|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Since 1975 we have been sponsoring research on the use of bacteria to treat difficult wastes, using their natural genetic changes. We are monitoring closely current developments in genetic manipulation.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department is participating in the international conference on environmental regulation in the European Community held in London on 19 and 20 October.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department had any representation at the conference on raising standards in wastes management : future costs and benefits, held at Lancaster university on 21 September ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department was represented at the fifth European summer school on radioactive waste management, held on 17 to 20 July, at Christ's college, Cambridge.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what departmental representation there was at the fifth assembly of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics held at Reading university in July and August ; and if he will make a statement on the outcome of the assembly in regard to United Kingdom policies on the greenhouse effect.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I addressed the conference during the opening ceremony and a scientist from the Department attended on the first day. The discussions at the conference highlighted the need for further research on the greenhouse effect. The Government are already committed to over £10 million of such research in this financial year and are planning a continuing programme of projects.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what import and disposal authorisation had been granted for the cargoes of PCB wastes sent from Canada in August on the ships Khudozhnik Saryan and the Madezha Obukhoba to the ports of Tilbury and Liverpool.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Imports of hazardous wastes into this country are governed by the Transfrontier Shipment of Hazardous Waste Regulations 1988. These require the waste disposal authority responsible for the facility receiving the waste to give its approval. A copy of the completed consignment note must be sent to the Secretary of State. These do not identify the ship on which any particular consignment is to be carried, but we have no reason to think that these two shipments were not properly notified. Disposal of wastes is governed by the licensing of facilities by the waste disposal authority under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what volumes of toxic, hazardous or special wastes have been exported from the United Kingdom in each year since 1979 for treatment and disposal abroad ; and to which countries the waste was sent.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Firm information has been available only since the implementation in October 1988 of the Transfrontier Shipment of Hazardous Waste Regulations 1988. These require, inter alia, that before any consignment of hazardous waste is transported to or from this country, the holder of the waste sends a copy of the completed consignment note to the Secretary of State. The Department has received no consignment notes for exports to date.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution has no knowledge of any waste being exported before the implementation of the Transfrontier Regulations in 1988.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Government have no plans to change the status of national nature reserves. The Nature Conservancy Council is considering how future policy for national nature reserves can continue to be developed in the light of both the council's preliminary report which was published in May this year, and of the Government's proposals to reorganise the Nature Conservancy Council which were announced in July.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Government will continue to ensure that the Nature Conservancy Council receives adequate funding to enable its agreed objectives and programmes for conservation work to be met. The Government have secured an increase in real terms of over 150 per cent. in the Nature Conservancy Council's grant since 1979.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what system of checks and inspections is used by the Commission of the European Economic Community in respect of compliance with directives concerning the quality of domestic water supplies ; what information is supplied to it by member states on their water undertakings ; and what comprehensive publication of performance is published by the Commission.
Mr. Howard : No inspections at first hand are carried out by the Commission to ensure that member states are complying with the drinking water directive. In the United Kingdom the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations
Column 116made under the Water Act 1989 incorporate the provisions of the directive into national law and set out sampling requirements, the results of which will be made available to the public and to local authorities.
The Commission depends upon information submitted by member states themselves and also investigates complaints on alleged breaches of the directive made by members of the public. We have no knowledge as to information supplied by other member states, but the United Kingdom has always co-operated fully with the Commission. We have recently submitted an overview of the United Kingdom's national programme costing £1.4 billion over the next five years. I am not aware of any comprehensive publication of performance published by the Commission.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state those provisions of legislation which aspire to future responsibility for control and destruction of vermin in sewers owned by the new water plcs.
Mr. Howard : Under section 67 of the Water Act 1989, the water service companies which have succeeded the water authorities have a general duty to cleanse and maintain their sewers. However, the primary responsibility for controlling vermin continues to rest with local authorities, which have a duty under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 to keep their areas free of rats and mice as far as practicable.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the planning inquiry into the east London river crossing bridge section to be reopened ; what consideration may be given in the inquiry into alternative designs of bridge or reversion to the original, or other, tunnel proposals ; and if he will make a statement concerning this adjourned inquiry.