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North Sea

Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the five countries that contribute the highest amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen via direct inputs to the North sea.

The 1990 interim quality status report on the North sea combines information on river and direct inputs to the North sea from all North sea states. These figures are not directly comparable but show the highest inputs from the Netherlands, followed by the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway and Belgium.Definitive information on direct inputs will not be available until the 1990 Paris commission survey using standardised measuring techniques.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take urgent steps to reduce by at least 50 per cent. discharges via pipes and rivers into the North sea of all chemicals that are (a) persistent, (b) toxic and (c) liable to bioaccumulate.

The commitment to reduce dangerous substances (defined as persistent, toxic and liable to bioaccumulate) inputs substantially, by the order of 50 per cent., by 1995, was made by the second North sea conference in London in November 1987. Progress in achieving this was among the topics considered by the third conference in the Hague on 7 and 8 March. The United Kingdom has reported the progress it has already achieved and envisages in the national action plan on reducing discharges to rivers, estuaries and coastal waters published on 5 March. At the third conference it was agreed that action should be taken on a list of 36 dangerous substances, most of which are already on the United Kingdom's red list or covered by the national action plan.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the third North sea conference and measures agreed to halt pollution.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 12 March 1990 by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre (Mr. Mans) on the outcome of the third North sea conference.