§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the use of economic instruments as a means of promoting higher environmental standards. 
§ Angela Eagle
The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions recently set out his attitude to economic instruments in his speech at the conference on Earth Summit II.
He said:Whatever the environmental concern, we must find the best way to deal with it, and ensure that the polluter bears the cost of measures required. A regulatory approach is often the right one, to ensure consistent standards of environmental protection. Voluntary agreements can also work well in the right circumstances. And economic instruments also have a role, which is why our Manifesto highlighted the use of taxes to discourage pollution.Tax is not a popular word. But environmental taxes can encourage industry to find cost effective, innovative ways of reducing pollution. They can be particularly attractive if they provide revenue which may be used to reduce other taxes, or recycled in other ways. This is not to say they are always appropriate - for example if they would have unacceptable social and distributional effects. What we must do is to consider how to achieve the best package of measures to meet our environmental objectives.