§ Mr. Sackville
asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the United Kingdom's record on acid rain.
§ The Prime Minister
The relationship between emissions from power stations and other combustion plants and environmental damage attributed to acid rain is uncertain. Scientific evidence now suggests that vehicle emissions and ozone play an important part in the process leading to forest damage.
The Government therefore believe that it is important to develop a better understanding of the scientific basis of what is more correctly termed acid deposition so that cost-effective action can be taken to prevent damage to the environment. For this reason, the CEGB and the NCB have funded a major international study under the auspices of the Royal Society, in collaboration with equivalent learned societies in Norway and Sweden, costing £5 million over five years.
Even as this research continues, the trend of emissions is strongly down in the United Kingdom. Since 1970 there 405W has been a 34 per cent. reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions, and whereas in 1950 25 per cent. of such emissions in Europe* came from the United Kingdom, now the figure is 11 per cent. I therefore do not accept criticism which singles out the United Kingdom for blame.* Excludes USSR.