§ Lord Mottistone
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What was the outcome of the Environment Council on 4th October and what happened at the meeting between the Secretary of State for the Environment and representatives of central and eastern European states on 5th October.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Environment (Viscount Ullswater)
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment represented the United Kingdom at the Environment Council in Luxembourg on 4th October.
The council called on the Commission to take forward work on eco-labelling urgently and to bring forward measures to protect groundwater. In the discussion on the disposal of PCBs/PCTs, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State offered help to small member states, such as Portugal, without sufficient destruction capacity of their own and there was agreement on a split phase out date of 2000 for North Sea states and 2005 or 2010 for other member states. Debates were held on climate change and transport and the environment. Discussion of both the draft biocides directive and proposals to amend the wildlife trade regulation (CITES) showed the need for further work at official level. There was an inconclusive debate on an unsatisfactory presidency text on the draft directive for integrated pollution prevention and control.
The meeting on 5th October marked the start of structured dialogue with six central and eastern European states (CEEs). Those present were Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. There was a useful exchange of views on a wide range of topics including preparations for the next Environment Ministers' Conference in Sofia, Climate Change, and Transport and the Environment.