The expedition is being undertaken by a small and highly experienced team who are committed to minimizing the expedition’s impact on the environment.
The route has been chosen based on routes used by other operators as these will be the safest to follow as they are marked, have had crevasses filled and snow compressed by vehicles which allows for easier traction. These routes are also already impacted to some extent by other users. Therefore by using these routes the expedition prevents the spread of impacts to more pristine parts of the continent.
Supply logistics involving more frequent depot laying were considered, but deemed too costly and unnecessary. Additional depots would also result in the burning of more fuel and therefore greater atmospheric emissions.
The likely impacts resulting from the proposed activities have been meticulously assessed, including emissions to air, fuel and oil spills, domestic waste water and sewage, solid waste, noise, physical disturbance, introduction of alien species and translocation of diseases. The effects on associated and dependent ecosystems and cumulative impacts of the proposed activities have also been considered.
After a careful review the proposed activities are expected to have less than a minor or transitory impact upon the Antarctic environment. All waste, including sewage, will be removed from the continent at the end of the traverse, and whatever can be recycled will be.
The most significant negative impacts of the planned activities are atmospheric emissions and impacts on the ice environment (release of grey water, sewage and possible fuel spills), noise and physical disturbance.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is likely to have the most significant impact because of its likely effect on climate change (IPCC, 2007). Emissions to air can contribute to the greenhouse effect both directly and indirectly and may also affect air quality and the snow surface. In response to this, all activities will be planned to minimize fuel use; vehicles will be will be new and maintained to the highest standard to give the maximum possible fuel efficiency; the expedition will ensure regular maintenance of vehicles and equipment as this is the best method of minimizing emissions of carbon oxides, black smoke and unburned hydrocarbons; clean, filtered fuels will be used to minimize emissions.