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Lakes (Acidity)

Volume 174: debated on Tuesday 12 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many lakes in England suffer from acidity problems; if he will list them and give some measure of how acidic they are; and if he will make a statement on what the Government are doing about the problem.

The Government will continue to sponsor research totalling over £3 million over the next three years identifying susceptible lakes and ecosystems. Comprehensive monitoring networks are in place measuring acid deposition and lake chemistry, acidity and ecology in the most sensitive lakes and streams. However, natural lake acidity varies greatly with catchment geology and ecology in addition to the undoubted effect of acid rain. Consequently, the collection of data on the scale requested is not currently feasible.Data on the effects of acid rain are published in Department of the Environment scientific review group and other reports, "Acidity in United Kingdom Fresh Waters"—United Kingdom acid waters review group second report, "Acid Deposition in the United Kingdom" —United Kingdom review group on acid rain second report and "Lake Acidification in the United Kingdom" —paleoecology research unit, University college London. Monitoring data have also been published in the first report of the United Kingdom acid waters monitoring network. Copies of all these publications are in the Library of the House.The United Kingdom has agreed directives with our European partners which will reduce acid emissions significantly. Using 1980 as a baseline, the United Kingdom is committed to reducing emissions of SO

2 , by 60 per cent. by 1993 and NOx by 30 per cent. by 1998 from existing large combustion plants. A directive requiring the fitting of catelytic convertors to most new cars before 1993 will reduce emissions of NO2 by up to 90 per cent., and the United Kingdom is pressing for the strictest possible emission standards to be applied to diesel engines.