HC Deb 04 April 1989 vol 150 c152W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the policy implications of the loss of the lindane container in the Channel.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Lindane is a pesticide with wood preservative and agricultural uses. As such it is subject to control as a pesticide under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. It has been identified among the group of substances known as organochlorines which are considered most hazardous to the aquatic environment in view of their toxicity, persistence and capacity for bio-accumulation. Lindane is included in the provisional priority list of dangerous substances (the Red List) whose release to United Kingdom coastal and inland waters should be minimised and which will be the subject of new and tighter controls.

A major accidental discharge of the substance would be of serious environmental concern. There are national and international requirements for the loss or likely loss of this substance to be reported without delay by the fastest telecommunication channels available and with the highest possible priority to the nearest coastal state. If a marine accident occurs which threatens United Kingdom interests, the responsibility for combating a potential pollution hazard at sea rests with the marine pollution control unit of the Department of Transport, which takes account of advice from the fisheries Departments and others concerned with protection of the marine environment.