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Sellafield

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the current estimated annual capacity is of the Sellafield MOX plant; what proportion of this capacity is currently contracted for; and what proportion of these contracts is (a) Japanese and (b) European. [146305]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 25 January 2001]: These are commercially confidential matters.

Coal Consumption

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the UK (a) consumption of coal and (b) extra tonnes of carbon dioxide burned between August and October was in (i) 1999 and (ii) 2000. [147815]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 29 January 2001]: DTI provisional estimates of extra tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions arising from coal consumption between August and October in 1999 and in 2000 are:

19992000
Coal consumed (million tonnes)13.014.5
Carbon dioxide emissions arising from coal consumption (million tonnes of carbon)8.39.3

It is therefore estimated that an extra 1.0 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in terms of carbon attributable to coal consumption were emitted between these periods due to an increase of about 3 million tonnes in the amount of coal consumed in the UK in 2000 compared with 1999.

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Employment Tribunals (Scotland)

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which Minister has responsibility for the procedure for appointment of chairmen of employment tribunals in Scotland. [147475]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 26 January 2001]: The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 1993 make provision for the appointment of Chairmen by the Lord President of the Court of Session.

Ministerial responsibility for these rules rests with myself as the Minister for Competitiveness.

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Departmental Policies (Slough)

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Slough constituency, the effects on Slough of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [146930]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Slough constituency has benefited from a range of Government initiatives since 2 May 1997 including:

Capital allocations for housing

Year£ million
1998-991.140
1999-20001.536
2000-014.634
2001-02(19)6.435

(19) Includes £4.713 million major repairs allowance


The capital allocations for housing were made following assessments under the housing investment programme. Slough borough council was assessed as being "above average" in comparison with other south-east local authorities in the 2001-02 housing investment programme. Similarly, in 2000-01 the council was assessed as "above average", and in 1999-2000 and 1998-99 as "well above average".






30 Jan 2001 : Column: 123W





Local Transport Plans

£ million
1998-990.2615
1999-20000.863
2000-010.884
2001-021.312


Eurostar

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received on Eurostar train services from York directly to Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt; and if he will make a statement. [147081]

Mr. Hill: There has been considerable interest in Eurostar services to the regions but I am not aware that we have received any representations in the last three years referring specifically to the running of Regional Eurostar trains services to York other than from the hon. Member for the Vale of York (Miss McIntosh).

The Channel Tunnel Act 1987 placed a duty on the British Railways Board to prepare and publish a plan for the provision of regional Eurostars. Their original plan was published in 1989 and they have just published a revised plan based on a review. This concludes that regional Eurostar services would be heavily loss making and that there are no economic, environmental or social grounds for providing a subsidy. Copies of their report are available on their website at www.brb.gov.uk. In future the Strategic Rail Authority will have a duty to provide a plan for passenger services through the Channel tunnel.

South West Water

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent communications he has received from Torbay council regarding South West Water's compulsory purchase order of land at Ilsham Valley, Torquay. [147407]

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Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Torbay council has written to my Department as a consequence of being served with notice by South West Water of the making of this compulsory purchase order. The council's letter did not object to the order but raised a number of detailed points about the various parcels of land subject to the order.

Waste Disposal

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance he has issued about the preferred temperature at which municipal solid waste incinerators are recommended to burn to minimise the harm associated with emissions from such incinerators; and if he will make a statement. [147508]

Mr. Meacher: The following guidance has been issued:

Local Authorities

Processes authorised by Local Authority Environmental Health Departments are regulated by reference to Secretary of State's Process Guidance Note PG 5/4(95) entitled "General Waste Incineration Processes under 1 tonne per hour". It requires that combustion gases shall be maintained at a temperature of 850o C in the presence of 6 per cent. oxygen, for a period of two seconds after the last injection of combustion air

The Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has issued a Technical Guidance Note (S2 5.01) for municipal solid waste incinerators regulated under Part A of the Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes and Substances) Regulations 1991/SI No. 472. This guidance summarises the statutory requirements of the EU directives on municipal waste incineration and the techniques available for incineration. It requires that combustion gases shall be maintained at a temperature of 850o C in the presence of 6 per cent. oxygen, for a period of two seconds after the last injection of combustion air.

