§ Mr. Tredinnick
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the United Kingdom will participate in the proposed European Environment Agency; whether United Kingdom statistics on environmental damage would be made available to East European countries through such an agency and vice versa; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
Unanimous political agreement was reached at the Environment Council which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State attended in Brussels on 28 November. There is a firm commitment that the United Kingdom will participate in the agency's work.
The EC regulation, endorsed at the Environment Council, makes specific reference to participation of non-EC countries, such as EFTA and the eastern bloc, in the work of the agency. Participation will be based on agreements drawn up between individual third countries and the agency, requiring unanimous agreement by the Council. Such agreements should allow for United Kingdom statistics on environment damage to be made available to east European countries through the agency and vice versa.