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Edmonton Incinerator

Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action has been taken in respect of allegations made by the "Newsnight" programme on 3 July concerning the dioxin content of ash used for construction from the Edmonton incinerator; and if she will make a statement. [11812]

Mr. Meacher: I am grateful for this opportunity to clarify the answers I gave on 11 July 2000, Official Report, columns 496–97W, and on 27 March 2001, Official Report, column 565W. Until August 2000, the Edmonton incinerator mixed bottom ash and precipitator ash. From August 1998 to May 1999, this mixed ash was reprocessed and used in the production of concrete building blocks. This ash has also been used as an aggregate.

As the reply to the first of these two questions said, neither the Department nor the Environment Agency routinely held information on the dioxin content of ash from incinerators. However, in July 1998 the Environment Agency was given an estimate of the dioxin content of the mixed ash, based on a 1997 analysis of the fly ash. I was not advised about this when I replied to the second of these questions and regret any consequent inaccuracy in my answer. I have written to both Members and have placed a copy of the letter and the analysis in the fax in the Library of the House.

The Environment Agency is currently carrying out a full and thorough investigation into the destination of ash from incinerators, the environmental implications of its use and what steps may be needed in the light of these findings. This thorough investigation will establish the true picture for all municipal waste incinerators. Its results will be made public and any necessary action will be taken.

Nuclear Power

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the total cost of nuclear production. [9941]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

There is a range of estimates for the cost of producing nuclear power. The performance and innovation unit at the Cabinet Office is currently producing a report on the UK's energy policy and is looking at the cost of potential future energy options, including new nuclear build.

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Its estimates of the cost of producing nuclear-generated electricity can be found at: innovation/2001/energy/2050.pdf.

Nuclear generators have also produced their own estimates of the cost of producing electricity from new nuclear power stations. Both British Energy and BNFL have made submissions to the PIU and these are on the PIU website.

The PIU is continuing to discuss cost estimates with the generators.

Food Safety

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the safety of United Kingdom produced lamb products in baby foods. [9913]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that it does not advise against the consumption of lamb, and this applies equally to all sections of the population including babies.

Pure Agriculture Students

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many students enrolled this year as (a) undergraduates and (b) postgraduates on a pure agriculture course as in each of the last five years. [9600]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

The total number of entrants to courses in agriculture for the five years since 1996–97 are given in the table; comparable figures for 2001–02 will not be available until April 2002. The latest available data for 2001 entry published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show that the number of applicants accepted for entry to full-time and sandwich undergraduate courses in agriculture was 2,707, an increase of 1.7 per cent. compared to the same point last year. The overall increase in accepted applicants in 2001 is 5.6 per cent. UCAS does not cover applicants to part-time or postgraduate courses.

Entrants to courses in agriculture(4)—UK HE Institutions


(4) Full-time and part-time, home and overseas students


Departmental Expenditure

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total expenditure was on (a) advertising, (b) polling, (c) focus groups, (d) design consultants, (e) caterers, (f) production of departmental

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publications and (g) photographs/photographers by her Department for each year since 1995 in (i) cash and (ii) real terms; what was (A) the annual percentage increase in spending on each category and (B) spending on each category as a percentage of the total departmental running costs; and if she will make a statement. [6886]

Tessa Jowell: The table shows the available information on expenditure by my Department. No expenditure has been incurred on polling or focus groups. The expenditure on advertising relates to the cost of newspaper advertising

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for the many public appointments for which I am responsible. Design consultants have only been employed during 1997–98 to design the Department's new identity.

As expenditure on caterers is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost, I have provided overall hospitality expenditure which contains expenditure on caterers. Expenditure data for the production of Department publications and photographs and photographers for 1995–96 and 1995–96 and 1996–97 respectively were not recorded separately and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

YearCash (£000)Annual percentage changeSpending as percentage of running costsReal terms 2000–01 prices (£000)Annual percentage changeSpending as percentage of running costs
Design consultants
Production of departmental publications
Photographs and photographers


Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the economic state of the tourism sectors in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England; and what measures she is proposing to assist the tourism industry. [9848]

Dr. Howells: According to the most recent estimates, total tourism expenditure in the UK is worth some £75 billion and the value added by tourism in the UK is now estimated to be 5 per cent. of GDP.

For the English tourism industry, our best estimate to date is that the loss of revenue in 2001–02 is likely to be about £3.3 billion in 'value added' terms over the eight month period consideration (March to October) of the foot and mouth disease outbreak. Further losses are expected as a result of the terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September. Individual tourism assessments for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are matters for the devolved Administrations.

Government and the industry recognise that the challenges facing tourism both for the short and long term must be tackled. Ministers have worked hard with the industry in particular to lessen the impact of foot and mouth disease and the terrorist attacks on the United States, and to attract visitors to Britain. The Government have provided additional funding to help the recovery of domestic tourism and to promote Britain overseas. The industry is taking the lead in improving the quality of product and service.

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