HL Deb 24 October 1995 vol 566 c112WA
Lord Lyell

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the Environment Council on 6 October 1995.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers)

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment represented the United Kingdom at the Environment Council in Luxembourg held on 6 October.

Common positions were reached on a decision on the exchange of information on air quality and on a directive temporarily deferring the emission standards for certain diesel engines in line with technical progress. On the latter, my right honourable friend secured the deletion of text relating to fiscal incentives. Political agreement was secured on the second phase of the financial instrument for the environment (LIFE) which agreed a budget of 450 mecu over 4 years (1996–1999), to be reviewed in 1997. Political agreement was also achieved on an amendment to the Waste Shipments Regulation. In both cases a common position is expected in December.

There was a policy debate about the proposed amendment to Directive 85/337 on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). My right honourable friend secured some helpful amendments to the proposals and further detailed discussions will now continue in the experts' working group. The Presidency is aiming for a common position in December.

Council Conclusions were agreed on a number of international conferences taking place in the coming months. These include the third Pan-European Conference "Environment for Europe"; the seventh Conference of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol; the second Conference of the Parties to the Biodiversity Convention; and the EuroMediterranean Conference. Agreement was also reached on Council Conclusions deferring the review of the functions of the European Environment Agency for two years.