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Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) the Environment Agency figures released by her Department on the levels of dioxins in ash from the Edmonton incinerator and (b) the levels as measured by an independent body. 
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The sampling and analysis commissioned by the Environment Agency were done by non-agency staff. The results accord with those of the tests commissioned by Collease Ltd. (the trailer hire company operating near the site).
The analyses show considerable variation of dioxin levels in the ash. Collease sampled the stockpile from an unknown place and in an unknown manner using their own containers; analysis of these samples showed a range of around 70 to 1,170 ng/Kg I-TEQ. Sampling and testing commissioned by the agency showed a range of 17 to 1,100 ng/Kg I-TEQ.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment has been made of the contamination caused to allotments and home garden food produce in the vicinity of the Cleanaway site at South Ockendon from the fly ash deposited there over the past 20 years, and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what information the (a) Environment Agency and (b) Health and Safety Executive have collated on the impact and likelihood of fly ash dumped at the Cleanaway South Ockendon site over the past 20 years escaping air borne, from this vicinity to nearby residential areas; and if she will make a statement 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 18 July 2001]: Waste disposal sites operate under the terms of waste management licences and are subject to the controls set out in Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. The purpose of licences is to ensure that waste is disposed of in ways which protect the environment and human health. Failure to comply with a licence condition, or the disposal of waste in a manner likely to cause environmental pollution or harm to human health is a criminal offence.
I understand that the original licence for the South Ockendon landfill site, issued by Essex county council in 1984 allowed consignments of mixed fly ash and bottom ash from the Edmonton municipal waste incinerator to be consigned to the South Ockendon site. The county council deemed the ash to be suitable for such disposal. These licences were completed in 1997.
The Environment Agency, which assumed responsibility for waste management licensing in 1996, advises that the deposit of this mixed ash at the site, in compliance with the licence at that time, ceased in December 1997 as a result of the new licence. The area of the site where ash was deposited takes no further waste and is now capped, and the agency considers that the mixed ash does not represent a significant risk to the environment.
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The Environment Agency has a legal duty to inspect all licensed sites and section 42 of the 1990 Act requires the agency to take the steps needed to ensure that (a) the activities authorised by a licence do not cause environmental pollution, harm to human health or serious detriment to local amenities; and (b) the conditions of a licence are complied with. With these requirements in mind, I have now asked the Environment Agency to apply these requirements to deposits of mixed ash deposited at Ockendon prior to 1996.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has examined its records relating to the South Ockendon site for the last 20 years. These do not show any relevant information relating to the impact and likelihood of ash deposited at the site escaping airborne.
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what evidence the Government have (a) commissioned and (b) assessed regarding reduced water tables in (i) Britain and (ii) internationally. 
Mr. Meacher: The Natural Environment Research Council's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology produces monthly summaries of hydrological conditions across the UK, which include groundwater levels. The latest summary indicates that UK groundwater resources are generally very healthy. Internationally, an increasing demand for water is causing a serious decline in water tables in a number of developing countries. The UK Government, through DFID, supports a number of initiatives to encourage the sustainable use, and equitable allocation, of surface and groundwater resources and programmes for enhancing groundwater recharge.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures exist to inform land managers that their property may be affected by new access arrangements under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 9 January 2002]: The Access to the Countryside (Maps in Draft Form) (England) Regulations 2001 require the Countryside Agency to send reduced scale maps (derived from the draft map) to prescribed consultees (including land manager and user representative organisations, as well as local and National Park authorities and parish councils), and to deposit maps with local authorities and certain libraries for public inspection. Maps must also be displayed on the internet.
The regulations do not require notification of individual land managers: much land in rural areas remains unregistered, and there is no complete list of people with an interest in the land. In particular, while the owners of most farm holdings are known to DEFRA, the ownership oflet alone other interests inuncultivated open country and common land is often doubtful or unknown. However, the agency has written to those on the agricultural holdings database in the affected areas with information about the consultation.
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regulations for public notices, internet mapping, and consultation with representative organisations, will ensure that the overwhelming majority of land managers will be made aware of their opportunity to comment on the maps, while addressing all those interested in the maps impartially.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what is the expected cost of the mapping exercise being carried out under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 9 January 2002]: The Countryside Agency expects to spend £2,670,000 and £2,800,000 on mapping open country and registered common land in the financial years 200102 and 200203 respectively. Estimates of the costs for the years 200304 to 200506 will be made in the light of experience of the first stages of the mapping exercise.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which agencies and subcontractors are employed to carry out mapping exercises under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 9 January 2002]: The Countryside Agency's lead contractor for the mapping exercise is Binnie Black and Veatch Ltd. which has subcontracted work to: GeoData Institute (University of Southamptonproviding habitat expertise and data collection, and mapping registered common land), Quentin Bell Organisation Ltd. (advising on media, publicity and other issues), and City and West End Solutions Ltd. (printing of maps).
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the arrangements are for providing copies of maps drawn up under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to (a) land managers whose property may be affected and (b) the public. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 9 January 2002]: Regulation 7 of the Access to the Countryside (Maps in Draft Form) (England) Regulations 2001 requires the Countryside Agency to supply a reduced scale map (derived from the draft map) to any person (including land managers) who requests such a map and pays a reasonable fee. The agency is charging a fee of £15 per map sheet plus a postage and packing charge of £4.99 per order.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which rules prevent sites being nominated individually for candidate special area of conservation status; and if she will make a statement; 
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(4) what steps she will take to bring the consultation over Hatfield Moors proposed candidate special area conservation status to a conclusion. 
Mr. Meacher: Candidate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are selected using the criteria set out in the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC). There are no rules to prevent sites being nominated individually for candidate SAC status. The selection principles are set out in JNCC report 270, a copy of which is in the House Library. Site selection principles are set out at section 1.10 of that report, with clarification of the justification principles for individual or cluster sites at section 1.11.
English Nature, on behalf of the Department, are undertaking consultation on the proposed SAC for Hatfield Moors. Consultation began on 18 August with a request for comments by 11 October 2000. In the light of request for further information, and subsequent objections received on 5 April 2001, English Nature have continued discussions with the intention of resolving areas of disagreement. Two meetings have been held between English Nature and the Peat Producers Association, on 6 October 2000 and on 12 November 2001. Subsequent to the scientific views submitted on 5 April no supplementary scientific information specifically relating to Hatfield Moors has been provided to English Nature in the course of these discussions. However, various issues concerning the interpretation of the habitat type and the process of selecting sites including the application of the criteria in the directive have been raised during the discussion.
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