Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


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

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum of 4 January 2006 which Sub-Committee D (Environment and Agriculture) considered at its meeting on 25 January 2006.

  We note that the UK proposals advocated a five-year time limited derogation on certain applications containing perfluorooctane sulfonates, whereas the Commission's proposals do not specify a time limit. We would like to know whether the UK intends to press for further discussion in this area to ensure the use of derogations in the Directive would be time limited and not open-ended as currently proposed. The Committee decided to clear the document from scrutiny.

26 January 2006

Letter from Lord Bach to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 26 January 2006 in which you informed me that the above Explanatory Memorandum had been cleared from scrutiny by Sub Committee D at its meeting on 25 January 2006. However you requested clarification on a specific point.

  Our Explanatory Memorandum pointed out that the Commission proposal was based on work carried out in the UK and that the UK Government had developed draft proposals for national regulations prior to the publication of the Commission's proposals. Given the persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic nature of these substances I recognise the Committee's concern that the derogations proposed by the Commission in certain uses are open ended rather than time limited. Time limited derogations were a key aspect of the UK proposals for national regulations as the Government believes that time limited derogations would have been the impetus for substitution of PFOS with less hazardous substances. This position on time limited derogations was agreed between Departments when drafting the initial UK proposals and will therefore form the core of our negotiating position when the proposal comes up for discussion in the EU. We are in final negotiations with other Government Departments on the exact length of these derogations given more recent evidence in some areas.

13 February 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Lord Bach

  Thank you for your letter of 13 February 2006 regarding the above proposal which Sub-Committee D (Environment and Agriculture) considered at its meeting on 8 March 2006.

  We note that the Government are seeking for time-limited derogations to apply to the certain permitted uses of perfluorooctane sulfonates envisaged in the proposal. The proposal has already cleared the scrutiny process but we would be grateful if you would keep the Committee informed of the outcome of discussions on the length of the derogation period.

8 March 2006

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