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Road Fuels

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is towards the possible adoption by the EU of lower sulphur control levels for road fuels. [26410]

Mr. Spellar: I have been asked to reply.

The Government supported the political agreement reached at the December 2001 EU Environment Council on a Commission proposal to amend Directive 98/70/EC that sets a maximum limit for sulphur of 10 ppm (termed "sulphur-free" fuel) from 1 January 2009, this date being subject to review by the Commission with respect to diesel fuel. The reduction in sulphur will facilitate the optimisation of new engine technology for cars, which will substantially reduce fuel use and benefit motorists—and also reduce climate change and other environmental emissions, especially ultrafine particulate emissions.

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Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the regional reports on the performance of the home energy efficiency scheme. [22891]

Mr. Meacher: The home energy efficiency scheme (HEES), now marketed as The Warm Front Team, is administered by two scheme managers, TXU Warm Front Ltd. (responsible for the Eastern, East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber) and Eaga Partnership Ltd. (responsible for the rest of England).

Eaga Partnership provides information (under publications) on its website: TXU Warm Front,, is currently constructing a website, which will include data on performance. DEFRA's website, (under energy efficiency), will shortly be updated to identify average waiting times, by area, for insulation and heating measures and general performance delivery information for HEES.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) HEES and (b) HEES Plus grants were paid out in each local authority area in each month since June 2000; and what targets were set for the number of grants to be paid out over the period in order to meet her Department's target of 800,000 grants received by 2004. [19374]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 29 November 2001]: The volume of information requested is such that I will write to the hon. Member separately, and place a copy of the letter and the data in the Library of the House.

The home energy efficiency scheme has an overall target of improving 800,000 properties in the period 2000–04. Between June 2000 and March 2002, the scheme has a target of improving 400,000 properties.

Portland Cement

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will name the domestic manufacturers of Portland cement who operate manufacturing plants accredited to ISO 14001; and what percentage of that industry they represent. [20514]

Mr. Meacher: There are four domestic manufacturers of Portland Cement: Blue Circle Cement UK; Castle Cement Ltd.; Rugby Cement; and Buxton Lime Industries Ltd. All are members of the British Cement Association and according to their records all the manufacturing plants of these companies are accredited to ISO 14001 representing 100 per cent. of the industry.

Environmental Protection

Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions have been initiated (a) by and (b) against local authorities in England and Wales under section 79(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. [20609]

Mr. Meacher: Section 79(1) lists the statutory nuisances covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990, although formally prosecution comes under section 80, and cases against local authorities under section 82.

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The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) collect statistics from a sample of local authorities. The latest figures published on 20 December 2001 show that for 2000–01 there were in the order of 238,000 complaints to local authorities resulting in the order of 440 prosecutions. These are broken down as shown in the table.

Other machinery/equipment in streets6,5014

The number of prosecutions against local authorities on grounds of statutory nuisance are not held centrally.

Landfill Sites

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidelines exist to determine permitted distance between landfill sites and occupied private housing. [23691]

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.

In addition, under section 42 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Environment Agency must take the steps needed to ensure that the activities authorised by a waste management licence do not cause environmental pollution, harm to human health or serious detriment to local amenities; and the conditions of a licence are complied with.

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

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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.

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her latest assessment is of progress towards targets for the reduction of waste in landfill sites. [23690]

Mr. Meacher: We have set a target to cut the amount of industrial and commercial waste going to landfill in England to 85 per cent. of that landfilled in 1998 by 2005. The statutory targets for reducing waste landfilled are set in the EU landfill directive. These are that by 2010 biodegradable municipal waste landfilled must be reduced to 75 per cent. of that produced in 1995, by 2013 to 50 per cent., and by 2020 to 35 per cent. The table provides estimates of the amounts of municipal waste landfilled in England and Wales based on the DEFRA annual survey of Municipal Waste Management.

England and Wales
Percentage (mtonnes)

MWMW landfilledBMW landfilled/ 1995 BMW
1999–2000 29.38194


Assumes proportion of MW which is biodegradable remains at 62.5 per cent.

In 1999–2000, the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill was 94 per cent. of that produced in 1995–96. Although the percentage of municipal waste going to landfill is reducing, the tonnage is still rising because the amount of waste being produced continues to rise. Statutory targets to triple local authority recycling and composting of household waste by 2005–06 in England will help reduce landfilling, and tradable landfill permits issued to waste disposal authorities will require them to meet the directive's targets. We will bring forward primary legislation for the permits scheme as soon as parliamentary time allows.

CFC Disposal

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her latest assessment is of the cost to be incurred by (a) private businesses, (b) local government and (c) the Exchequer of implementing the EU directive on CFC disposal. [23264]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 17 December 2001]: A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) on the proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) on substances that deplete the ozone layer was undertaken in December 1998. It estimated that the total costs of compliance for business, charities and voluntary organisations would be £370 million. The report put that figure in context by stating that under the then current EC Regulation (3093/94), it was estimated that end-users would make investments totalling £4 billion spread over the next 10 to 15 years. The main effect of the new regulation would be to bring forward the timing of some of those investments.

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The RIA did not estimate compliance costs for the extraction of ozone-depleting substances from the insulating foam in domestic refrigeration equipment as the draft proposal did not make it mandatory. It was not until June 2001 that the European Commission gave EU member states its final interpretation of the regulation that did require the recovery of controlled substances in the insulating foam of domestic fridges and freezers. My Department recently announced a payment of £6 million to English local authorities to cover their costs of handling fridges and freezers until March 2002. We are urgently assessing the impacts of the regulation, including the costs, and will determine what further action is required beyond that.

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