HC Deb 12 April 1989 vol 150 cc575-6W
Mr. Thurnham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received any representations concerning the fitting of catalytic converters to all new vehicles in order to reduce air pollution; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

[holding answer 6 April 1989]: We have received a number of representations on the matter of catalysts to reduce motor vehicle pollution. The so-called Luxembourg package of vehicle exhaust emission standards was adopted by the Council of Ministers in December 1987 and last year we played a major role in the achievement of a common position on tighter standards for small cars. The common position now awaits further consideration by the European Parliament under the co-operation procedure. The directives specify the tightest standards that may be applied by Member states and, subject to confirmation of the common position on small cars, we have decided to apply them all in the United Kingdom. We expect them to result in almost all cars in the United Kingdom requiring catalysts and to lead to a substantial improvement in air quality. It will, however, be possible for cars of less than 2 litres to meet these standards with lean-burn engines coupled with simple and robust oxidation catalysts. Lean-burn engines offer the prospect of significant fuel savings.