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Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to letters dated 2 August and 10 September from the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare on foot and mouth disease. [15668]

Mr. Morley: My noble Friend Lord Whitty replied to the letter from the hon. Member on 12 December. We have no record of his letter of 2 August.

Landfill Sites

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when she issued guidelines on the proximity of landfill sites to housing; and if they are retroactive; [22659]

Mr. Meacher: The Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 requires a local planning authority to consult the Environment Agency before granting planning permission for development within 250 metres of land which is or has, at any time in the 30 years before the relevant planning application, been used for the deposit of refuse or waste. Guidance to the Agency in Waste Management Paper 27 on Landfill Gas published in 1991 contains guidelines on the proximity of new housing developments to landfill sites. These guidelines do not arise from European legislation and we have had no discussions with the European Commission about changes to the guidance.

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In addition, under section 42 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Environment Agency must take the steps needed to ensure that:

Following implementation of the Landfill Directive, the Environment Agency will be required to exercise its functions under the Directive in order to prevent, or reduce as far as possible, negative effects from the landfilling of waste on the environment and any resulting risk to human health during the whole life cycle of the site. The Directive also requires local planning authorities to take into consideration the distance from the site boundary when considering the location of a new landfill site. This requirement has applied to all new landfill sites from 16 July 2001 but is not applied retrospectively to existing landfill sites.

The Environment Agency can suspend, vary or revoke a waste management licence or, in future, the permit issued under the terms of the Landfill Directive, where it appears the continuation of activities would cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health or where the conditions of the permit or licence are breached.

Livestock Markets

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what is the legal basis for the current closure of livestock markets; and when that legal basis has to be reviewed. [19739]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 4 December 2001]: The Foot-and-Mouth Disease Declaratory (Controlled Area) (England and Wales) (No.3) Order 2001, as amended, was made under section 17 of the Animal Health Act 1981 and declares the whole of England and Wales to be an infected area to which the provisions of Part IV of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Order 1983 as amended apply (a controlled area). Part IV imposes certain restrictions on the area, including the provisions of article 35 which prohibit the use of premises for a fair, market, show or other gathering of animals.

When the chief veterinary officer is of the opinion that England and Wales is no longer infected with foot and mouth disease, consideration will be given to revoking the Declaratory Order. Once this order is revoked, the restrictions in article 35 on the holding of livestock markets will no longer apply. There are other powers available to Ministers under the Animal Health Act 1981 to regulate markets even in the absence of an FMD controlled area. However, the Government are minded to permit the resumption of cattle and some sheep markets in the new year, provided no further cases of FMD come to light. The Government are in close consultation with representatives of auctioneers and farmers abut the biosecurity rules to apply when markets resume.

White Goods

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's plans to improve energy efficiency standards in white goods. [22598]

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Mr. Meacher: The Department will continue to seek to improve the energy efficiency of domestic appliances, including white goods, through a combination of policy measures including product information (energy labels), minimum standards and the promotion of best practice.

These policies will continue to be taken forward by the Market Transformation Programme (MTP), jointly sponsored by the Department and the Department of Trade and Industry, which aims to encourage products that do less harm to the environment, using less energy, water and other resources. The MTP will continue to have a strong focus on improving the delivered energy performance of domestic and non-domestic products, especially energy consuming appliances, equipment and components. This will include all major domestic energy consuming appliances (heating, cold, cooking and wet appliances, consumer electronics and lighting) as well as traded goods in the commercial sector.

The Department will also continue to work closely with stakeholders and other member states to conclude a review of Council Directive 92/75/EEC on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by household appliances; to reach agreement on a Framework Directive for Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements for End-Use Equipment; to develop voluntary measures where appropriate; and to support the work of the Energy Saving Trust in promoting more efficient products.

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress the Government have made to date in improving the energy efficiency standards of white goods. [22599]

Mr. Meacher: The Government have made some good progress in improving the energy efficiency of household appliances, including white goods, in recent years. This has been achieved through a combination of policy measures including product information (energy labels), minimum standards, industry agreements and the promotion of best practice. The Market Transformation Programme (MTP), jointly sponsored by my Department and the DTI, works closely with business and other stakeholders to produce the analysis supporting these measures and suggesting future strategies for action at UK and EU level.

As an example of progress in the energy efficiency of white goods, the combination of energy labelling since 1995 and minimum standards from 1999 has helped to bring about the situation where new efficient fridge- freezers now use only half the electricity of existing older appliances.

While in general the unit energy consumption of white goods has been decreasing for a number of years, overall energy savings have tended to be offset by increasing numbers of appliances in use as the number of households and demand for new services such as digital electronics, in the UK have increased.

Household Appliances

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research has been commissioned by the Government into the effects of not leaving electrical appliances on standby in terms of energy saved. [22597]

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Mr. Meacher: The Government's Market Transformation Programme, jointly sponsored by the Department and the DTI, has been working over the last three years to reach consensus on the potential to reduce the energy consumption of a range of products and appliances. The programme addresses 27 key product types so far, representing about 75 per cent. of UK electricity consumption. From that on-going research and consultative process, the current indications are that the energy used by domestic electrical appliances left in standby mode accounts for about 7 TWh, which is equivalent to about 6 per cent. of total electricity consumption in the domestic sector.

Farming Subsidies

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers are waiting for subsidy payments from the Rural Payments Agency (a) in Norfolk and (b) in England. [22612]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 13 December 2001]: The information requested is not available.

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what percentage of subsidy payments were paid within three weeks in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001; [22613]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 13 December 2001]: Most IACS (integrated administration and control system) schemes are subject to regulatory payment windows determining the earliest and latest dates for payment to be made. Progress in processing claims for individual schemes varies from year to year and is influenced in particular by the workloads faced by the offices handling the claims and by the extent of any regulatory changes. This year claim processing on all schemes has been affected by the diversion of staff to foot and mouth disease duties and by industrial action. In addition livestock claims have had to be cross-checked with FMD slaughter records and bovine scheme claim processing has been delayed because new computer software had to be developed to reflect regulatory changes.

The percentage of IACS subsidy claims sent for payment within the first three weeks of the opening of the payment window in 2000 and 2001 was as shown in the table.

Arable Area Payments8351
Slaughter Premium180
Beef Special Premium (advance)740
Beef Suckler Cow (advance)00
Sheep Annual Premium
1st advance97.286.2
2nd advance99.497.8

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