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Compliance Study: United Kingdom

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Environment - Score: +1

"We commit ourselves to strong action and anticipate in 1997 a successful outcome of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention."

The UK is ahead of target for compliance with the international treaty on climate change. The UK's CO2 emissions are forecast to be 4-8% below 1990 level by the year 2000, methane 22% below, and nitrous oxide 62% below 1990 levels by the year 2000.

The UK in its November 1996 budget announced numerous measures to encourage better environmental practices. Such measures included:

A 1 pence per litre tax advantage for ultra-low sulphur diesel; duties on road fuel gas will be reduced by 25% to encourage conversion to cleaner fuels; energy efficiency programs will get an extra #20 million pounds over the next three years; and land and buildings used for Habitat Schemes will get relief from inheritance tax in the same way as those used for farming.

An Environmental Protection Research Program was announced in January of this year with the allocation of #28. 877 million pounds with the objective of providing larger amounts of more accurate environmental information and statistics for use in policy determination and implementation in such areas as Chemicals and Biotechnology, Waste Management, Air And Environment Quality, Noise, Water Management, and Radioactive Substances. An additional #3.4 million pounds have been distributed to local voluntary organizations to projects that demonstrate a clear environmental advantage.

The UK is active overseas as well with its embassies and missions regularly reporting on environmental problems and policies in their host nations, as well as having a clear mandate to lobby for compliance with such treaties as the Montreal Protocol or helping negotiate treaties for sustainable fishing levels. Since the Rio Summit the UK has granted a total of #600 million pounds to various bilateral environmental projects.

In January of this year the draft Producer Responsibility Obligations Regulations was put before the House of Commons. It outlined a legal obligation for business to recycle or recover waste packaging to reduce waste volumes and encourage recycling schemes and the market for recycled materials. The legislation came into force in March of this year.

An additional #3.4 million pounds was added to the Darwin Initiative. An initiative begun following the Rio Summit, the project assists countries rich in biodiversity but poor in resources to protect their environment. These additional funds helped to begin 32 new projects brining the total number of projects under the initiative to 116, for a total of #15 million pounds of spending. Collaborative links have been made with a total of 60 countries throughout Africa, South America, and South-East Asia.

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