HL Deb 14 June 1988 vol 498 cc259-60WA
Lord Gainford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they expect to receive the second report of the Stratospheric Ozone Review Group: and if they will make a statement.

The Earl of Caithness

We expect the report to be ready for publication by August but, in view of widespread interest in protecting the ozone layer, the group has agreed to release its executive summary in advance. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.

The group, set up in 1985 by the Department of the Environment and the Meteorological Office, concludes that, since its first report in August 1987, firm evidence has emerged of significant depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer as a result of man's activities, It says it is now virtually certain that the so-called Antarctic hole is caused by chlorofluorocarbons, which are also implicated in ozone depletion over other parts of the globe, including the UK. The group gives clear warning that unless emissions are greatly reduced, and possibly phased out, more severe depletion of stratospheric ozone is likely to occur.

The Government will be studying the report carefully as soon as it is available but we are already taking very careful note of this summary, and in particular its warning about the need to strengthen the provisions of the Montreal Protocol. I shall bring this to the attention of my fellow Environment Ministers at the meeting of the Council on 16th June. Our first priority however, shared with our partners in the European Community, remains that of ensuring that the protocol enters into force on 1st January 1989, as planned, and with the widest possible participation. This will allow the protocol's own review procedures to be put into effect.