Letter: Alarming or alarmist? The statistics of ozone depletion

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your report 'Ozone layer over Britain shrinks' (23 April) is another painful reminder that EC policy must be based on environmental needs and not on the profit margins of chemical companies.

The EC has put forward a regulation on ozone destroyers, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and methyl bromides that is weak and riddled with loopholes because of the narrow self-interest of the chemical industry. It is of particular concern that the French government is blocking all progressive proposals to EC ozone policy. The French state- owned company Atochem is Europe's largest producer of HCFCs and methyl bromide.

Meanwhile the UK takes a laissez faire approach that does little to prevent France from dragging Europe deeper into further ozone disaster.

Why has Austria banned CFCs and HCFCs in aerosols, whereas CFCs are not even banned in the United Kingdom? Why are ozone- friendly propane fridges being mass- produced in Germany, yet unavailable in the UK? The lost opportunities for the ozone-safe industries are immense and must be added to the rising environmental costs of ozone destruction.

There is much talk from politicians about the future of Europe - but an intact ozone layer does not feature in it. The corridors of power in Europe are awash with chemical company lobbyists. Only when this block is removed will we see a healing of Europe's tattered ozone layer and a coherent ozone protection policy for European citizens.

Yours sincerely,

CORIN MILLAIS

Ozone Campaigner

Greenpeace

London, N1

23 April

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