Sir: Tom Wilkie's open letter to HRH Princess Anne (15 April) stressed, quite rightly, the need for patronage of science, but failed to state that this is one of the aims of the Antarctic Heritage Trust. Moreover, Michael Jopling's Antarctic Bill, now passing through Parliament, seeks to protect better the Antarctic environment to enable research of global relevance to be conducted there (on climate and sea level change, atmospheric chemistry, impacts of enhanced ultra-violet radiation, etc). But it also requires Britain to 'clean up' abandoned bases, any debris and remains from former times.
While the British Antarctic Survey is committed, with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, to this costly activity, it is important to ensure that the past history of scientific exploration and human endeavour is not swept away indiscriminately. The Antarctic Heritage Trust is assisting directly on what should be retained and conserved for future generations.
D. J. DREWRY
Director, British Antarctic Survey