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Environmental Pollution (Report)

Volume 33: debated on Monday 6 December 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is yet in a position to respond to the fifth report of the Royal Commission on evironmental pollution; and if he will make a statement.

We have published our response to the Royal Commission today. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.We are grateful for the Royal Commission's careful analysis, and welcome in particular its support for the basic features of our system of air pollution control, namely, 'the best practicable means' principle and the division of control responsibilities between local authorities and a central inspectorate. We recognise the force of the Royal Commission's arguments about the need to take a wider view of pollution control—to aim to achieve the 'best practicable environmental option'. We wholly support this concept, but do not propose a new inspectorate as the Royal Commission suggested in this context. Instead we are initiating immediate discussions with the pollution control authorities to establish the ways in which better co-operation can be achieved to ensure the best overall solution where there are real alternatives.We have also decided that a comprehensive review of air pollution control legislation should be undertaken. A consultation document will be issued in the New Year.We have accepted a large number of the Royal Commission's other recommendations, and our response sets out in full our reaction to each of their proposals.