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Incineration

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions she has had with local authorities on the exclusion of incineration from local waste plans; and if she will make a statement; [5470]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 20 July 2001]: The Government have had no such discussions with local authorities. Although Government policy seeks to encourage waste minimisation and to maximise the scope for recycling wherever possible, in those cases where options further up the waste hierarchy do not provide the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO), some incineration capacity may be needed in order to achieve the landfill diversion targets under the Landfill Directive.

Waste Management Strategy

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the progress of the waste management strategy. [18011]

Mr. Meacher: Since launching the national waste strategy in May last year the Government have set demanding statutory targets for the recycling and composting of household waste for each local authority, increased the landfill tax and consulted on a system of tradeable landfill permits in order to achieve the diversion from landfill required. It has also set up the Waste and Resources Action Programme to help create stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products, with funding from the Government and the devolved Administrations of around £40 million over three years.

Extra funding has been made available to enable waste authorities to meet the Statutory Performance Standards for recycling and composting that are now in place. Spending Review 2000 included an increase of £1.1 billion by 2003–04 over 2000–01 provision as well as the provision of other sources of funding including the ring-fenced fund of £140 million specifically for recycling and £220 million of PFI funding for waste projects.

The Government are currently in consultation with local authorities on the best way to distribute the £140 million fund. copies of the consultation paper are available on the DEFRA website at www.defra.gov.uk/ environment/consult/wastefund/index.htm.

Annual Ewe Premium

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on recent changes to the level of the annual ewe premium. [23057]

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Mr. Morley: The European Commission made estimates of the likely amount of the ewe premium during the course of 2001 to enable advances of the premium to be paid. However, as the premium for 2001 is calculated as a deficiency payment, the final rate of the premium cannot be set until after the end of the year when the average community market price for sheepmeat will be known. The Commission is expected to determine the final rate for 2001 at a meeting of the Sheepmeat Management Committee on 18 January.

From 2002 the ewe premium will be paid on a flat rate basis, set at 21 euros.

Refrigerator Recycling

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the full-year cost to local authorities of the new regulations on the recycling of fridges. [22072]

Mr. Meacher: The costs to local authorities will vary depending on the length of time fridges and freezers must be stored. The Department has recently announced a payment of £6 million to local authorities to cover their costs until March 2002. We are also urgently considering what action needs to be taken to encourage the reinstatement of take-back schemes previously operating, which would reduce the burden on local authorities.

Green Ministers

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish a table showing (a) the attendance by Ministers at Green Ministers' meetings held since December 2000 and (b) the percentage energy savings achieved by each Department across its respective estate over the same period. [19884]

Mr. Meacher: Between December 2000 and June 2001, Green Ministers met once and details of ministerial attendance are set out in Table 1. Following the general election in June 2001, the previously informal Committee was upgraded to a Cabinet Sub-Committee of ENV and it is established practice under exemption two of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information not to disclose information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees.

Percentage energy savings achieved by Departments from December 2000 to date are not yet available. The latest figures we have available are for the period April 1999 to March 2000 and these are given in Tables 2 and 3.

Table 1: Ministerial attendance at Green Ministers meeting on 19 March 2001

MinisterDepartment
Michael Meacher (Chair)DETR
Patricia HewittDTI
Jacqui SmithDfEE
Beverley HughesDETR
Chris MullinDFID
Hugh BayleyDSS
Elliott MorleyMAFF
Yvette CooperDH
George HowarthNIO
Ross CranstonLOD
The Lord BachLCD

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Table 2: Percentage energy efficiency improvement April 1999 to March 2000 for Civil Departments (recent performance measured by a range of efficiency indicators (ie per m(37)); also by total CO2(36))

Civil Departments, includingPerformance against energy and cost indicators relevant to 1990–91(37)
agenciesTotal cost 1999–2000 (%)
MAFF-Main Estate24
MAFF-Laboratories21
Cabinet Office15
Culture, Media and Sport28
Customs and Excise-8
Education and Employment-11
Employment Service-10
Environment, Transport and Regions11
DETR-HSE(38)22
DETR-QEII CC(38)-10
FCO-26
Health(39)-77
Home Office0
Home Office-Prisons2
Inland Revenue17
International Development38
Lord Chancellor's Department15
Northern Ireland4
Scottish Court Service30
Scottish Prison Service2
Social Security10
Trade and Industry47
Treasury-23
Welsh Office(40)-24
Total8.3

