Chlorofluorocarbons

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th March 1988.

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Photo of Mrs Ray Michie Mrs Ray Michie , Argyll and Bute 12:00 am, 16th March 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to introduce legislation on chlorofluorocarbons.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

On 21 March the European Communities' Council of Ministers will have a first exchange of views on the Commission's proposals for implementing the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. That will enable us to consider the extent to which legislation, at Community or national level, will be necessary.

Photo of Mrs Ray Michie Mrs Ray Michie , Argyll and Bute

Will the Minister consider introducing legislation to make it compulsory for manufacturers to list the CFCs in their products, particularly, as he said, as we know that they lead to the destruction of the ozone layer?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

It would be quite wrong to pre-empt the discussions that start next week with legislation. Obviously, we shall need to examine the range of options that the European Community is addressing — from regulations to directives. If a European-wide directive emerges, there will be no need for national legislation.

In answer to the second point, a number of companies are responding to the hon. Lady's wish and are using the slogan, "ozone friendly," which is to be commended.

Photo of Mr Hugo Summerson Mr Hugo Summerson , Walthamstow

Will my hon. Friend consider strengthening the BS standard on air-conditioning systems in vehicles to ensure that the coolant that they use, which is swarming with chlorofluorocarbons, does not leak?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

That was an important point at the centre of the discussions with the Americans when we began negotiating on 16 September in Montreal. It will certainly he looked at in more detail in the discussions that start next week in the Community.

Photo of Mr Dafydd Wigley Mr Dafydd Wigley , Caernarfon

Does the Minister accept that this is perhaps the most important matter that we shall face this week or any other? Because of that, will he say what resources the Government are providing for research into it?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I totally agree with the hon. Member that this is a critically important issue for environmental protection. I welcome the fact that action was taken in international forums before the scientific data came along to demonstrate that there is a major problem. More research is required and is currently going on. I will ensure that the hon. Member has details of the specific sums involved as soon as they become available.