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Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to phase out the remaining specialised uses of chlorofluorocarbons in the UK as required under the 1987 Montreal Protocol. (126719)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Minister of State, Department of Health, the hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint), on 13 March 2007, Official Report, column 307W, on essential uses of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and replacement of CFC-based asthma inhalers.

Under the Montreal protocol and related EC legislation, essential use exemptions are also available for laboratory and analytical uses of CFCs. Two UK companies have been allocated small amounts of CFCs for these purposes in 2007.

The European Commission may also authorise temporary exemptions for CFCs in existing military applications until 31 December 2008, where it can be demonstrated that technically and economically feasible alternative substances or technologies are not available or cannot be used. There is some limited use of CFCs for these purposes in the UK.

The European Commission has begun a wide-ranging review of EC Regulation 2037/2000 on substances that deplete the ozone layer, in consultation with member states and stakeholders, including the continuing need for essential use exemptions.