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Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much of Great Britain's waste has been recycled in each of the last five years. [156348]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Total annual data for GB are not available for each of the five years requested. The latest available data are for 1998 and show an estimate of between 170-210 m. tonnes of waste produced by households, commerce and industry, including construction and demolition in the UK, of which 26 per cent. were recycled. Information on the amount of municipal waste collected and recycled in England and Wales is obtained on an annual basis through the Department's annual Municipal Waste Management Survey. Municipal waste makes up about a sixth of total waste produced. The municipal waste recycling rates for 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 were 7.1, 7.2, 8.0 and 9.7 per cent. respectively. 1999-2000 data are expected to be available in the summer. Waste recycling in Scotland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.


Mr. Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will place in the Library his Department's response to the Environment Agency's consultation document, 'Pathfinder'. [156646]

Mr. Meacher: My Department has not yet responded to the Environment Agency's consultation document "The Business of Learning--Investing in a Sustainable Future", which was developed from the Agency's Pathfinder project. When we do send a response, I will place a copy in the Libraries of the House.

Statutory Instruments

Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many statutory instruments were laid before Parliament by his Department and its predecessors in each year from 1993 to 1998, inclusive. [156521]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The number of statutory instruments laid before Parliament by my Department and its predecessors in each year from 1993 to 1998 was as follows:


Bus Services (Shrewsbury)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many bus services were operated from Shrewsbury (a) in May 1997 and (b) on the most recent date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [156508]

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Mr. Hill: The information is as follows:

The increase in journeys from Shrewsbury to other destinations amounts to 47 per week and are in the main rural services. Some of this increase may be as a result of the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant which was introduced in 1998-99 and has provided over 1,800 new and enhanced services in rural England and 58 in Shropshire in 1999-2000. The allocation for 2001-02 has already been announced and will allow the support of services in towns up to a population of 25,000. A percentage of the grant will also be available for the support of recently withdrawn services or existing services under threat of withdrawal. The allocation for Shropshire for 2001-02 is £804,914 with similar allocations up to 2003-04.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many sites of special scientific interest there were in Shrewsbury and Atcham in each year since 1992; and if he will make a statement. [156510]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The table shows the total number of sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) in the Shrewsbury and Atcham borough for each year since 1992.

YearNumber of SSSIs

Fishing Industry

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps the Government are taking to regenerate areas in England which are affected by the decline of the fishing industry; and if he will make a statement. [156804]

Ms Armstrong: Fishing communities in England, in common with other areas of the country, are eligible to apply for funding under a wide range of current Government and European Union initiatives. These can be split broadly into three categories:

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These schemes are already providing considerable assistance. Nevertheless, I also appreciate that fishing communities have suffered particularly badly in recent times, due to declining fish stocks and other pressures, and that they have a strong case for further assistance.

I have therefore asked the Regional Development Agencies to set aside £5.5 million from their budget to go towards a new programme of assistance for fishing communities. The programme will aim to help local partnerships to devise strategies for regenerating affected areas. It will be designed specifically to help fishing communities develop plans for their areas and make their case to Regional Development Agencies and other sources of funding, and more effectively access assistance from existing programmes.

It will be possible for some of this money to be used to help tourism, including re-opening coastal paths.

This new initiative forms part of a wider Government package of assistance to fishing communities. Earlier this week, MAFF announced that they are making available £6 million for additional assistance in England to assist restructuring in the fishing industry. They will be consulting with the industry about the precise form the assistance should take. MAFF also announced that they are launching a fisheries structural fund grants scheme (FIFG) for England; they have already committed £6 million to this EU scheme over the coming three years. This is in addition to a separate £5 million fund for fisheries in Cornwall.

The total value of the MAFF and DETR packages is £22.5 million.

I am also pleased to say that colleagues in the DfEE are today announcing a package of support for fishing communities. The Employment Service will use every opportunity to assist those made unemployed to return to work as quickly as possible. This will be a flexible service, tailored to the needs of the particular community. The type of service will depend on what is appropriate in each instance. All aspects of jobsearch, training, access to vacancies, help with job applications and a fast track benefit service, maybe through On-site Jobshops, can be used. Open days and Job Fairs may also be an option.

ES staff will be available to offer intelligence on the local labour market and to match people to current vacancies. There is also access to over 350,000 vacancies on the website and to a national telephone job hunting service Employment Service Direct (0845 60 60 234).

Additional help through the Job Transition Service will be offered in areas where large scale redundancies occur and where unemployment is already high. It will not only help those people directly affected but also people from communities which are dependent upon the fishing industry.

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The Job Transition Service is a new programme and key to the way in which this Government are tackling large scale redundancies. The Job Transition Service builds on existing ES support to provide the extra help needed to move people rapidly back into work. In particular, it works with employers to identify skills shortages and match people without jobs to jobs without people.

The DfEE and the Employment Service will work closely with other departments and agencies to tackle the issue of job losses in the fisheries industry and the community as a whole. The approach will be practical and efficient, responding to local needs.


Opinion Polling

Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what (a) quantitative and (b) qualitative analytical work his Department has commissioned from GGC/NOP since 1 May 1997; and what was (i) the cost of the contract and (ii) the specific nature of the work commissioned. [155666]

Mr. Wills [holding answer 28 March 2001]: The Department has not commissioned quantitative or qualitative analytical work through GGC/NOP.

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