§ Mr. Batiste
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has reached agreement with the automotive air conditioning industry on their use of hydrofluorocarbons. 
§ Mr. Gummer
The Government have today concluded a voluntary agreement with the automotive air conditioning industry on the use of hydrofluorocarbons. This agreement, which takes the form of a declaration of intent by the industry, is the fifth to be concluded on the use of HFCs, and will help us to meet our commitment to reduce HFC emissions in accordance with the UK climate change programme. It also reflects the Government's340W desire to achieve environmental objectives through voluntary action by industry, rather than regulation, wherever possible.
The declaration recognises that, in certain applications, HFCs are important alternatives to ozone-depleting substances. However, HFCs are greenhouse gases, and the declaration, with its industry guidelines, sets out strategies whereby emissions to atmosphere can be minimised. It thus provides a framework for the responsible use of HFCs by the industry as replacements for ozone-depleting substances.
The declaration is welcomed by the Government as a sign that the UK automotive air conditioning industry is contributing to the UK climate change programme.