§ Lord Melchett
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they accept that one million hectares of forest in Central Europe and thousands of lakes in Sweden and Norway have been damaged by acid rain, and whether they accept that sulphur emissions from the United Kingdom have been partly responsible for this damage.
§ The Earl of Avon
It was agreed by the Expert Group at the recent Stockholm Conference on Acidification c) the Environment that the reported damage to forests in Central Europe is probably due not to acid rain but to lengthy exposure to high concentrations of pollution resulting from local emissions and perhaps to other local factors. The contribution from United Kingdom emissions is not easily quantified but is certainly a minor factor.
The connection between sulphur emissions and the acidification of freshwaters in certain sensitive areas of the world such as southern Scandinavia is not fully understood and further research is needed before categorical statements can be made. It seems likely, however, that these emissions play a part and, in that event, those from the United Kingdom may have contributed in a small measure to the changes observed in some lakes in Sweden and Norway.