Dioxin

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th June 1993.

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Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner , Bolsover 12:00 am, 30th June 1993

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now meet a deputation of representatives from North Derbyshire to discuss dioxin and other related environmental matters.

Photo of Tim Yeo Tim Yeo Minister (Department of Environment) (Environment and Countryside)

A meeting is proposed for 5 July between Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and elected members and officers of Derbyshire county council and district councils specifically to discuss dioxins in Derbyshire.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner , Bolsover

I call on the Secretary of State for the Environment to meet the representatives and not just Her Majesty's inspectorate. Two years ago, dioxin was discovered in the milk in Bolsover. It was then found in the beef cattle and then in the soil. It has now been found in the next door constituency of Derbyshire, North-East. I call on the Minister to understand that we have a right to have meetings and a public inquiry. If dioxin was discovered in the pond that belongs to the Secretary of State for the Environment, there would be health inspectors and public inquiries until the cows come home.

Photo of Tim Yeo Tim Yeo Minister (Department of Environment) (Environment and Countryside)

I am glad to see that the hon. Gentleman is in characteristically courteous form. The report on the subject and all the relevant information will be published as soon as possible after a decision has been taken on whether to prosecute Coalite. Meanwhile, the Coalite incinerator has been closed for modification. Before it can restart operations, it will have to meet stringent standards. The House will also want to know that the Government's commitment to controlling dioxin emissions was demonstrated yesterday by our agreement in the Council of Ministers to the directive on the incineration of hazardous waste, which sets very demanding limits. Bearing all that in mind, no purpose would be served by holding a meeting at this stage.