asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, from evidence so far available or from representations made, for what percentage of the total sulphur dioxide deposit on Norway the United Kingdom is held responsible.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentOECD—programme on long-range transport of air pollutants published in 1977 estimated that the United Kingdom was responsible for 25 per cent. of the total sulphur dioxide deposited in Norway. This figure was quoted with an error margin of plus or minus 50 per cent. and was based on 1973 United Kingdom sulphur dioxide emission figures. Since that time, total sulphur dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom have decreased by approximately 15 per cent. so there will have been a decrease in the deposition of United Kingdom-generated sulphur dioxide in Norway.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, on the assumption that coal consumption will be sustained at 75 million tonnes per annum in Central Generating Board power stations, what is his estimate of the tonnage of sulphur dioxide leaving United Kingdom shores each year.
Assuming coal consumption is sustained at 75 million tonnes per year in Central Electricity Generating Board power stations and that consumption of other fossil fuels remains similar to that of 1978, a total of approximately 3.25 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide may leave United Kingdom shores each year. The consumption of coal in power stations will contribute approximately 1.5 million tonnes to this figure.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how he intends to implement in the United Kingdom the convention on long-range transboundary air pollution of the Economic Commission for Europe, in relation to acid rain on Scandinavian countries; and what specific methods he has recommended should be adopted by the Central Electricity Generating Board.
The ECE convention on long-range transboundary air pollution contains four elements on which member countries, including the United Kingdom, have agreed to take action. These relate to research, monitoring, exchange of information and a consultation procedure. The United Kingdom is prepared to collaborate with all other member countries in implementing the requirements arising from these elements.Until all the information generated by these four elements has been fully assessed and a need is substantiated, the United Kingdom does not propose to recommend that any specific methods be adopted by the CEGB or other industrial bodies.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he anticipates that the proposed 400-ft chimneys of the London Brick Company in Bedfordshire will have any effect on long-range transboundary air pollution, particularly in Norway and Sweden.
It is estimated that emissions from the proposed 400-ft chimneys of the London Brick Company in Bedfordshire, a matter which is still the subject of a planning application, would constitute a negligible increase to the total amount of air pollutants which undergo long-range transport from the United Kingdom to countries such as Norway and Sweden.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the effects of acid rain containing sulphurous and sulphuric acids on fish, vegetation and stone.
Sulphur compounds deposited by rain contribute to the acidification of the environment. Stone will be degraded at a rate depending on the types of material and the acidity of the rain. The relationship between acid rain and possible effects on fish and vegetation is more complex as the acidity of rain may be modified by contact with, or passage through soils. Furthermore, the acidity of rain is not only due to sulphurous and sulphuric acids but also nitrous and nitric acids and hydrochloric acids which arise as products of the combustion of fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide which occurs naturally. Intensive research into the possible effects resulting from overall acidification of the environment is being carried out in Scandinavia and North America.A report on "The Effects of Sulphur Compounds on the Environment", which looks at the overall problem from a United Kingdom standpoint, is in preparation. An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on the "Costs and Benefits of Sulphur Oxides Strategies", which attempts to look at the problem on a European basis, is also in preparation.