§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now place in the Library detailed maps of those parts of the country vulnerable to acid rain pollution from sulphur dioxide emissions from electricity generating stations.
§ Mr. Baldry
I have placed in the Library copies of two reports to my Department by the United Kingdom critical loads advisory group. These include maps of the United Kingdom in respect of soils, and of Scotland in respect of freshwaters, showing "critical loads" for sulphur—the levels of deposition in excess of which damage may be caused to ecosystems—and the places in which those loads are currently exceeded as a result of emissions of sulphur dioxide from all sources, not merely from electricity generating stations. The maps have been produced to inform discussions in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe which are intended to lead to agreement of a new protocol on the abatement of sulphur dioxide emissions. They represent the latest available scientific assessment of the current position, and are not indications of policy. The United Kingdom is already committed, under the EC large combustion plants directive, to secure reductions of 60 per cent. in sulphur dioxide emissions from existing large combustion plant by 2003, compared with 1980 levels.