HL Deb 20 March 1997 vol 579 cc106-7WA
Lord Reay

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will publish the United Kingdom Action Plan for the phasing out and destruction of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and dangerous PCB substitutes.

Earl Ferrers

My right honourable friend the Minister for Construction, Planning and Energy Efficiency is publishing today the Action Plan which forms part of our strategy for fulfilling the commitment, which was made by the United Kingdom at the Third North Sea Conference at The Hague in 1990, to phase out and destroy identifiable PCBs. It is also the first step towards meeting the requirements of EC Directive 96/59/EC, which will be implemented by regulations in due course.

It has long been recognised that PCBs pose an environmental threat, particularly to marine life. That is why, in 1986, we banned their sale and most uses. There are many organisations, including factories, offices, schools and hospitals, which may have equipment containing PCBs.

A key element of the action plan is that there should be co-operation between the competent authorities, companies who destroy PCBs and those who may have equipment containing them. Our proposals are designed to ensure an orderly phase-out and the most effective use of destruction capacity, in the interests of industry and the environment.

A copy of the action plan has been sent to all local authorities, education authorities, health authorities and universities throughout the United Kingdom as well as the relevant trade associations. Copies of the action plan have also been placed in the Library of the House.