HC Deb 24 February 1992 vol 204 cc412-3W
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will seek a meeting of the Montreal protocol signatories to discuss the latest reports about the depletion of the ozone layer; what consideration he has given to an earlier phasing out of CFCs because of their known effect on the layer; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Trippier

[pursuant to his answer, 12 February 1992, c. 504]: I wish to stress that the Government are greatly concerned about the effects of ozone depletion and are committed to phasing out CFCs by the end of 1995 at the latest. Last December, I proposed to the EC Environment Council that the Montreal protocol's phase-out dates be brought forward to the end of 1994 for halons, and the end of 1995 for CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances. I also proposed that the intermediate cut stages should be brought forward to the end of 1993, with an 85 per cent. cut for CFCs and carbon tetrachloride and 50 per cent. cut for halons and methyl chloroform.

Following my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's letter of 14 February to the President of the EC Environment Council, urging the Community to take a stronger line on the early phase-out of CFCs, the European Commission has now proposed the phase-out of all controlled substances by the end of 1995. This issue was discussed at the informal Environment Council in Estoril, Portugal which I attended last weekend. Commissioner Ripa de Meana set out the Commission's proposals, which were generally welcomed by member states. Formal agreement to the proposed new phase-out dates will need to be given at the meeting of the Environment Council in March.

My officials are continuing to review our position with industry.