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Sulphur Dioxide Emissions: Protocol Ratification

Volume 576: debated on Saturday 17 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are yet in a position to publish a strategy for meeting the United Kingdom's commitments under the Second Sulphur Protocol of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has today announced that the United Kingdom has ratified the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Second Sulphur Protocol. We are amongst the first handful of countries to do so. Achievement of the emission reduction targets in the protocol will mean even better protection for our sensitive ecosystems, forests, lakes and buildings, as well as benefits for our continental European neighbours. It will also lead to substantial improvements in the quality of the air we breathe, which will be good for asthma sufferers and for everyone who has breathing problems.The protocol needs ratification by 16 countries to become fully effective. So far, 28 countries have signed it but only five, including now the United Kingdom, have ratified. It is clearly important that all those who have signed the protocol should now ratify it. It is only by concerted action across the whole of Europe that we will deal effectively with the problem of acid rain.Our commitment is to reducing emissions of sulphur dioxide by 80 per cent. by 2010 compared with 1980 levels. We are publishing today a national strategy setting out how this will be achieved.The figures for 1995 reveal that emissions from the major sources—power stations, refineries and large industrial boilers and furnaces—have been reduced by 55 per cent. since 1980. This shows that we have already made enormous strides in tackling acid rain.We have buried the old myth that Britain is the Dirty Man of Europe. It never was true. Our policies on this and on a whole range of environmental matters show how serious is this country's commitment to the environment. We have a record of which we can be rightly proud.We are pleased to announce also that changes have been made to the National Plan which gives effect in the United Kingdom to the requirements of the European Community Large Combustion Plant Directive. The aim of these changes, which were widely welcomed by those who commented on the consultation proposals in the

Month of prosecutionVesselOffenceTotal fines £Country of registration
JanuaryNORINAFishing logbook10,000UK
LADY T EMIELFishing logbook10,000UK
LE DERBYFishing in six mile limit17,500French
ANTAEUSFishing in six mile limit22,500French
FebruaryCHRISTINAFishing logbook and landing declaration27,500UK
MarchNICOLA ANNEQuota and landing declaration11,000UK

summer, is to ensure that future allocations of emissions quota for both sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen under the National Plan are more closely in line with regulatory consents under Integrated Pollution Control.