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Renewable Energy Projects

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the funding allocated for renewable energy projects for each of the last five years by country. [56928]

Clare Short: Developing renewable energy was part of the former ODA's energy strategy. Renewable energy then featured in the Development White Paper, as it has a clear contribution to make to our sustainable livelihoods and environmental protection objectives.

A table listing the funding allocation for renewable energy projects over the last five years follows. This includes projects funded by Aid and Trade Provision and Joint Funding Scheme. Large scale hydro power (above 1MW) projects are not included in the table, however, as they are not covered by the accepted definition of renewable energy.

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ODA/DFID funding allocated to renewable energy projects

South Africa46,98050,30029,1569,000--135,436
Sri Lanka75,14383,33361,636117,360137,504474,976

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3 Nov 1998 : Column: 451


Genetically Modified Organisms

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions by what methods the Environment Agency record facilities which use genetically modified organisms in industrial processes and which may release these organisms in waste streams; what is the location of the facilities; and what genetically modified substances are produced. [56332]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 October 1998]: The Environment Agency is required by section 64 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to maintain a register of waste management licences which it has issued for the recovery or disposal of waste. The register is open for inspection by members of the public free of charge. The information which must be included on the register is set out in regulation 10 of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. It is not possible separately to identify from the register those facilities which dispose of waste derived from GMOs as opposed to other types of waste.

Under separate legislation, the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 1992 (as amended in 1996 and 1998), all premises which undertake activities with GMOs in containment are notified to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Contained Use Regulations also require that all GMOs which have a potential to cause harm to humans or the environment are inactivated before they are disposed of. There is no explicit requirement to inactivate those GMOs which would not cause harm and which would have limited survival in the environment. However, there is a requirement that physical barriers are in place. It is HSE's experience that users of large scale facilities routinely inactivate all GMOs prior to disposal.

There are 34 large scale facilities notified to HSE, although not all of these are necessarily undertaking large scale work at this time. A list of these will be placed in the Library of the House. Not all of these large scale facilities are for industrial production. Some undertake only research. HSE does not hold the data requested on all large scale activities undertaken. The data that are held are not in an easily retrievable form and where the substance produced is not a live GMO this falls outside of the scope of the Contained Use Regulations. Therefore, I regret that I cannot give a list of the genetically modified substances produced.

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Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what acreage of land used as trial sites for GM crops is currently under cultivation. [57225]

Mr. Meale: There are approximately 717 acres of land currently under cultivation with trials of GM crops in the UK.


Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement in his policy regarding the need for bypasses of villages and small market towns. [56727]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Our policies for management and investment in the trunk road network are set out in A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England. Traffic calming schemes can bring environmental benefits to local communities by reducing speeds and improving safety. But in some cases the volume of traffic passing through a town or village may be such that the only way of improving the environment significantly is to remove traffic by building a bypass.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proposals his Department has to ensure a more efficient processing of PFI projects. [56931]

Mr. Meale: My Department is working with the Treasury Taskforce in implementing the recommendations of the Bates Review for streamlining the Private Finance Initiative.

Regulations have been amended to help facilitate local government PFI schemes and an explanatory note on PFI and Public/Private Partnerships in local government was issued in September. The Department has strengthened its private finance unit, which plays a central co-ordinating and advisory role. We shall continue to liaise with local government representatives and the Public Private Partnerships Programme about procedures for handling applications for revenue support.


Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to amend the building regulations to require the installation

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of sprinklers as a fire precaution in (a) residential accommodation, (b) schools and other education buildings, (c) offices and (d) hospitals. [57184]

Mr. Raynsford: The guidance given in the Approved Document to Part B on how to comply with the Requirements of Part B of the Building Regulations, which deals with fire safety, is currently under review. However, there are no plans to amend the fire safety requirements in Part B of the Building Regulations for the installation of sprinklers on buildings of this type.

Designated Beaches

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the criteria that have to be met before a local authority can apply for a beach to be designated under the European Bathing Directive. [57072]

Mr. Meale: The Bathing Water Directive defines 'bathing water' as running or still fresh water and sea water in which bathing is not prohibited and is traditionally practised by a large number of bathers. The Government also takes into consideration, as evidence that the waters are well used by bathers, the existence of facilities associated with popular bathing areas.

Water Meters

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the privatised water companies currently providing water meters free of charge to customers who wish to transfer to a metered tariff. [57071]

Mr. Meale: According to the Director General of Water Services' "1998-99 report on tariff structure and charges" (a copy of which is in the Library) the following water undertakers in England and Wales provide meters free of charge to their domestic customers where they are installed in the company's preferred location: Anglian Water, Bournemouth and West Hants Water, Bristol Water, Dee Valley Water, Essex and Suffolk Water, Folkestone and Dover Water, Hartlepool Water, Mid-Southern Water, Severn Trent Water, South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Thames Water and Wessex Water.

Radioactive Waste

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he, other Ministers or officials of his Department have had with his Italian counterparts concerning the availability of storage capacity in Italy for reprocessing radioactive wastes to be returned from the United Kingdom. [57093]

Mr. Meale: My Department has no record of any such discussions. I refer my hon. Friend to the Parliamentary Answers given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Energy and Industry on 10 June 1997, Official Report, column 415, and 5 February 1998, Official Report, column 787.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what communications his Department has with the relevant authorities in the countries from which the United Kingdom has imported spent fuel for reprocessing at (a) Sellafield

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and (b) Dounreay, in respect of (i) the provisions to return reprocessing wastes and (ii) the capacity in each country to store returned radioactive waste. [57092]

Mr. Meale: My Department has no specific communications on these issues, with the relevant authorities in the countries concerned.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to respond to the advice on the scope and contents of the core scientific research programme on intermediate level radioactive waste published by the Government's Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee in October. [57100]

Mr. Meale: Government policy on intermediate level radioactive waste, including the nature of the associated scientific research programme, will be considered when informed by the conclusions of the House of Lord's Select Committee on Science and Technology's inquiry into nuclear waste management. The advice of the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee will be taken into account at that time.

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