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Radon Emissions

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many residential dwellings have been tested for radon emissions since 1988 in (a) Devon and (b) England and Wales; and what percentage of the dwellings tested were owned (i) privately and (ii) by the local authority or housing associations. [18357]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 27 November 2001]: Recorded in the table is the number of residential dwellings that have been tested for radon emissions since 1988 in (a) Devon and (b) England and Wales; and the percentage of dwellings that were owned (i) privately and (ii) rented. The rented accommodation includes property that is owned by local authorities, housing associations, and the private rented sector. Records held centrally do not allow differentiation between the various types of public and private tenancy.

ParameterDevon(31)England and Wales(31)
Number of dwellings tested since 198880,000400,000
Percentage of privately owned dwellings8581
Percentage of local authority and housing association owned dwellings and other tenanted dwellings(32)1015
Percentage of unknown tenure(33)54

(31) Numerical values are rounded

(32) As recorded by the occupier at the time of measurement

(33) The occupier did not state the type of tenure


28 Nov 2001 : Column: 1031W

Fresh Water Supply

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the adequacy of the fresh water supply available to the UK. [16981]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 27 November 2001]: The Natural Environment Research Council's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology produces monthly summaries of hydrological conditions across the UK. The latest summary indicates that groundwater resources are very healthy, and that reservoir stocks have recently increased, now being above average for this time of year.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where are the UK's main water sources; and what plans there are to create desalination plants. [16982]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 27 November 2001]: The principal sources from which water is abstracted in the UK are surface waters (rivers and reservoirs) and groundwater (eg chalk aquifers). The main source in any given area depends on its geology though water resources can be, and are, transferred from one region to another where it is necessary to do so. Desalination is not seen as a necessary option in terms of public water supply at the present time.

Incinerator Ash (Dioxins)

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the quality of the Environment Agency's methods of testing incinerated material for dioxins; [18545]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 27 November 2001]: Under the current IPC (integrated pollution control) authorisations, the Environment Agency requires all municipal waste incinerators to regularly analyse bottom ash and air pollution control residues for dioxins, carbon and a variety of metals.

These results are placed on the public register. I have asked the Environment Agency to provide the hon. Member with a summary of the recent results, and will place copies in the Library of the House. I understand latest results show the level of dioxins in bottom ash to be similar to those found in soils.

I am confident that the Environment Agency has the appropriate technical expertise to carry out accurate and repeatable dioxin analysis of incinerated material. The agency has its own accredited laboratory for dioxin analysis. Nevertheless, current analysis of the dioxin levels in incinerator residues involves the incinerator operators and the Environment Agency employing a standard sampling protocol but with analysis by a number of different laboratories approved by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. One of the aims of this ongoing work is to confirm the accuracy and repeatability of the techniques employed.

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Departmental Expenditure Limits

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to change the (a) departmental expenditure limit and (b) administration costs limits for 2001–02. [19797]

Margaret Beckett: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs DEL will be increased by £857,992,000 from £1,732,782,000 to £2,590,774,000 and the administration costs limit will be increased by £46,250,000 from £457,399,000 to £503,649,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital is set out in the following table:

ResourcesCapital
Change563,514294,478
New DEL2,084,642506,132
of which:
Voted1,365,254429,069
Non-voted719,38877,063
Start figures(34)
Summer DEL1,521,128211,654
of which:
Voted1,054,667174,349
Non-voted466,46137,305

(34) From summer supp.


The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from: (i) a take-up of £57,933,000 under the End-Year Flexibility rules, (ii) £9,000 from the Evidence Based Policy Fund within the Capital Modernisation Fund, (iii) a transfer of £510,555,000 from DTLR following the formation of DEFRA, (iv) a transfer of £610,000 from the Home Office following the formation of DEFRA, (v) a transfer of £177,000 from the Privy Council Office for the Secretary of State's accommodation costs, (vi) a transfer of £100,000 from the Department of Health for the Rural Stress Action Group, (vii) a transfer of £3,200,000 from DTLR for the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme, (viii) a transfer of £20,000 from DTLR for local public service agreements, (ix) a transfer of £4,394,000 to the Cabinet Office for staff transferred to governmental organisations, (x) a transfer of £1,000,000 to Department of Health for research on transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, (xi) a transfer of £929,000 to the Scottish Executive for the Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme, (xii) a transfer of £967,000 to the Home Office for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme and, (xiii) a transfer of £1,800,000 to the Scottish Executive for the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme.

The change in the capital element of the DEL arises from (i) a take-up of £72,519,000 under the End-Year Flexibility rules, (ii) a take-up of £237,000 under the Capital Modernisation Fund and, (iii) a take-up of £221,722,000 from DTLR following the formation of DEFRA. There will also be a transfer of £3,000,000 from non-voted supplementary credit approvals to voted capital.

28 Nov 2001 : Column: 1033W

Increases will be offset by inter-departmental transfers and charged to the DEL Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

Global Warming

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on Government responsibilities on (a) global warming and (b) Kyoto. [15991]

Mr. Meacher: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has lead responsibility for climate change (which includes both global warming and the Kyoto protocol). My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister also continues to play a role in international climate change discussions and negotiations on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the impact of the moratorium on new gas-fired power stations on carbon dioxide emissions (a) to date and (b) over the next five years. [15504]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 16 November 2001]: The effect of the moratorium on present day emissions is likely to be small, given the time lags involved in constructing new plants. There could, in principle, be a small and temporary effect on emissions over the next few years. It is however difficult to make an estimate due to many other influences that could also affect new build decisions, for example, changes in energy prices, the New Electricity Trading Arrangements, and other Government policies on energy and the environment. We would expect any effect from the moratorium to have died away before the end of the decade.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the percentage of carbon dioxide emissions derived from (a) transport, (b) domestic sources and (c) industry in the last 12 months. [15506]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 16 November 2001]: The table shows carbon dioxide emissions recorded in the UK's greenhouse gas inventory from transport, the domestic sector and industry in 1999, which is the most recent year for which complete information is available. Industrial emissions are divided into manufacturing industry and energy industries. The latter include power stations and refineries, and produce the electricity, refined petroleum and other energy products used elsewhere in the economy. Emissions from energy industries amounted to 48.8 million tonnes of carbon equivalent (MtC) in 1999, of which 5.2 MtC and 16.6 MtC were attributable to demand in the transport and domestic sectors. Emissions from fuels loaded in the UK and used by international aviation and shipping are not included in the UK's inventory under agreed reporting guidelines used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. These emissions amounted to a further 8.7 MtC in 1999.

28 Nov 2001 : Column: 1034W

UK CO 2 emissions from transport, the domestic sector and industry in 1999, expressed as percentage of total UK CO 2 and as million tonnes carbon (MtC)

Percentage of total UK emissionsMtC
Transport2233.2
Domestic1623.3
Manufacturing industry20.130.1
Energy industries32.748.8


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