§ Mr. Butler
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is in a position to issue new sulphur emissions allocations under the national plan to large combustion plant in the other industry sector. 
§ Mr. Atkins
The EC large combustion plant directive requires member states to draw up programmes for the progressive reduction of total annual emissions from existing plants of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen with the aim of complying with the ceilings and percentage reductions laid down in the directive. The UK national plan for meeting these commitments was made in 1990. Existing large combustion plant are, under the plan, grouped into three sectors: electricity supply, refineries, and the remaining plant grouped together as "other industry".
In the other industry sector it was expected that the replacement of existing plant with new plant would over time lead to a reduction in the sector allocations for permitted levels of SO2 emissions. This reduction has taken place more slowly than anticipated. As a result, forward allocations for 1996 exceeded the sector total in the national plan. Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, which has responsibility for allocating the sector total between sites, therefore consulted last year on a revised method of allocation. Following that consultation, Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution has today issued revised allocations to sites in England and Wales for 1996, 1997 and 1998.
The existing national plan is likely to be superseded in due course by a wider national strategy aimed at delivering the UK's commitment under the second United Nations Economic Commission for Europe sulphur protocol. The targets under the protocol for an 80 per cent. reduction over 1980 levels in SO2 emissions from all sources by 2010 are likely to require some reduction in the existing national plan targets for total emissions in 1999 and subsequent years. We hope to consult later in the year on proposals for the new national strategy.