§ Mr. Meale
The Montreal Protocol allows chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to continue to be produced for use in the manufacture of metered dose inhalers (MDIs). This essential use exemption will continue to be provided only until an adequate range of non CFC alternatives is on the market, which in the European Union is likely to occur within the next two to five years.
The Montreal Protocol also required Parties to prepare a national or regional strategy by 31 January 1999, which would ensure a smooth and efficient transition from CFC MDIs to non CFC MDIs whilst protecting the health and safety of patients.
As the European Community is a Party to the Protocol, the European Commission prepared an EU wide transition strategy in consultation with member states, which was published by the Commission at the end of October 1998. The EU strategy sets out the criteria which will be used to determine when the essential use criteria for MDIs will be withdrawn in the EU. A number of non CFC MDIs are now available in the UK, and we anticipate that it should be possible to complete the transition for most types of MDI in the next three years.
To complement the EU strategy, my Department is currently consulting stakeholders and interested parties on a draft UK strategy which will manage the transition 7W process within the UK. The consultation ends on 31 May 1999 and we aim to publish the final strategy later in the year.
§ Mr. Meale
Based on data supplied by the European Commission, my Department estimates that the volume of chlorofluorocarbons used by manufacturers of metered dose inhalers in the United Kingdom was 2,208 tonnes in 1997 and 2,109 tonnes in 1998. About 40 per cent. of these metered dose inhalers will be used in the United Kingdom, the remainder being exported to other European Union countries and elsewhere. It is assumed that all the chlorofluorocarbons used in the manufacture of metered dose inhalers will eventually be emitted to atmosphere.