Green light to rebuild Scott Base

SBR concept
14 October 2021

Antarctica New Zealand is delighted that Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, has given the green light to begin the redevelopment of Scott Base.

Minister Mahuta has approved the Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE) and issued Antarctica New Zealand with a Permit to rebuild Aotearoa New Zealand’s home on the ice.

“Antarctica New Zealand prides itself in holding the gold standard for environmental leadership in Antarctica and we want to do everything we can to minimise the environmental impact of the rebuild,” says Chief Executive Sarah Williamson.

“The Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation explains how and when Antarctica New Zealand will deliver the Scott Base Redevelopment project and upgrade the Ross Island wind farm. It outlines the steps we’ll take to manage, minimise and monitor the project’s impacts,” she says.

A CEE is a detailed environmental impact assessment required under the Antarctic Treaty System for activities that are likely to have more than a minor or transitory impact on the Antarctic environment.

“Protecting the Antarctic environment is one of the strategic objectives of the redevelopment. Having the Minister’s endorsement of the CEE reinforces her support for the project and our commitment to protecting the environment”, says Senior Project Manager Simon Shelton.

“The Antarctic Treaty System is a robust structure that ensures Antarctica is only used for peaceful purposes and science, and we’re really proud to be creating a base that will support that,” he says.

New Zealand is one of the 12 original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty and is well respected among Treaty Parties.

In Budget 2021, Antarctica New Zealand received $344 million to rebuild Scott Base. That includes renewing the wind farm which will ensure the new base is powered by up to 97% of renewable energy. Following public consultation, the Minister’s approval of the CEE is the final step for the organisation to begin construction on the ice.

The CEE can be viewed on the Antarctica New Zealand website here, as well as the Scott Base Redevelopment website.

About the Scott Base Redevelopment

  • The redevelopment of Scott Base will replace the existing base with three interconnected buildings and upgrade the Ross Island wind farm.
  • In Budget 2021, the Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs announced $344 million in funding for the redevelopment of Scott Base.
  • The redevelopment will provide a safe, fit-for-purpose, environmentally sustainable scientific research base that will support New Zealand’s presence in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica for the next 50 years.
  • The new base can accommodate up to 100 people.
  • The new base will consist of an accommodation, dining and welfare building, a science and management building and an engineering and storage building.
  • It will be built in the same location as the existing base on Ross Island.
  • Antarctica New Zealand is committed to continuing to support science throughout the redevelopment.