asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the latest figures for United Kingdom emissions of sulphur dioxide, how these compare with figures for the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the percentage reaching other countries.
In 1983. the latest year for which figures are available, it is estimated that United Kingdom sulphur dioxide emissions were 3·69 million tonnes, representing reductions of some 31 per cent., 21 per cent. 13 per cent. and 9 per cent. on the 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 figures respectively. Estimates of emissions for 1984 will be available shortly.As set out in the table to section III of my Department's memorandum of evidence to the Environment Committee, the co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe — EMEP — has estimated that, in the period October 1978 to September 1980, some 28 per cent. of United Kingdom sulphur dioxide emissions were deposited in other countries. Work is in progress within EMEP to update the model on which this estimate is based.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are being taken to achieve the Government's aim of a 30 per cent. reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions by the end of the 1990s.
The Government expect the downward trend in sulphur dioxide emissions since 1970 to continue in the longer term, through the expansion of our nuclear generation capacity, the introduction, as they become available, of new cost-effective technologies for cleaner and more efficient fuel combustion, improved efficiency in the use of energy, and further changes in the pattern of energy usage.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made by the building research establishment in preparing an inventory of the different locations, amounts of materials and types of buildings within the United Kingdom which are likely to be at risk from acid rain.
This is a large task. Good progress is being made. We expect to have preliminary findings in the spring of 1986.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what stage has been reached in the discussions with the University of Manchester institute of science and technology regarding a programme on the interaction of air pollutants with building materials, with special emphasis on nitrogen oxides.
A three-year contract has been let to UMIST. This work will supplement the BRE in-house laboratory-site work programme on the effects of air pollutants.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if, following the results revealed in the initial survey by the Property Services Agency of atmospheric attack on buildings, the extended survey envisaged has yet been completed;(2) what progress has been made by the Property Services Agency in monitoring for damage a selection of buildings constructed of different materials.
The extended survey is covering buildings of different materials, and preliminary results will be made available to the House before the summer of 1986.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made with the study of damage to natural stonework in Bolsover abbey.
I believe that my hon. Friend is referring to Bolsover castle—the Government's White Paper, Cmnd. 9397 incorrectly referred to Bolsover abbey — which is in the care of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Some of this monument's stonework has been treated successfully in the past with Brethane, but in response to some further discoloration, the Commission has installed monitoring equipment to measure the effects of atmospheric pollution. I shall ask the commission to inform my hon. Friend of the results of these tests when they have been completed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what stage has been reached in the building research establishment programme for assessing the costs and benefits of preventing the avoidable erosion of historic and modern buildings; and when the programme is expected to be completed.
To undertake a cost benefit analysis, it is first necessary to quantify the area of materials at risk and to determine the rates of erosion of materials. An inventory of buildings is, therefore, being carried out, and a programme of research on the dose response of building materials will commence shortly at BRE. Meanwhile, BRE continues to assess preservative treatments. The costing of benefits is especially difficult and it is, as yet, too early to say when the programme will be completed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in the last 12 months in extending the Department's monitoring networks for nitrogen oxides and ozone.
Financial provision for acquisition of equipment to extend the network has been made in the current, 1985–86, estimates. The monitoring techniques are sophisticated and each site costs some £50,000. The network has been planned and instrumentation is being acquired and developed, in order to commence establishment of new sites before the end of this year.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what need for additional research has been identified by the Committee on Air Pollution Effects Research, following the Environment Committee's report on acid rain.
Additional research on the effects of low temperature stress on trees and on the increased susceptibility of trees to insect and fungal attack due to pollution is being undertaken as a result of the Committee's advice.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the results of the evaluation by the building research establishment of the extent of deterioration in stone samples exposed to air pollution in the vicinity of power stations.
The samples have recently been returned to BRE. The analytical techniques are lengthy, and the completed analysis will not be available before the end of 1985.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what research is being carried out into the damage done to organic materials by ozone and photo-oxidants.
Studies of the degradative effects of atmospheric pollutants on plastics and organic surface coatings are included in the building research establishment's programme. The establishment is also undertaking a review of relevant overseas research.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if the Government have yet initiated their programme to determine mercury levels in fish originating from acid waters on catchments naturally rich in heavy metals.
The Department is discussing details of a limited programme with the freshwater fisheries laboratory, Pitlochry.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in planning a network of stations to monitor air pollution in rural areas, following the recommendations of the United Kingdom review group on acid deposition and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.
The primary acid deposition monitoring network will be in place this year; a secondary network is being developed from existing sites owned and operated by a variety of public authorities. The rural sulphur dioxide monitoring network is at an advanced stage of planning.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations on the subject of acid rain have been received from the West German and Scandinavian Governments in the last 12 months.
The Prime Minister of Norway, Mr Willock, wrote to my right honourable Friend the Prime Minister on 2 October 1984, enclosing a joint declaration by himself and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Herr Kohl, concerning the preservation of clean air.The Prime Minister of Iceland, Mr Hermannsson, also wrote to my right honourable Friend on 17 December 1984, enclosing a statement by the Nordic Prime Ministers on air pollution and acidification.In the past 12 months, I have personally visited both Norway and Sweden, to see and discuss the effects of acid deposition, and my colleagues and I have also had a number of contacts with representatives of the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and Scandinavian countries, where the subject of acid rain has been discussed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the stage which has been reached in the examination of the health effects associated with acid rain, referred by the executive body of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Air Pollution to the World Health Organisation.
The United Nations World Health Organisation — UNWHO — has produced two interim reports for the United Nations economic commission for Europe's executive body for the convention on long-range transboundary air pollution. These reports relate to the direct and indirect effects of air pollution, including acid deposition, on human health. The UNWHO has been asked to update these reports for submission to the 1986 meeting of the executive body.