HL Deb 23 July 1987 vol 488 cc1561-2WA
Baroness Macleod of Borve

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make a statement on the outcome of the Environment Council on 21st July.

Lord Belstead

I represented the United Kingdom at this meeting.

I am pleased to report that the Council reached a common position by a qualified majority on two draft directives on vehicle emissions: emissions from cars, known as the "Luxembourg package", and gaseous emissions from heavy vehicles. In accordance with the new co-operation procedure introduced by the Single European Act, the draft directives will now be referred to the European Parliament for their opinion. I voiced the United Kingdom's concern that the use of Article 100A as the legal base for these two measures should not prejudice the use of Article 130S in the new environment chapter of the EC treaty as the legal base for measures whose predominant objective is the protection and improvement of the environment. This view was supported by all member states and the Commission.

One element of the "Luxembourg package" is that it enables member states to specify dates by which new cars must be able to run on unleaded petrol. Once the directive is adopted, we shall apply such requirements in the UK at the earliest possible date. The Council also adopted under Article 130S a directive permitting member states to ban the sale of leaded regular petrol.

Provisional agreement was reached by a majority of member states, including the UK, on a compromise package for particulate standards for diesel cars. Limits will be introduced in two stages, with tighter limits applying initially only to new engine types.

On chlorofluorocarbons, the Council took note of a report by the Commission on progress towards a protocol to the Ozone Layer Convention. Particular tribute was paid to the co-operation between the Commission and the three member states (UK, Belgium and Denmark) which have held the Presidency during the negotiations. Considerable optimism was expressed that outstanding points of difference would be resolved at the Diplomatic Conference to be held in Montreal in September.