Armed Conflict: Hazardous Substances

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Lord Eames Lord Eames Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have for the removal of toxic waste left after conflict, in particular in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

The Ministry of Defence has a legal obligation to comply with UK and EU legislation on environmental protection. A policy statement made by the Secretary of State for Defence (Michael Fallon) in August 2014, 'Health, Safety and Environmental Protection in Defence' (HS&EP), states that "overseas we apply our UK arrangements where reasonably practicable and, in addition, respond to host nations' relevant HS&EP expectations." This policy statement can be accessed at the gov.uk website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/secretary-of-states-policy-statement-on-safety-health-environmental-protection-and-sustainable-development

UK forces overseas operate under NATO regulations and therefore must also comply with 'STANAG 7141 - Joint NATO Doctrine for Environmental Protection During NATO-led Military Activities', which sets out the environmental planning guidelines for military activities.

Following withdrawal from both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, clean up of hazardous materials was carried out as far as practicable in accordance with relevant legislation.

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