House of Commons
Tristan Da Cunha
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
22 Apr 2013
Andrew Rosindell (Romford, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to safeguard the flora and fauna of Tristan da Cunha.
Mark Simmonds (Boston and Skegness, Conservative)
Responsibility for environmental issues is devolved to the Governments of the Overseas Territories. However the UK Government is committed to working closely with Overseas Territory Governments and partner organisations to provide support and assistance in areas where they need help.
Tristan da Cunha is home to a number of important and unique habitats, particularly the World Heritage listed sites of Gough and Inaccessible Islands. The Government of Tristan da Cunha takes protection of the environment very seriously. Tristan cooperates with a number of environmental bodies in doing this and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has recently been awarded a £285,000 grant under the Darwin Initiative to conduct further study into the sustainable management of the marine environment and resources of Tristan da Cunha.
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MP Rosindell Chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories. He is the closest thing we in the OTs have to a representative in Commons.
MP Simmonds is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In this role, he is also responsible for the British Overseas Territories.
Minister Simmonds was not asked whether the Tristan Government, whoever that is, takes environmental protection seriously, and I resent his attempt to divert attention from the question. He was asked what steps he, meaning the FCO, is taking to safeguard the flora and fauna of Tristan. This includes the urgent and long-continuing problem of the "killer mice" on Gough Island, a World Heritage Site, which the FCO continues to ignore.
Telling us that such enormous responsibilities are devolved to the 262 islanders and their government is not, in my opinion, helpful, relevant or respectful to the good people of Tristan.