HC Deb 12 April 2002 vol 383 cc652-3W
Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps her Department has taken to promote the implementation of Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration; [46563]

(2) if she will make a statement on action taken by her Department with regards to (a) the Aarhus Convention and (b) the ECE Sofia Guidelines on Access to Environmental Information and Public Participation in Environmental decision-making. [46564]

Mr. Meacher

Whilst not formally revoked, the ECE Sofia Guidelines are effectively superseded by the Aarhus Convention. The Aarhus Convention is the primary vehicle for the promotion of Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration. The Government strongly support this Convention and signed the treaty when it opened for signature in 1998.

The majority of the Convention is already implemented in the UK. This Department is responsible for some of the necessary legislative amendments, in particular to the Environmental Information Regulations 1992. These will be made as soon as possible after the EU draft Directive on Public Access to Environmental Information is adopted to replace Directive 90/313/EEC. The Government intend to ratify the Convention as soon as all of the necessary legal provisions are in place. This date will depend on the legislative timetables of the devolved administrations.