§ Lord Melchett
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they can confirm that the "blocking minority" referred to by the Earl of Caithness (col. 589; 20th June 1988) as preventing progress on the second stage of exhaust emission standards for small cars in the European Community was in fact holding out for higher environmental standards to be applied to small cars than those being supported by the United Kingdom Government.
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (The Earl of Caithness)
The standards for which the "blocking minority" were holding out would have effectively terminated development of the lean-burn engine, would have offered relatively372WA modest further improvements to the environment at great additional cost, and would have imposed greater costs on the owners of small cars than those of medium-sized ones, contrary to the spirit of the overall agreement on exhaust emissions. The lean-burn engine offers substantial environmental benefits because it is intrinsically clean rather than relying on elaborate control systems to reduce emissions and because it is economic in the use of fuel.