§ Mr. Chris Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria are used by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution when assessing the best available technology not entailing excessive cost for the prevention of the release of ozone-destroying substances.
§ Mr. Maclean
HMIP is responsible for authorising releases from those processes prescribed under part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The Act requires an operator of a prescribed process to either prevent releases of prescribed substances or where not practicable, to minimise releases and to render them harmless. In implementing this requirement, a balance must be made between the costs of these techniques against the potential environmental harm, such as possible damage to the ozone layer, resulting from proposed releases. This is the basis of the requirement to use the best available techniques not entailing excessive cost—BATNEEC.
In granting authorisation HM inspectorate of pollution will have regard to the advice provided in the relevant chief inspector's guidance note including the need to use BATNEEC.
One of the most significant industry sectors as far as potential releases of compounds posing a threat to stratospheric ozone levels, most notably some volatile organic compounds, is that covering the production and storage of chemicals.
The first nine guidance notes covering this sector will be published shortly. They will provide detailed guidance on the release of VOCs and in particular will place extremely tight release limits on those substances, covered by the Montreal Protocol which have been identified as posing a threat to ozone levels. Guidance is also given on preventing fugitive releases from all parts of such processes.
On publication, copies of all chief inspector's guidance notes are placed in the House Library.
§ Mr. Chris Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which companies have made applications to362W release ozone-destroying substances under part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990; and how many have been turned down.
§ Mr. Dafis
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made by his Department in utilising the powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to outlaw the release of ozone-destroying chemicals.
§ Mr. Maclean
The Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes and Substances) Regulations 1991 set out the industrial processes and the main substances to be controlled under part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The regulations are enforced by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and local authorities who are required to ensure industry uses best available techniques not entailing excessive cost to prevent, or minimise and render harmless the release of prescribed substances. The substances prescribed for release into the air include oxides of nitrogen, organic compounds and halogens and their compounds, which are ozonede-depleters.
To date HMIP has received just over 500 applications and local authorities some 6,300 in England and Wales. Details of all these applications and authorisations issued as a result are not held centrally.