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Council Of Environment Ministers

Volume 33: debated on Tuesday 7 December 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement about the outcome of the Council of Environment Ministers meeting on 3 December.

I led the United Kingdom delegation at this meeting, at Which the Principal item discussed was a draft regulation to Prohibit the import into the Community of skins of certain seal pups and Products derived therefrom.Because a small minority of member States refused to discuss the Presidency Proposal or several other alternatives for action, it Proved impossible to reach agreement, I made it clear that the United Kingdom Wishes to take Positive action and Within the Community to seek conservation by the hooded seal as recommended to the Commission by the Nature Conservancy Council. This also met with no response. The Council will reconvene to continue discussions on the issue on 17 December. Meanwhile I am able to confirm that Following discussions With the Government the British Fur Traders Association has agreed to recommend to its members a voluntary ban on imports of harp and hooded seal pup skins and their Products from 1 March 1983, for a period of one year.The Council also discussed the text of a resolution to approve the general approach of the draft third community Programme on the environment for 1982–1986. I expect this to be finally approved at the next meeting of the Council on 17 December.The Council discussed issues of Principle arising from the Proposal for a directive on the limit values and quality objectives relating to cadium in the aquatic environment. Determined efforts on the Part of other delegations to impose obligations at variance with the Framework directive 76/464/EEC prevented agreement from being reached. The draft directive was referred to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further discussion.After discussion the Council also referred the Proposal for a directive on the environmental assessment of development Projects to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further examination.The Council formally adopted some Community instruments which it had earlier approved. These included the directive for a limit value for lead in the air, the regulations on Community implementation of the Washington convention on trade in endangered species and the directive on the monitoring of the environmental effects of waste from the titanium dioxide industry.The Council will meet again on 17 December to resume discussion of the draft regulation relating to seal products and the third environment programme.