HC Deb 15 December 1971 vol 828 cc449-50
23. Mr. Sutcliffe

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the rôle of the four Stockholm Conference working parties in the Government's preparation for the United Nations conference on the Environment in Stockholm.

Mr. Peter Walker

The four working parties have carried out a massive exercise of consultation with individuals and organisations throughout the United Kingdom. Their conclusions will be published and their advice and conclusions will be used by me in presenting Britain's contribution to the Stockholm Conference.

Mr. Sutcliffe

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that he will be attending the Stockholm Conference? Will he say who else will be attending the conference next June?

Mr. Walker

Yes, Sir. I will be attending, but I cannot confirm the nature of the delegation as yet. The size of the delegation has not been agreed and, therefore, neither has the nature of it been decided.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Would it not be desirable for the House to be associated with this very important world conference? Is the Minister satisfied that the working groups he established have been meeting and have done a useful job?

Mr. Walker

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that question because it has been suggested elsewhere that they have not been meeting. They have all been meeting to a tremendous extent over the last six or seven months. They have carried out hundreds of meetings throughout the country and they have met together. I do not know of a greater degree of consultation with people in the country interested in this topic that has taken place in this country. As to the nature of the delegation, this is a conference of Governments. I do not believe that there are great party differences on our approach to this and, therefore, I wanted to represent the British viewpoint.