Skip to main content

Environment Council

Volume 208: debated on Wednesday 3 June 1992

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Environment Council on 26 May.

My hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment and Countryside and I represented the United Kingdom at the Environment Council on 26 May.The Council approved a new directive on air pollution by ozone. The directive requires the monitoring of atmospheric concentrations of ozone throughout the Community on a consistent basis; the sharing of selected monitoring information between member states and the Commission; and the issuing of information and of precautionary health warnings to the public in the event of ozone concentrations exceeding specific thresholds. It also requires the Commission, four years after entry into force of the directive, to put a report to the Council on the monitoring data collected by member states, with proposals on the control of air pollition by ozone.The Council adopted conclusions on the framework convention on climate change and agreed that the convention constituted a significant first step in tackling this global problem. They urged all countries to sign the convention during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and to ratify it as soon as possible, and agreed that the Community should also sign it. The Council also supported the continuation of the climate change negotiations to begin in autumn 1992 and stressed the readiness of the Community to contribute actively to this work.The Commission gave a brief presentation on the state of their preparations to present to the Council proposals for a strategy for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, which would include proposals for a carbon/energy tax.In advance of UNCED, the Council adopted preliminary conclusions welcoming the presentation by the Commission of the fifth environmental action programme, entitled "Towards Sustainability". It noted the contents of the programme and undertook to accord the highest priority to consideration of the programme in the light of UNCED and the opinions of the European Parliament and the economic and social committee, so that, following the adoption of a resolution by the Council, the programme can become operative by 1 January 1993.The Council discussed informally the state of preparations for UNCED.The Council discussed at length a draft Council regulation on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community. The regulation is intended to update existing Community legislation on the control of transboundary movements of waste and to enable member states to ratify the United Nations Environment Programme convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal. Much progress was made towards the achievement of a common position, but owing to continuing differences of view on the question of national self-sufficiency in the disposal of waste, the Council was unable to reach agreement on this occasion.