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Business Links

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many calls have been received by the Business Links national call centres since April 2001; and what proportion of these were re-directed to each of the local business link providers. [46191]

Nigel Griffiths: The Business Link National Contact Centre (BLNCC) has received 52,450 calls between 2 April 2001 and 17 March 2002. Of these calls, 11,560 were referred to Business Link operators, while 26,187 calls were fulfilled by the BLNCC (for example arranging mailing of small business literature). The remaining calls were fulfilled by referral to other sources of expertise (such as Farm Business Advisory Service or the Small Business Service equivalents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). A full breakdown of the number of calls passed on to the local Business Link operators is as follows:

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Local business link providerNumber of calls
Black Country180
Cheshire and Warrington206
County Durham114
Coventry and Warwickshire142
Devon and Cornwall556
East Lancashire156
Greater Manchester and Wigan349
Hereford and Worcester190
Milton Keynes, Oxford and Berkshire295
North and West Lancashire211
North Manchester Chambers Business Services Ltd.119
North Yorkshire218
South Yorkshire143
Tees Valley65
Tyne and Wear112
Wessex (formally Hampshire, Dorset and IOW)544
West Yorkshire335
Wiltshire, Swindon and Berkshire303

Carbon Emissions

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress her Department has made in cutting carbon emissions; and if she will make a statement on the likelihood of the UK achieving its emissions targets set by the Kyoto protocol. [44416]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.

The UK's Third National Communication on Climate Change, published last October, reports progress with implementing our climate change programme. We have made excellent progress so far in cutting greenhouse emissions which we estimate have fallen by about 13 per cent. between 1990 and 2000. The Climate Change Programme, published in November 2000, outlines a range of policies that we estimate could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010. This is well in excess of our 12.5 per cent. Kyoto target.

Industrial Action

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many days were lost due to industrial action (a) in the public sector and (b) in total in each of the last 20 years. [44783]

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Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. John Whittingdale, dated 25 March 2002

Working days lost due to UK labour disputes

SIC 1968Professional and scientific services; public administration and defenceWhole economy

Working days lost due to UK labour disputes

SIC 1980Public administration, sanitary services, education, medical and health servicesWhole economy

Working days lost due to UK labour disputes

SIC 1992Public administration, education and health and social workWhole economy

(39) 'P' equals provisional

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GM Crops

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many GM crop trials there were in each constituency in each year since 1990. [34873]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 11 February 2002]: Since the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations (1993) came into force in the UK, a total of 193 consents have been issued to release GM crops to the environment for research purposes. These include the farm scale evaluations, national list trials and a number of other research trials. Releases have taken place at about 1,000 different locations as most consents permit trials at more than one release site. We do not have the figures available in the form requested. However, the DEFRA website contains extracts from the public register, which list the locations by grid reference of all releases as part of experimental trials since 1993 and all sites in the farm scale evaluation programme.


Andrew Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with officers from the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority regarding their soil improver product. [38403]

Mr. Meacher: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no such discussions. However, I met the authority on 11 March and the issue of composting and the soil improver was raised.

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what work her Department has undertaken to determine final storage quality for the treatment of hazardous waste before acceptance into a hazardous landfill site; [43616]

Mr. Meacher: The Government do not consider that there is as yet a clear or accepted understanding of what is meant by the term "final storage quality". We have therefore not undertaken work to determine what treatment such a standard would require before hazardous waste could be sent to landfill or conducted a risk assessment on the impact of not applying such a standard after July 2004.

The Environment Agency has produced draft guidance on standards for treatment of hazardous waste going to landfill following implementation of the directive. The guidance is based on a determination of the best practicable environmental option for individual waste streams and, where processes are regulated under the PPC, the obligation to employ best available techniques with regard to the production of wastes and their

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treatment. The Government consulted on this approach in the Second Consultation paper on Implementation of the Landfill Directive. A wide range of responses were received from consultees including a number arguing against the treatment of hazardous waste to "final storage quality" though interpretation of what was meant by the term varied.

The standards to which hazardous waste will have to be treated to go to landfill will ultimately be determined by the waste acceptance criteria for hazardous waste landfills which are still under negotiation in Europe.

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department made of the quantities of hazardous waste that will require treatment in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007, (d) 2008, (e) 2009 and (f) 2010. [43618]

Mr. Meacher: The Department has made no estimates of the amount of hazardous waste that will require treatment from 2005 to 2010.

At present approximately 53 per cent. of hazardous waste arisings are landfilled. It is estimated that approximately 41 per cent. of current arisings will continue to be able to be landfilled following the implementation of the bans in July 2002. The amount of hazardous waste that will continue to be landfilled beyond July 2004 and will hence need to be pre-treated will depend on a range of factors. These include general trends in hazardous waste arisings, changes to the definition of hazardous waste, the availability of hazardous waste landfill capacity, the availability of alternative disposal routes such as incineration, and implementation of the waste acceptance criteria currently under negotiation in Brussels which will set out what hazardous wastes can go to hazardous waste sites or to separate cells in non- hazardous landfill sites.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 217W, on waste disposal, (1) what steps her Department has taken to meet the target of banning the landfilling of hazardous liquid wastes from July; and for what reason her Department does not hold information on the locations of individual treatment facilities for liquid waste; [43428]

Mr. Meacher: The forthcoming Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations will impose the ban on the landfilling of hazardous liquid wastes by making it an offence for landfill site operators to accept such wastes for disposal beyond July 2002.

The regulation of individual waste treatment facilities is the responsibility of the Environment Agency. The agency holds details of the location of all licensed waste treatment facilities on their central licensing and charging databases but these records do not identify which individual sites are permitted to accept liquid wastes. This information is not held centrally because, for the purposes of regulating the sites, the physical nature of the waste is only

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significant at the individual site level. Control over the type of waste that can be accepted at any given site and over specific problems associated with handling liquids, is exercised through the conditions of individual licences, details of which are held at local area offices and which could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

The Department, in conjunction with the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly, has undertaken an assessment of the landfill directive for the future management of wastes banned from landfill.

The aims and objectives of the study were:

The study found that there was sufficient alternative disposal systems (in use or planned) to cope with the large volume of organic process waste streams requiring diversion from landfill. It also suggested that additional facilities might be required for oily wastes, contaminated soils, and inorganic chemical wastes. A copy of the report will be placed in the Library of both Houses.

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