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Ospar Commission

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how often the countries which belong to the OSPAR Commission have met since July 1998 on matters within its auspices; what subjects they discussed; and what issues or matters were implemented. [116124]

The OSPAR Commission, comprising representatives of each of the contracting parties, meets annually. It is supported by six committees (hazardous substances, biodiversity, eutrophication, radioactive substances, offshore oil and gas production, and assessment and monitoring) and a number of sub-committees, each of which also meets annually. The Commission has discussed progress on each of the six issues each year, and has agreed Decisions, Recommendation, guidelines and joint work programmes as appropriate in order to implement the OSPAR strategies. The Summary Records produced after each meeting provide a publicly available account of issues discussed and measures agreed—they may be found at: www.ospar.org

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken by the countries forming the OSPAR Commission to agree a baseline from which to measure whether reductions in radioactive discharges have taken place. [116125]

[holding answer 3 June 2003]: In 2001, OSPAR's Radioactive Substances Committee set up working groups to recommend baselines for discharges, concentrations and dose. The final reports of the working groups were considered by the Committee at its meeting in February 2003. The Committee has been unable to reach agreement on the discharges baseline. It is expected that the issue will be resolved at the OSPAR Commission meeting in June this year.