HC Deb 04 March 1997 vol 291 c703
10. Mr. Tredinnick

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the conclusions of his recent seminar on international environmental crime. [17011]

Mr. Gummer

Our recent seminar was very successful and will help the UK to continue to take the lead in combating environmental crime. We are working with our partners in the EU and beyond to intensify our efforts.

Mr. Tredinnick

Does my right hon. Friend accept that the smuggling of hazardous materials and CFCs is on the increase? What action was planned at the conference? What does he propose to do to combat this crime, which is of great concern to our constituents?

Mr. Gummer

We are certainly tightening the arrangements between the countries of the EU and within this nation, and this country has the most forward-looking system. But we want to ensure that we cover the areas of trafficking, most of it from the former Soviet Union.

Mr. Barry Jones

Is the diesel motor engine detrimental to public health? What is the state of the Department's research on the subject?

Mr. Gummer

I am not sure that that has much to do with environmental crime. Our air quality programme is better than that of any other country. We will get rid of both summer and winter smog within the next 10 years, so that once again we will be in the forefront of clean air policy.