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Landfill Directive

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the number of new treatment facilities that will be required to achieve compliance with the United Kingdom's obligations under the landfill directive. [43620]

Mr. Meacher: The Department, in conjunction with the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly, has undertaken an assessment of the implications 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. Copies of the study have been disseminated widely.

Further work is currently under way to assess the availability of pre-treatment facilities for those hazardous waste streams that can continue to go to landfill after July 2002.

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the landfill directive regulations will be laid before Parliament. [43621]

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Mr. Meacher: The Government aim to lay the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations before the Easter recess.


Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for developing and applying criteria for determining long-term investment in sewers. [39481]

Mr. Meacher: The 10 water and sewerage companies in England and Wales are responsible for managing investment in their sewerage systems, both in capital maintenance and in new provision.

This Department, the Office of Water Services (Ofwat), Environment Agency, Drinking Water Inspectorate and water companies have worked closely together on a water industry capital maintenance framework, covering sewerage systems as well as other asset systems. A jointly commissioned study will be published in May.

Ofwat will shortly hold a preliminary consultation on its approach to capital maintenance at the forthcoming review of price limits. Ofwat with the Environment Agency have consulted on enhancements to the serviceability indicators for assets against which companies report to Ofwat. The new indicators will be used for the first time in companies' returns to be made in June 2002 and so provide better information for draft and final business plans.

Ofwat also issued, on 13 March 2002, "Flooding from sewers—A way forward" which consults on how companies should bring forward investment proposals to address sewer flooding both in the short term before 2005 and in the longer term for the period 2005–10. The consultation ends on 15 June.

The steps and timetable leading up to setting price limits in 2004 for the period 2005–10 are set out in "Ofwat Forward Programme 2002–03 to 2004–05" which was published on 21 March 2002. This year Ofwat will consult on its approach to the periodic review in October and in December the Government will issue guidance on the policies and programmes requiring investment in sewerage services.

Kirkby Stephen (Sheep)

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the sheep at Kirkby Stephen were tested for the foot and mouth (a) virus and (b) antibody before restocking; and if she will make a statement. [39509]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 1 March 2002]: All animals used for controlled restocking must come from farms which have been inspected and found free from foot and mouth disease (FMD).

The sheep used to restock at Kirkby Stephen came from two sources. One source was tested for antibodies in September and in November with negative results on both occasions. The second source was also tested for antibodies in August and November, with negative results on both occasions. Neither flock was tested for virus.


Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she has

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taken to ensure that Ofgem abides by the content and spirit of the Government's departmental guidelines on the integration of environmental policies. [39979]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

The Utilities Act 2000 provided for the Secretary of State to issue guidance to the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority about the making by the authority of a contribution towards the attainment of social or environmental policies set out in the guidance.

The Department has consulted on drafts of the guidance, and is now looking afresh at the guidance in the light of the Energy Review report published on 14 February by the Performance and Innovation Unit, which has implications for the guidance.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to question 31593 tabled for answer on 29 January regarding a breakdown of the total costs of the foot and mouth epidemic. [40368]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 4 March 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 25 February 2002, Official Report, 916W.

Milk Prices

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much dairy farmers received per litre of milk in each of the past 10 years. [40768]

Mr. Morley: The table shows the annual average farm-gate milk prices, including bonuses, paid to farmers between 1992 and 2001, for raw milk in the UK.

Annual average UK farm-gate milk prices(40)

Pence per litre

(40) Actual fat content

(41) Provisional


1992–94 Milk Marketing Boards; 1995 onwards DEFRA

Scottish Executive

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a Scottish Executive Minister will be a member of the UK delegation to the Environment European Union Council of Ministers meeting on 4 March; and what information is being provided by her Department to guarantee effective pre-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. [40319]

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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 4 March 2002]: A Scottish Executive Minister was not part of the UK delegation at the Environmental Council on 4 March. On the second point, it is the responsibility of the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament to scrutinise Scottish Executive involvement in preparations for EU Council meetings. The Department provides information to Scottish Executive officials as part of that process.


Mr. Bob Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 918W, on airport runway capacity, when she will place a copy of the exchange of letters between the Permanent Secretaries in her Department and the DTLR in the Library. [41770]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 8 March 2002]: This was deposited in the Library of the House on 11 March.

Air Conditioning

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department has taken to notify (a) consultants and (b) producers involved in advising on the installation of air conditioning during refurbishment of Government buildings of the Government's view on hydrofluorocarbons as a non-sustainable technology; and if she will make a statement. [41182]

Mr. Meacher: The position of HFCs was made clear in the UK climate change programme that was produced in November 2000. It recognised that HFCs are not sustainable in the long-term and that technological developments may eventually make it possible to replace them in applications where they are used. The programme also stated that HFC emission reduction strategies should not undermine commitments to phase out ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal protocol while making it clear they should only be used where other safe, technically feasible, cost-effective and more environmentally acceptable alternatives do not exist. This position is reflected in the advice make available on the Greening Government website for managers on the Government estate, consultants and manufacturers of air conditioning systems. However, there may be scope under the EC procurement rules for Government Departments to work more closely with their suppliers and this is one of the issues that is being considered by the cross-Government Sustainable Procurement Group recently established by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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