UK concern over rising ozone pollution

Meacher calls for international action as background ozone levels continue to increase

UK environment minister Michael Meacher today called for "action at international level" to tackle the pollutants behind ground-level ozone pollution after a warning that rising background levels could "pose a major problem for vegetation and human health by the middle of this century". Mr Meacher said he would raise the issue with ministerial colleagues at Wednesday's EU environment council meeting.

The minister's comments came in response to an official UK review of acidification, eutrophication and ozone pollution and the main pollutants behind these problems, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and ammonia. The study shows that ozone peaks have declined by 30% since 1986, but confirms reports by other bodies, such as the European environment agency, that background levels are rising (EED 29/10/01).

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