The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a UK Overseas Territory and is administered in London by staff in the Polar Regions Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The government of the Territory has its own legislative framework and makes a range of legal and administrative appointments.

The BAT government also has an advisory body on Place-Names and operates four Post Offices. The BAT has no indigenous population and presence in the Territory is provided by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), who operate 3 scientific stations and the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), who manage the historical base at Port Lockroy.

The BAT comprises the sector of the Antarctic south of latitude 60 degrees South, between longitude 20 degrees West and 80 degrees West. The UK’s claim to this part of Antarctica is the oldest of any made on the continent. All territorial sovereignty claims to Antarctica are held in abeyance under Article IV of the Antarctic Treaty 1959.

The government of the BAT, in consultation with stakeholders, has developed a 5-year strategy for the territory which sets out objectives and funding priorities. The headline objectives of the strategy are:

  • to ensure the long-term security of the Territory by supporting the UK’s high profile within the Antarctic Treaty System
  • to promote the UK’s sovereignty of the Territory, including by increasing awareness of British current and historic interests in the region
  • to protect the BAT environment and preserve British heritage
  • to ensure an effective and proportionate legislative and administrative framework which addresses all activities conducted within the Territory
  • to manage the Territory’s finances in accordance with best financial practice

The strategy is a living document which is reviewed annually.

BAT 2014-19 Strategy (MS Word Document, 135KB)

Strategic projects

The BAT funds a number of projects each year across the following 4 priority areas:

  1. Environmental protection and minimising human impacts
  2. Education and outreach
  3. Heritage
  4. Governance and promoting UK sovereignty

The 2017 bidding round closed on 12 May 2017.


The government of the British Antarctic Territory liaises with a wide range of stakeholders in order to develop policy and undertake projects. Key BAT stakeholders include:

The government of the BAT typically carries out a formal stakeholder meeting each year in addition to ongoing interaction with stakeholders. Those interested in joining this forum or considering an application for BAT funding should contact the BAT government.

Our people

Ben Merrick

Ben Merrick

Commissioner, British Antarctic Territory

Contact us

Polar Regions Department

Overseas Territories Directorate
Polar Regions Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Room K2.55
King Charles Street


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Corporate information