§ Sir Russell Johnston
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the principle of a 50 per cent, reduction in emissions of heavy metals, phosphorus and nitrogen compounds into the North sea within 10 years.
§ Mr. Moynihan
The Government accept that there is a strong case for reducing to a minimum inputs of the most dangerous substances, including certain heavy metals, to the aquatic environment generally. I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 18 November to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) announcing new proposals to achieve this.
So far as phosphorus and nitrogen compounds are concerned, any ecological problems in the North sea caused by inputs of these nutrient substances appear to be confined to certain localised areas. The Government believe that there is a case for seeking to reduce inputs to these areas. However, these substances are not currently posing problems in United Kingdom coastal waters.
We shall be discussing these matters with Ministers from other North sea states at the second international conference on the North sea in London on 24 and 25 November.