HC Deb 23 July 1987 vol 120 cc381-2W
Mr. Robert G. Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Environment Council on 21 July.

Mr. Moynihan

My noble Friend, the Minister for Environment, Countryside and Water represented the United Kingdom at this meeting.

My noble Friend was 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 its opinion. My noble Friend 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 EEC treaty 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 in the United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom, on a compromise package for particula standards no 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 (United Kingdom, 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.

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