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Cfcs And Halons

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he intends to publish the study commissioned by his Department into the use of chlorofluorocarbons and halons in the United Kingdom and the scope for their recovery for recycling and destruction.

I have today published this study in a report entitled "CFCs and Halons: Alternatives and the Scope for Recovery for Recycling and Destruction". Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House. The report is available on sale from the publishers HMSO.The Government have made it clear that they are fully committed to the elimination of ozone-damaging CFCs as soon as practically possible, and certainly by the year 2000.The report finds that by adopting alternatives and developing cost-effective recycling, it would be possible to eliminate virtually all consumption of ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the UK by 1997. It also finds that similar action, particularly on recycling, could allow consumption of halon fire-extinguishing agents to be similarly reduced by the year 2000.In examining current levels of CFC use, the report finds that the UK halved its consumption of CFCs between 1986 and 1989, thus meeting the controls on consumption in the present Montreal protocol almost 10 years ahead of requirements. The Montreal protocol is to be strengthened at a conference in London at the end of June, against a background of strong calls for complete phase-out of CFCs by the year 2000. This report provides further evidence that UK industry is responding well to this particular environmental challenge and is well placed to meet a more stringent regulatory regime over the next 10 years.This will, however, require greater recycling of ozone-damaging substances, particularly in the refrigeration, fire-extinguishing and solvent areas. I urge all those involved in producing or using products made with CFCs or halons to increase their level of recycling. This action needs to form part of each company's overall strategy for reducing their use of these substances.Local authorities and the private sector also have a role to play in the safe disposal of CFCs from domestic refrigerators. The report highlights a number of successful recovery and recycling schemes that have been set up. I hope that this report will encourage others to follow this lead.