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Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures he is taking to combat air and water pollution.

[holding answer 29 March 1988]: The Scottish Office is actively engaged in a large number of measures to deal with pollution of all kinds. For example, we played a full part in the policy and administrative preparations for the North sea conference of Ministers in London in November, including the organisation of the preliminary international meeting of senior officials in Edinburgh, and we are now taking action to implement the measures agreed by Ministers at the conference; these are listed in the declaration, of which a copy is available in the Library.We identified for the first time 23 Scottish waters in terms of the EC bathing waters directive, and these are being monitored to ensure compliance with the directive's standards.We have tackled particular water pollution problems as necessary, for example by placing restrictions on the use of TBT anti-fouling paints on small boats and fish cages.In the field of air pollution, we are maintaining a close watch on the implementation in Scotland of the EC directives relating to air pollution; encouraging, and paying grants to, local authorities which carry out smoke control measures under the clean air acts; and actively considering comments received on the Government's paper on the review of air pollution legislation in Great Britain. We have also commissioned research projects on specific air pollution questions in Scotland.If the hon. Member has any particular aspect in mind, he may like to write to me or to my right hon. and learned Friend.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the measures his Department is taking to encourage a reduction in the emission of pollutants which cause acid rain.

[holding answer 29 March 1988]: The reduction of acid-producing emissions has to be approached on a national and international basis. The reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment to my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison) on 16 November 1987, at column 185, outlined the reduction in United Kingdom emissions since 1970 and the specific measures being taken by the CEGB to reduce emissions from some major power stations. These measures will be of particular benefit in reducing acidification in Scotland, which receives a major part of its acid-producing emissions from elsewhere. In relation to Scottish emissions, the use of low sulphur coal in the two major SSEB coal-fired stations, and the high level of hydro and nuclear electricity generation, considerably reduce the level of acid-forming pollutants produced in Scotland. We are, however, keeping the position under review.