral
environments, offshore benthic ecosystems, oceanography in relation to oil
spill modelling, seabirds, pinnipeds and cetaceans.
Locally the work would be carried
out in conjunction with overseas scientists. It was proposed that two project
officers would be employed, one responsible for sea birds and mammals and the
other for review, consolidation and curation of the data collection.
Dr Brickle emphasised that there
would be enormous benefit in having all the data held in one place and that the
data could be used for any project, not just oil. It would allow for a holistic
view of the environment.
Stephen Luxton noted that it was
absolutely essential that this work proceeded in order to establish a reference
baseline for future Environmental Impact Assessments and consequently the
Mineral Resources Committee endorsed the action plan and supported the
provision of FIG funding up to 50% of the cost of the proposed two year
They also agreed that the Director
of Mineral Resources should approach the members of the Falkland Islands
Production Licensees Association to request that the remaining 50% of the
funding required to support the project be provided by FIPLA members. They
noted that the proposal was included in the Oil Readiness Checklist. Nonetheless the Director of Mineral Resources
explained that the report was largely for information purposes.
Recently Knights Consulting report
had highlighted that further work was required to identify if there were any
outstanding issues which required addressing or were not adequately defined or
regulated by current legislation.
Soon the Mineral Resources
Department would be consulting with environmental groups locally to ensure that
there were no perceived issues. The Director confirmed that this project was
included in the Oil Readiness Checklist.
The Mineral Resources Committee
supported a gap analysis review in relation to additional environmental
legislation which may be required to ensure adequate regulation of the Falklands
offshore oil industry; and noted that there may be a requirement for
significant additional funding to recruit external expertise to conduct an
external review and to undertake legislative drafting, but that the extent of
this will only be determined as the work proceeds.