The British Antarctic Survey is a world-leading research organisation with an unparalleled international reputation for polar science. Its research has over five decades led to many world-changing discoveries, including the ‘hole’ in the Earth’s protective ozone layer. Today its scientists are conducting vital work to try to understand the unique environments of the Arctic and Antarctic, particularly the very rapid climatic changes occurring at the poles. The merger would undermine the work of polar scientists and diminish Britain’s national presence in the polar regions.
The work of the British Antarctic Survey has never been more important, or more relevant to the UK. For example, teams of BAS scientists are presently looking into the risk of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsing, which on its own would lead to three metres of global sea level rise, affecting low lying areas across the world, including major cities such as London.
We believe that proposals from the Natural Environment Research Council (which reports to Vince Cable's department) to merge the British Antarctic Survey with the National Oceanography Centre
(http://www.nerc.ac.uk/about/consult/bas-noc-merger-consultation.pdf) would damage British Polar science at time of vital international need.
We believe the British Antarctic Survey should remain as a separate entity dedicated to polar scientific research, fully funded, with its headquarters kept in Cambridge within the world-leading research centre in which it is embedded.