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Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport what Western countries currently market lead-free petrol.

The United States of America and Canada are the only Western countries in which lead-free petrol—as well as some leaded petrol—is currently marketed.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport by how much the financial cost of motoring would rise if petrol were lead-free.

No estimate has so far been made of this. But the total costs of eliminating lead from petrol would be bound to be substantial, and would in particular include the additional crude fuel needed to produce petrol to adequate standards.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the lead content in petrol supplies to motorists.

In accordance with a recent EEC directive, we propose to reduce the statutory limit on lead in petrol from 0·45 to 0·40 grammes per litre with effect from 1st January 1981.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he proposes to introduce legislation to ban the use of lead in petrol supplied to the motorist; and, if not, why not.

We have no present intention of banning the use of lead in petrol. No sufficient case has yet been demonstrated on health grounds to warrant the substantial costs involved. We intend, however, to keep the matter under review in the light of relevant medical and other studies.