Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from Lord Bach, Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Chairman

  I am writing to inform you of an issue which is to come before the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 25 April 2006 as an A item (no discussion). This concerns an uncontroversial Council Decision concerning a Proposal, on behalf of the European Community and the Member States, for amendments to Annexes A-C of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

  An Explanatory Memorandum was prepared and submitted on 18 April 2006 but unfortunately it was not possible to obtain scrutiny clearance from the Lords European Select Committee ahead of the meeting.

  The Proposal will nominate pentachlorobenzene, octabromodiphenyl ether and short-chained chlorinated paraffin chemicals for international controls under the Stockholm Convention. Previous risk assessments of these chemicals have shown them to exhibit characteristics of persistent organic pollutants and the production, placing on the market and use of these substances has already ceased or has been severely restricted in the Community.

  Scrutiny clearance has previously been agreed for a Council Decision to nominate these substances for addition to the relevant annexes of the 1979 UNECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The additional nomination of these substances to the Stockholm Convention will have no impact in the UK.

  It is unfortunate that scrutiny could not be completed in time for Council but I wish to inform your Committee of the Government's intention to proceed and to support the Council Decision in order to seek international controls on the production, use and disposal of these hazardous substances.

21 April 2006

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