§ Mr. Greg Knight
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the United Kingdom delegation to the Munich air pollution conference made any statements in addition to the opening speech, a copy of which was placed in the Library on 25 June.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
Yes. On the last day of the conference (27 June) I made the following statementThe British delegation would like to give a warm welcome to the conclusions of this Conference. A very considerable part of the international community has shown itself capable of making steady progress on the problem of air pollution. We have not allowed the inevitable differences in the particular situations we face, and which must have some impact on national policies, particularly in the short term, to overshadow the more important fact that we are agreed that further progress must be made.It is this more important area of agreement that I should like to emphasise, so that we do not leave behind us a misleading impression. It was never I fear going to be possible for us all to agree here and now to one single number or date for progress on each main pollutant. Perhaps that has caused a little disappointment but any disappointment should be seen against the very powerful new impetus this Conference has given to the work of the ECE Convention. And in Britain's case we have difficulty with only one thing: immediate adoption, on top of the nearly 20 per cent. reduction made since 1980 in SO2 emissions—of a binding commitment to a 30 per cent. drop in 1993. But we are saying 'yes' to further substantial SO2 reductions; in a reasonable timescale; 'yes' to parallel NOx reductions; 'yes' to a European-wide onslaught, on pollutants from motor car exhausts; 'yes' to further strengthening of scientific work and monitoring within the ECE Convention and in other contexts; and above all `yes' to an international agreement itself. The initiative and commitment of the Federal Republic hacked by the additional hospitality of the Bavarian Government, has made possible the timely affirmation of new commitments by 267W all of us; we will look back on the Munich Conference as an important step forward, perhaps a turning point in our collective endeavours in the field of clear air.