HC Deb 10 July 2000 vol 353 cc395-6W
Mr. Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the matters discussed and decided upon at the OSPAR meeting on Control of Marine Pollution in the North East Atlantic, held in Copenhagen on 26 to 30 June; and if he will place in the Library a report of the meeting. [128861]

Mr. Meacher

[holding answer 3 July 2000]: At its annual meeting in Copenhagen last week, the OSPAR Commission adopted, by consensus, a programme for more detailed work on the implementation of the OSPAR Commission's strategy on radioactive substances. This provides for the adoption of national plans, the submission of detailed forecasts of how the elimination or reduction of radioactive substances from both nuclear and non-nuclear sources will be achieved, in order to meet the OSPAR 2020 goal on radioactive discharges, emissions and losses, and to enable the Commission to develop a collective oversight of progress towards this goal.

The OSPAR Commission finalised a first and essential step in the implementation of its long-term strategy on hazardous substances. As a result, twelve new hazardous substances were added to the OSPAR List of Chemicals for priority action.

The Commission also adopted several measures to control chemicals from both offshore and land-based sources, including the setting of a new international standard for the regulation of the use and discharge of offshore chemicals and drilling fluids.

Under the strategy to combat eutrophication, the OSPAR Commission agreed which areas of the North East Atlantic do not present eutrophication problems, adopted on a trial basis guidelines for evaluating nutrient inputs to the sea, and put in hand work on comprehensive assessments of the areas where there are, or may be, eutrophication problems.

The Commission adopted and launched the Quality Status Report on the whole of the North East Atlantic, the "QSR 2000". This report, together with reports covering the five regions of the OSPAR maritime area, is the first review of the health of the North East Atlantic in such detail.

The OSPAR Commission also finished reviewing its working methods and established a new organisational structure, to keep the effective implementation of its five long-term strategies and the effective follow-up to the QSR 2000.

Twelve OSPAR states adopted a decision requiring a review of nuclear processing in preventing accidental pollution. Although the UK drew attention to its recently published draft national discharge strategy, all the OSPAR states except France supported the decision, and the UK and France abstained.

I am arranging for copies of the Summary Record of the Commission's meeting to be placed in the Library when it becomes available.

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