HC Deb 11 July 1984 vol 63 c1025
6. Dr. Mawhinney

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the implications for environmental standards, such as lead levels in the air, of the timing of the introduction of lead-free petrol in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Waldegrave

Next year's 60 per cent. reduction in petrol-lead will enable us to meet the relevant European Community standard for air with ease. The introduction of lead-free petrol, by 1989 at the latest, will of course produce further improvements.

Dr. Mawhinney

The House is grateful to my hon. Friend for his lead in introducing lead-free petrol. Will he assure the House that if this country is able to introduce lead-free petrol before 1989 we shall do so and not wait for the rest of the European Community?

Mr. Waldegrave

Britain's approach was vindicated at the last Council of Minister's meeting. For the first time, all the countries of the European Community agreed to the introduction of lead-free petrol. I am grateful for what my hon. Friend said. The answer to the latter part of his question is yes, Sir.

Mr. Eastham

Does the Under-Secretary of State recall that about two years ago the Government decided to conduct an inquiry into lead pollution in certain urban areas, including Manchester? Is the Department now able to make a statement on the inquiry's conclusions and findings concerning damage caused to children?

Mr. Waldegrave

My constituency was included in the inquiry. National and European surveys show that there is no measureable impact on the health of children from the low levels of lead in this country, but that is not to say that it is not a sensible policy to diminish the risk of any such damage. That is what we are doing.