|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the progress of and prospects for the proposed new junction on the A63 at Melton. 
25 Jul 2000 : Column: 587W
Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to publish proposals for amendments to Part H of the Building Regulations which deals with drainage and solid waste; and if he will make a statement. 
The new document provides guidance on sustainable urban drainage systems in order to satisfy requests for information on sustainable water use, and guidance on solid waste storage to encourage recycling.
As well as addressing a wide range of technical issues, the review of Part H has included the examination of the enabling legislation which sets out how the Building Regulations related to drainage and solid waste should be applied. This should enable all those involved with the provision of drainage for buildings to make better informed decisions on the system of drainage to be used.
Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to publish (a) a consultation draft and (b) a final draft of the proposed safety code for fishing vessels under 12 metres in length. 
Mr. Hill: I will consider shortly the current proposals and the views of the Fishing Industry Safety Group on a new safety regime for under 12 metres fishing vessels. Thereafter we will commence formal consultation in August on proposals to change the existing statutory
25 Jul 2000 : Column: 588W
safety regime, including a draft Code of Practice. Subject to the results of consultation we hope to publish the code by the end of the year.
Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the need for new safety measures for under 12 metre fishing vessels. 
Mr. Hill: Earlier this year, I reviewed the work undertaken by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the fishing industry to develop a new statutory safety regime for under 12 metre fishing vessels based on a code of safe practice. I also reviewed accident and search and rescue information for this sector. I will shortly consider current proposals, together with the views of the Fishing Industry Safety Group.
Mr. David Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of the extraction of minerals other than aggregates. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Part 1 of the London Economics study "The Environmental Costs and Benefits of the Supply of Aggregates", published in 1998, examined how far the estimates of the value of environmental impacts of aggregates could be transferred to the surface extraction of other minerals. It was found that extraction of other surface minerals does not create any specific or additional environmental impacts that were not identified in the case of aggregates. However, the estimates of the value of the costs cannot generally be transferred directly, because the size of the environmental impacts of different types of extractive operations vary, and there may also be specific local factors.
Mr. David Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the constituent elements are of the average environmental cost of £1.80 per tonne associated with the extraction and transport of aggregates quoted in HM Customs & Excise press release Number 5 of 21 March. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Total environmental cost was estimated as at least £380 million tonnes per annum for 208 million tonnes of land-won primary aggregate. Just over half of the total estimated costs relate to local impacts of quarrying. The remainder relates to the non-local impacts of quarrying in National Parks and AONBs, generated by the application of the national survey results to such areas. It was assumed that quarries outside these areas have an impact only on those who live locally.
Mr. David Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research he has commissioned to identify the environmental cost and benefits of the supply of minerals other than aggregates. 
25 Jul 2000 : Column: 589W
16 crushed rock and sand and gravel quarries surveyed in the London Economics report into the supply of aggregates. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The quarries were selected in order to provide a coverage that was representative of all aggregate quarries in Great Britain in terms of source type, scale of output and population density. The methodology used could not generate robust estimates of environmental costs at the level of the individual quarry.
Mr. David Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions for what reason the report he commissioned from London Economics into the supply of aggregates does not include a valuation of benefits. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government fully recognise the importance of aggregates to the economy. While there is a substantial body of information on the value and uses of aggregates, there had not previously been a valuation of the environmental effects of extraction.
The first phase of the research, published in April 1998, identified that the principal potential environmental benefits of aggregates extraction lie in the restoration of former quarries. Restoration could only be considered an externality--a benefit not reflected in the price of aggregates--if the value of the site was better after restoration than before operations began. It was not possible to identify any such sites in the time available. Most quarries are restored to a level in keeping with the surrounding landscape.
More generally, the survey method used assessed the value that respondents placed on the environmental impacts of quarries. This value therefore reflected the balance of perceived environmental benefits and costs of the quarry remaining open for its permitted lifespan.
Mr. David Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if the research he commissioned from London Economics into the supply of aggregates included survey questions designed to value the cost of aggregate supply from areas of outstanding natural beauty. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The research included a national survey to evaluate the costs of quarrying in areas of special environmental value. To elicit such values, respondents were asked about attitudes to quarrying in the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District National Parks. While attitudes to quarrying in other national parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty were not examined directly, the results of the national survey can be used to inform judgments about the values placed on quarrying in such areas. National planning policies for minerals are identical in the national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, reflecting the equivalent value society places on landscape protection in the two types of area.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|