HC Deb 22 April 2004 vol 420 cc586-7W
Alan Simpson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what position Her Majesty's Government is taking over current applications to the United Nations for exemptions from the international ban on methyl bromide. [166573]

Mr. Morley

Methyl bromide is an ozone depleting substance and its production and supply are controlled under the Montreal Protocol. Its production is due to be phased out in developed countries after 31 December 2004.

However, in recognition that alternatives for all existing methyl bromide uses may not be a available by 2005 a provision was made under Decision IX/6 of the Montreal Protocol, where critical use exemptions can be requested when there are no technically and economically feasible alternatives. The UK's view is that methyl bromide is being phased out by the Protocol and should not be phased back in by excessive critical uses.

Several Parties to the Protocol, including the UK, submitted applications for critical use exemptions and a package of exemptions was agreed at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol in Montreal (24–26 March 2004) Some further applications, including from the UK, will be due for decision by the Parties at a meeting of the Parties in November.