§ Ms Ruddock
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the Government's policy in respect of a global ban on persistent organic pollutants. 72W
§ Mr. Clappison
The United Kingdom has played a major role in developing a proposed protocol on persistent organic pollutants under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe convention on long range transboundary air pollution. Furthermore, the Government support the United Nations environment programme initiative to build on this work to achieve a global, legally binding treaty and will play an active role.
The development of such protocols, involves the careful identification of potential persistent organic pollutants, their assessment and a consideration of the most appropriate action to take to control the identified risk. This will not always result in a total ban. In some cases, there may be an essential use of a substance which should be preserved, where safer and effective substitutes may not be available. Each substance identified as a persistent organic pollutant will have to be judged on its own merit.