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Council Of Ministers (Meeting)

Volume 951: debated on Friday 9 June 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the outcome of the Council of Ministers (Environment) meeting in Brussels on 30th May 1978.

I represented the United Kingdom at the Council of Ministers (Environment) on 30th May 1978. Agreement was reached on two directives: one on the lead content of petrol, the other on the quality of water for fresh water fish.The lead in petrol directive will mean that the Community will adopt a maximum level for lead in petrol of 0ยท4 grams per litre from 1st January 1981. This date is in accordance with the Government's intentions on reducing the lead content of petrol announced in the House on 4th March 1976 by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State.The directive on the quality of water for fresh water fish is aimed at the protection and improvement of fresh waters which are or could become capable of supporting fish life. Designation of waters to which the standards in the directive will apply, will be a matter for member States. As adopted it meets the detailed objections we had to the stringency of some of the standards originally proposed. I regret to say that once again the Council failed to agree on the final details of a directive on conservation of birds which would make a particular contribution within the Community to conserving a species of migratory birds threatened with extinction. A decision was deferred for three weeks in the hope that the remaining reservation holding up agreement will be lifted.Other matters discussed included the subject of Community action on marine pollution which will be further considered by the Transport Ministers Council on 12th June and Foreign Ministers Council on 26th and 27th June.