HC Deb 22 February 1990 vol 167 cc895-6W
Mrs. Ann Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any information on the annual cost of cleaning urban buildings blackened by smoke in the United Kingdom; and what his Department estimates to be the relative contributions to such blackening from the combustion of(a) coal, (b) smokeless fuel, (c) fuel oil, (d) gas oil, (e) motor spirit, (f) derv, and (g) other sources.

Mr. Trippier

[holding answer 19 February 1990]: My Department does not collate information on the specific costs of removing black smoke deposits from urban buildings. However, it is estimated that the total United Kingdom stone-cleaning market is of the order of £75 million.

There are no figures available for the relative contributions of fuel combustion to blackening. However, estimates of the percentage contribution of the combustion of different fuel types to black smoke emissions in the United Kingdom will be published in the next air quality statistical bulletin 90(1) of the digest of environmental protection and water statistics.

The two major sources of black smoke are domestic coal combustion and diesel fuel. Since the introduction of the Clean Air Acts (Great Britain 1956 and 1968, Northern Ireland 1964) emissions of smoke from all sources have fallen by over 85 per cent. The United Kingdom Government have long recognised the need to curb emissions from diesel engines and are pressing the European Commission to produce proposals for an EC directive providing strict standards for emissions, including particulates, from HGVs and buses. In 1988, the EC Environment Council agreed a directive setting tight particulate emission standards for cars.