§ Mr. Mackinlay
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Government will ratify the Aarhus Convention on the Environment. 
§ Mr. Meacher
The UK is committed to ratifying the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the "Aarhus Convention") as soon as possible. The Explanatory Memorandum for the Convention (Cm 4736) outlines the steps that need to be taken before this can be done. We anticipate that we will be in a position to ratify the Convention by summer 2001. However, the exact timing will depend on the legislative programmes of the devolved administrations.