HC Deb 19 April 1995 vol 258 cc208-9
20. Mr. Llwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what current initiatives his Department is following to lessen carbon monoxide emissions in urban areas; and if he will make a statement. [17925]

Mr. Atkins

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State published in January a statement of the Government's strategic policies for air quality management.

On the basis of those policies, national emissions of carbon monoxide are expect to drop by 36 per cent. by 2000 and by 56 per cent. by 2010, compared with present levels.

Mr. Llwyd

Is not the Minister being rather complacent? Surely it is time that the Government grasped the nettle and considered what is happening in other countries. For example, there is limited use now of private vehicles in Athens. Is it not time that the Government stopped slapping their own backs and saying that they are doing something, and started getting on with the job? We all know that pollution comes from conurbations, where often there is only one person in each car. Let us get better public transport and see an end to all that.

Mr. Atkins

Frankly, the hon. Gentleman is being complacent if he does not understand the facts of life in the context at least of air quality. The most recent figures available to us show that the World Health Organisation's standards of one hour, 30 minutes or 15 minutes on, carbon monoxide were not exceeded anywhere in the United Kingdom. As the hon. Gentleman heard in my first answer, the future is just as bright.