§ Norman Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what position she will be taking at this month's EU Environment Council in respect of(a) medium and long-term greenhouse gas reductions and (b) the EU Chemicals Directive. 
§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 8 March 2004]: The UK successfully pressed for language in the Environment Council Conclusions that established a process under which the EU will develop strategies for further action to tackle climate change post-2012 including medium-and long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets. This will kick-start the process of establishing our position in advance of the international negotiations on future action, which are due to start next year.
Regarding the new EU chemicals strategy (REACH), the Presidency invited the Council to consider its progress report on the work done so far by the ad hoc working group, and in particular the need for further work to be carried out to understand the full impact of the proposed Regulation. There was no substantive debate on the issue. We believe that it is essential that the Environment Council has the opportunity to be fully involved in decisions on REACH and we welcome the formation of the ad hoc working group as a way for both economic and environment ministry expertise to contribute to the discussions. The efforts made by the Presidency to take forward such a complex dossier are to be welcomed.