§ Mr. Maclean
The Government have laid regulations before both Houses of Parliament which are due to come into force on 1 November establishing the United Kingdom Ecolabelling Board as a non-departmental public body and giving it responsibility for administering and promoting the EC eco-labelling scheme in the United Kingdom.
The board was set up in an advisory capacity in July under the chair of Dr. Elizabeth Nelson. It has already made a good start in preparing the ground for implementation of the scheme and developing plans for a communications strategy. On 23 October the board and European Commission jointly hosted in the first meeting of competent bodies from EC member states, in London, to discuss issues of common interest.
Unfortunately there have been delays at the Commission in setting in place the necessary administrative arrangements for the scheme. The United Kingdom has played and will continue to play a leading role in the development of the eco-labelling scheme. Through our presidency of the European Community we are pressing the Commission to implement the scheme speedily and asking that other member states show the same commitment to it as we are showing. The board remains hopeful that the first eco-labels will start appearing on goods in the shops in the early part of 1993.
Parliamentary approval of this new expenditure will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the central environmental services vote—class VIII vote 5. Pending the approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £550,000 will be met by repayable advances from the contingencies fund.