HC Deb 19 March 1985 vol 75 c422W
Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy regarding the European Commission's recent proposals for vehicle exhaust emission control.

Mr. Waldegrave

The Government are keen to see vehicle emissions reduced as far as possible, having due regard for costs, and we are taking a positive approach in Community negotiations.

Alternative technologies, including the lean-burn engine, now being developed promise far greater fuel efficiency and robustness than the three-way catalyst technology used in the USA and favoured by some in Europe. These alternative technologies give almost the same reductions in emissions on a new car at less than half the cost of the three-way catalyst; over the whole life of a car they offer the prospect of better reductions, together with improved economy. Because of these implications for Community resources, the Government consider that new limit values should both afford significant environmental improvements and also enable the development of the alternative technologies to continue. The Council of Environment Ministers considered this issue on 7 March, and will return to it on 20 March, when I very much hope that it will be possible to reach agreement.