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Sulphur Dioxide Emissions: Protocol Ratification

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has today announced that the United Kingdom has ratified the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Second Sulphur Protocol. We are amongst the first handful of countries to do so. Achievement of the emission reduction targets in the protocol will mean even better protection for our sensitive ecosystems, forests, lakes and buildings, as well as benefits for our continental European neighbours. It will also lead to substantial improvements in the quality of the air we breathe, which will be good for asthma sufferers and for everyone who has breathing problems.

The protocol needs ratification by 16 countries to become fully effective. So far, 28 countries have signed it but only five, including now the United Kingdom, have ratified. It is clearly important that all those who have signed the protocol should now ratify it. It is only by concerted action across the whole of Europe that we will deal effectively with the problem of acid rain.

Our commitment is to reducing emissions of sulphur dioxide by 80 per cent. by 2010 compared with 1980 levels. We are publishing today a national strategy setting out how this will be achieved.

The figures for 1995 reveal that emissions from the major sources--power stations, refineries and large industrial boilers and furnaces--have been reduced by 55 per cent. since 1980. This shows that we have already made enormous strides in tackling acid rain.

We have buried the old myth that Britain is the Dirty Man of Europe. It never was true. Our policies on this and on a whole range of environmental matters show how serious is this country's commitment to the environment. We have a record of which we can be rightly proud.

We are pleased to announce also that changes have been made to the National Plan which gives effect in the United Kingdom to the requirements of the European Community Large Combustion Plant Directive. The aim of these changes, which were widely welcomed by those who commented on the consultation proposals in the

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summer, is to ensure that future allocations of emissions quota for both sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen under the National Plan are more closely in line with regulatory consents under Integrated Pollution Control.

Executive Agencies

Baroness Park of Monmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) how many executive agencies have been created between 1992 and 1996 to replace or supplement parts of the core Civil Service; (b) how many such agencies have been privatised; and (c) what has been the cost of each privatisation.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): Ninety-one agencies have been launched between 1st January 1992 and 12th December 1996. However, none of them has replaced or supplemented parts of the Civil Service, as agencies are integral parts of the Civil Service, normally a part of a government department or in some cases a department in its own right.

Of the 91 agencies launched in this period, three have been privatised: DVOIT; the Transport Research Laboratory; and Chessington Computer Centre.

The cost of privatising DVOIT was £1.875 million, that of the Transport Research Laboratory was £1.4 million and that of Chessington Computer Centre was £630,000.

The Next Steps project to improve management in government by establishing executive agencies was launched in 1988. There are currently 129 agencies, with three-quarters of the Civil Service operating under Next Steps arrangements.

Fishery Offences: Prosecutions

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the successful prosecutions for fisheries offences undertaken by them since 1st January 1996 which have resulted in fines of £5,000 or more, including details of the fishing vessels involved, country of registration and offences committed.

Lord Lucas: A list of the successful prosecutions and the details requested are set out in the following table. Where appropriate, the fines relate to the total fines against both the master and owner of the vessel. There are other prosecution cases but these are the subject of an appeal and are therefore not included in the table.

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Month of prosecution Vessel OffenceTotal fines £ Country of registration
JanuaryNORINAFishing logbook10,000UK
LADY T EMIELFishing logbook10,000UK
LE DERBYFishing in six mile limit17,500French
ANTAEUSFishing in six mile limit22,500French
FebruaryCHRISTINAFishing logbook and landing declaration27,500UK
MarchNICOLA ANNEQuota and landing declaration11,000UK
ZEEDUIVELGear and undersize fish offences9,000Belgium
TIJLFishing 12 mile limit7,500Belgium
MARILYN JANEFishing logbook5,500UK
AprilBAFFIN BAYUnlicensed fishing5,000UK
VAN DIJCKFishing logbook5,000Belgium
JulyITXASFishing logbook and undersize fish15,000UK
SOPHIE LOUISEFishing logbook and landing declaration17,000UK
AugustMERCURIUSGear and undersize fish8,000Belgium
FLOURISHFishing logbook11,000UK
OctoberATLANTIC CLicensing and quota30,000UK
NovemberAMARADIATranshipment licence and statutory declaration34,000Cyprus
DecemberALMA CFishing logbook and landing declaration10,000UK

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