§ 3. Mr. Dalyell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advantage he has taken of the expertise of Dr. Nigel Downing to make safe from pollution the coral reef areas of Qaru, U Al Maradem, and Kubbar; what help he has given to Dr. Nigel Downing in getting him to the atolls; and what were the results of the meeting between the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) and Dr. Downing and the hon. Member for Linlithgow on 30 April.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Tony Baldry)
The hon. Gentleman was present when I met Dr. Downing and he knows that we fully support the contribution that United Kingdom environmental science, including Dr. Downing, can make in addressing the level of environmental damage in the 935 Gulf. To that end, we have helped Dr. Downing with local contacts and travel arrangements to the Gulf and I am glad to say that he is now taking advantage of travel, sponsored by my Department, on board one of the regular Ministry of Defence flights to Al Jubayl and will leave for the Gulf this Friday.
§ Mr. Dalyell
What close logistical field support can Dr. Downing expect from the Department of Environment through its contacts with the Ministry of Defence?
§ Mr. Baldry
I am glad to say that we have already given Dr. Downing much help. I am ensuring that our embassies in the region are informed of his visit. They will, of course, consider what extra help they and the remaining British forces in the area can provide.
§ Mr. Allason
I congratulate the Government on their action in protecting coral reefs, and particularly on their recent seizure of 4 tonnes of coral originating in the Philippines. Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Government will continue to protect coral reefs, wherever they occur in the world, and to ensure that coral from the reefs is not imported into the United Kingdom in the form of souvenirs?
§ Mr. Baldry
We shall continue to make whatever contribution we can, within our means, to supporting these very important habitats throughout the world.