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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
|Month of prosecution||Vessel||Offence||Total fines £||Country of registration|
|LADY T EMIEL||Fishing logbook||10,000||UK|
|LE DERBY||Fishing in six mile limit||17,500||French|
|ANTAEUS||Fishing in six mile limit||22,500||French|
|February||CHRISTINA||Fishing logbook and landing declaration||27,500||UK|
|March||NICOLA ANNE||Quota and landing declaration||11,000||UK|
|ZEEDUIVEL||Gear and undersize fish offences||9,000||Belgium|
|TIJL||Fishing 12 mile limit||7,500||Belgium|
|MARILYN JANE||Fishing logbook||5,500||UK|
|April||BAFFIN BAY||Unlicensed fishing||5,000||UK|
|VAN DIJCK||Fishing logbook||5,000||Belgium|
|July||ITXAS||Fishing logbook and undersize fish||15,000||UK|
|SOPHIE LOUISE||Fishing logbook and landing declaration||17,000||UK|
|August||MERCURIUS||Gear and undersize fish||8,000||Belgium|
|October||ATLANTIC C||Licensing and quota||30,000||UK|
|November||AMARADIA||Transhipment licence and statutory declaration||34,000||Cyprus|
|December||ALMA C||Fishing logbook and landing declaration||10,000||UK|
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