(36) Progress is expressed as a percentage relative to the 1990–91 base year value of the performance indicator in question. Positive figures represent improvement. The standard indicator, against which the target to improve energy efficiency by 20 per cent. by 31 March 2000 is measured, is obtained by weather-correcting energy consumption and converting to costs using 'standard prices' for fuel (6p/kWh for electricity and 1.25p/kWh for all fossil fuels) then dividing by floor area. Conversion to money both reflects the relative costs of electricity and fossil fuel and their environmental impact, and the use of fixed prices eliminates the effects of tariff changes which distort the comparison of fuel bills.

(37) Adjusted for estate and weather changes, positive figures represent percentage progress.

(38) HSE was removed from the DfEE estate on the formation of that Department. QEII Conference Centre is reported separately because of its business led demands. The initial sharp rise in consumption following the 1990–91 base year was directly attributable to increased revenue earning activity, which has continued throughout the reporting period.

(39) Rationalisation of the estate since the base year has led to staff moving from several naturally ventilated buildings to more densely occupied air-conditioned buildings, all equipped extensively with information technology equipment. Staff numbers have increased by over 25 per cent. since 1997–98 which has led to a commensurate increase in energy consumption.

(40) The transition from the former Welsh Office to the National Assembly for Wales resulted in staff numbers increasing by some 24 per cent. between 1998–99 and 1999–2000. This has significantly added to substantial increasing energy demands through the use of information technology. The transition to devolution also involved the acquisition of a large air-conditioned headquarters-type building and assimilation into the Assembly of various other building stock.


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Table 3: Percentage energy efficiency improvement April 1999 to March 2000 for MOD and total Government Estate(41),(42) (recent performance measured by a range of efficiency indicators (ie per m(42)); also by total CO2(43))

Percentage reduction relative to 1990–91(44)
Ministry of DefenceTotal cost 1999–2000
Navy33
Army20
RAF22
Procurement Executive(45)-7
DERA-4
MOD total21.1
Civil Departments total8.3
Grant total17.1

(41) The Ministry of Defence (MOD) estate is different from the rest of the Government estate, and has been undergoing more radical changes. It is therefore treated in a slightly different way. In common with the civil estate, it has greatly increased its use of information technology.

(42) In civil Departments, the effect of estate changes is allowed for by dividing consumption by floor area. In MOD, floor area is sometimes not meaningful (eg in relation to security or runway lighting) and also not often available. Estate changes are allowed for by being explicitly excluded from the calculations, ie the energy consumption of new facilities is removed, and for facilities no longer part of the estate, the consumption for the last full year of operation is added back. In most cases, such changes are small compared to the total and can often approximately cancel each other out.

(43) Progress is expressed as a percentage relative to the 1990–91 base year value of the performance indicator in question. Positive figures represent improvement. The standard indicator, against which the target to improve energy efficiency by 20 per cent. by 31 March 2000 is measured, is obtained by weather-correcting energy consumption and converting to costs using 'standard prices' for fuel (6p/kWh for electricity and 1.25p/kWh for all fossil fuels) then dividing by floor area. Conversion to money both reflects the relative costs of electricity and fossil fuel and their environmental impact, and the use of fixed prices eliminates the effects of tariff changes which distort the comparison of fuel bills.

(44) Adjusted for estate changes and weather correction positive figures represent percentage improvement.

(45) It is almost impossible to produce any meaningful results to date for MOD's Procurement Executive (PE) since it has suffered major estate gains and losses over the past 10 years and now consists largely of one recently built large office. The standard MOD methodology produces a meaningless 'no change' result (since the present estate is almost entirely different from the original). Consequently, we have taken 1997–98 as the base year and applied the civil Departments' methodology to this office.



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