HC Deb 17 June 1994 vol 244 cc671-2W
Sir Kenneth Carlisle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Environment Council on 8 and 9 June.

Mr. Gummer

I represented the United Kingdom at the Environment Council held in Luxembourg on 8 and 9 June. The Council reached a common position on the draft directive on the landfill of waste by a majority vote with Belgium and France voting against. The agreed text is considerably more flexible than the original Commission proposal and is in line with the United Kingdom's position on subsidiarity. It would allow us to continue to operate our waste disposal sites where we mix domestic waste with other wastes, as long as we maintain stringent controls and monitoring.

The Council discussed climate change issues, including the Commission's proposed carbon/energy tax. The Council agreed to renew the mandate of the working group established at the last Environment Council and requested the group to report to the next ECOFIN and Environment Councils. Council conclusions were also agreed on the Commission White Paper on "Growth, Competitiveness and Employment", focusing on the environmental aspects of trans-European networks and an approach to sustainable economic development which respected environmental needs. The Council had a wide-ranging discussion on points arising from the May session of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development and considered various ways to enhance its next session.

A common position was agreed unanimously on the proposed regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer, based on the text which had been agreed politically last December. The Council also agreed the arrangements for the signature by the Community of the sulphur dioxide protocol. The Council noted progress on the proposed directive on integrated pollution control. My proposal for a Council statement condemning the illegal trade in tiger and rhinoceros products was agreed unanimously.