It should be noted that these recommendations are linked also to the residence time of exhaust gases within the secondary combustion zone and sufficient turbulence to circulate the gases.

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) under what powers a county council can take a decision about a major waste disposal development before it has completed its public consultation on its overall plan for disposing of waste; [147502]

    (2) what guidance he has given to local planning authorities about the extent of consultation a local planning authority is required to undertake in considering the development of municipal solid waste incinerators; and if he will make a statement. [147503]

Mr. Raynsford: Section 54A of the Town and County Planning Act 1990 requires a local planning authority to determine planning applications in accordance with the adopted development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Material considerations can include national and regional planning policy guidance and policies in emerging development plans.

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The Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 sets out the requirements placed on local planning authorities to consult on planning applications, although the extent of the consultation will depend on the particular circumstances of each case. Guidance on the publicity to be given to planning applications is contained in the Department's Circular 15/92, "Publicity for Planning Applications". This advises that major developments must be publicised through newspaper advertisement and either site notices or neighbour notification. General guidance for waste planning authorities on the consideration of proposals for waste management facilities, including incinerators, is set out in the Department's Planning Policy Guidance Note 10 [PPG10], "Planning and Waste Management".

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment Worcestershire county council is required to carry out before reaching a decision on the development of a municipal solid waste incinerator. [147504]

Mr. Meacher: A planning application will need to be considered on its merits in the light of all material considerations. The principal guidance for planning applications of this kind is contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note 10: Planning and Waste Management (September 1999). Another important consideration is the requirements relating to environmental statements as set out in The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999.

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the research carried out concerning the incidence near municipal solid waste incinerators of soft-tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma clusters, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in July 2000; and if he will make a statement. [147511]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

The paper by Viel and colleagues examined the spatial distribution of some types of cancer around a French municipal solid waste incinerator from 1980-95. For parts of that period, more soft-tissue sarcomas and non- Hodgkin's lymphomas than expected were found in areas close to the incinerator. The emissions from the incinerator were known to contain far higher concentrations of dioxins, dust and hydrogen chloride than are permitted now, and in 1998 the incinerator was therefore partly closed and partly upgraded. The authors advised that:


    caution should be exercised before [these cancer] clusters . . . are ascribed to dioxin released by the . . . incinerator.

In May 1998, the expert advisory Committee on the Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment concluded that:


    there are insufficient epidemiological and toxicological data on TCDD [regarded as the most potent dioxin] to conclude a causal link with cancer in humans, but it would be prudent to consider TCDD as a "probable weak human carcinogen".

The Committee's statement "2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo- p-dioxin. Consideration of 1997 IARC monograph" COC/99/S1 may be found on the internet at www.doh.gov.uk/ coc.htm.

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The Committee is commencing a review of the implications of the more recent scientific literature on dioxins, including the Viel study, at its meeting in March.

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the research carried out concerning the reported incidence near municipal solid waste incinerators in Great Britain of cancer cases, published in the British Journal of Cancer in March 1996; and if he will make a statement. [147510]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

This Government-funded study, undertaken by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit, found a small excess of primary liver cancer near the older generation of municipal solid waste incinerators. The expert advisory Committee on the Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment considered this and follow-up studies and concluded in March 2000 that any potential risk of cancer due to residency near to municipal solid waste incinerators was exceedingly low and probably not measurable by the most modern epidemiological techniques. The Committee agreed that, at the present time, there was no need for any further epidemiological investigations of cancer incidence near municipal solid waste incinerators. The Committee's statement "Cancer incidence near municipal solid waste incinerators in Great Britain" COC/00/S1 may be found on the internet at www.doh.gov.uk/coc.htm.


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