UK backs off North Sea pledge with PCB action plan

Seven years after agreeing at a North Sea ministerial conference to phase out and destroy all "identifiable" polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by the end of 1999, the Government has finally published an action plan which shows that it is not intending to implement that promise in full.1 A major concession has been made to the electricity industry to allow it to continue operating smaller transformers containing PCBs until the end of their useful lives. The delay in issuing the plan also means that the 1999 deadline may not be met - particularly because cement kilns appear to have been closed off as a disposal route and a stock of PCB substitutes in the telecommunications industry will also have to be destroyed by the end of 1999.

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