HL Deb 12 May 1971 vol 318 cc1059-60

2.42 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the scope of the exploratory talks on North Sea pollution which are to open with riparian States on June 11, in London; and in particular whether any of the following subjects will be excluded:—

  1. (1) Dumping of waste;
  2. (2) Run-off of sewage and industrial effluent whether down rivers or directly through sewers;
  3. (3) Pollution entering from other seas;
  4. (4) Marine accidents;
  5. (5) Extraction of oil, gas and other minerals;
  6. (6) Submarine pipelines;
  7. (7) Sewage from vessels; and
  8. (8) Pollution through the air/ water interface.]


My Lords, the meeting on June 11 will consider how far the fisheries and other resources of the North Sea are at risk from pollution and what steps the riparian States should take to prevent damage. The agenda is being arranged in consultation with the States that will be attending and has not yet been finalised. It is our present intention that no form of pollution likely to affect the North Sea should be excluded from discussion, but most attention will be given to problems that are not already being dealt with by IMCO and other international agencies.


My Lords, are the Government aware that that is a very satisfactory Answer? However, would they not agree that in such an international meeting one cannot hope to make progress except by means of an international régime of some sort? If so, what sort of régime do the Government envisage?


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord. The view of Her Majesty's Government is that comprehensive problems of this sort can best he tackled by having a wide agenda but confining it to particular régions. That is what we are seeking to do in this case.