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Pollution Inspectorate

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 8 March 2002, Official Report, column 641W,

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on the Pollution Inspectorate, what the qualifications are to which she refers; which consultants were commissioned in 2000, what the process was through which any contract was awarded, the month in which this took place, and the terms of reference of this work; if she will place in the Library a copy of their report, and other documentation relating to this work; if she will describe the process by which the contract for carrying out a trial methodology was undertaken; which local authorities, process operators and trade associations were involved in the trial; to whom it is planned to issue the trial report for comments; and how these comments will be utilised. [44427]

Mr. Meacher: I have placed in the Library a copy of the 1995 guidance note on inspection frequency, which advised on circumstances where the specified normal inspection rate of twice a year might warrant increase or decrease.

The consultants, Risk and Policy Analysts, were commissioned in June 2000 as a result of competitive tendering. The terms of reference for the study and the trials it reproduced as Annexe 5 to their October 2000 report which is available on the DEFRA website.

The report was sent to the Department on 26 March and I expect to decide the next steps shortly. As I said in my reply of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 720W, the report has been placed on the DEFRA website as part of a three-month consultation exercise.

The trials methodology, including the method of selecting the processes involved and the industry sectors represented, is described in the report. I am grateful to all participants for their contribution to the trials. The list of participating operators could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The local authorities involved in the trials were City of York council, Fylde borough council, Wandsworth borough council, Rochdale metropolitan borough council, mid-Devon district council, Exeter city council, south Tyneside metropolitan borough council, Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council, Mansfield district council, Anglesey county council, Guildford borough council, Rochford district council, and Great Yarmouth port health authority. The two trade associations which submitted comments to the consultants were UK Steel and the Environmental Industries Association.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's policy with regard to bonfires, with specific reference to (a) the impact upon climate change and (b) nuisance to neighbours; what discussions she has had recently with (i) the Local Government Association and (ii) individual local authorities on the subject of bonfires; and what recent research her Department has undertaken into the impact of bonfires. [57108]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 May 2002]: Government policy regard to bonfires is:

(a) The Government does not consider bonfires to be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.

(b) Garden bonfires are a traditional way of disposing of household and garden rubbish but they can be a nuisance to neighbours and cause air pollution.

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Local authorities have powers under section 79 of the Environment Protection Act 1990 to stop people creating smoke that amounts to a statutory nuisance. Where an Environmental Health Officer considers a bonfire to be causing a statutory nuisance then he or she must issue an abatement notice against the person responsible or in certain circumstances, the owner or occupier of the property. This notice can require that the activity causing the nuisance stops completely or may restrict it to between certain hours, or can require that remedial action be taken.

(b) (i) My Department has not had recent discussions with the Local Government Association or individual Local Authorities on this particular issue;

(b) (ii) National Environmental Technology Centre (NETCEN), on behalf of DEFRA, carry out, and publish the results from, regular monitoring of elevated particulate concentrations at a variety of sites around the UK, particularly on and around the traditional bonfire night celebrations. They work closely with local authorities to assist in the collection of relevant data. The latest research undertaken by this Department is given at netcen/airqual.

Market Towns

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 3 April 2002, Official Report, column 1030W, on the New Deal for Market Towns, which Department the £37 million announced for market towns over three years is coming from; and what her Department's involvement is with the regional development agencies in administering this project. [56126]

Alun Michael: The £37 million for the Market Towns Initiative is provided by DEFRA, with £5 million going to the Countryside Agency and £32 million going (via DTI) to the regional development agencies. It is for the agencies to manage the programme. While not having day to day involvement DEFRA takes a close interest in progress and I have discussed implementation with RDA chairs and with the Countryside Agency.


Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 13 March 2002, Official Report, column 1149W, on refrigerators, when she will announce the further financial assistance to local authorities to meet the additional costs resulting from the implementation of EC regulation 2037/2000 in the financial year 2002–03; and if she will make a statement. [56498]

Mr. Meacher: A Government announcement on local authority funding will be made shortly.

Climate Change

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the external organisations set up by her as part of the Government's strategy to combat climate change, indicating (a) their remits and (b) their sources of funding. [50446]

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Mr. Meacher: I refer the hon. Member to my earlier reply given on 22 April 2002, Official Report, columns 12–13W.

GM Crops

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library scientific advice received from the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment on Field Crop Trials and Other Research for T-25 and Other Genetically Modified Maize. [53814]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 2 May 2002]: I have arranged for the following documents containing advice for the Secretary of State from ACRE on field crop trials and other research for T25 and other GM maize to be placed in the Library:

This information is also available on the public register at the DEFRA office in Ashdown House, London.

End of Life Vehicles Directive

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) discussions he has had with and (b) representations he has received from Rover Cars about their responsibilities under the End of Life Vehicles Directive for the recycling of motor vehicles built prior to 2001 by Leyland, British Leyland, BLMC and other associated companies. [56408]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

The Department has had a number of meetings with MG Rover, and with other vehicle manufacturers, about the potential impact of the End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive.

MG Rover addressed the issue of historic vehicle parc liabilities in both a reply to the DTI's consultation document and in evidence given to the Trade and Industry Committee inquiry into the ELV Directive. In these documents, MG Rover asked that legislation should not place it at a competitive disadvantage as a result of a legacy parc of brands owned or produced by its predecessors, and suggested that any financial contributions made by vehicle manufacturers should be based on current market share rather than on the number of a company's vehicles being scrapped. MG Rover has had the opportunity to expand upon these points at a number of subsequent meetings.


Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received regarding the role of the fluorocarbon industry in setting international standards regulating the use of ozone-damaging substances. [56042]

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Mr. Wilson [holding answer 13 May 2002]: We are aware of some international standards concerning fire- fighting equipment that uses ozone depleting substances but no representations about the involvement of the fluorocarbon industry in the setting of these standards have been received by DTI or DEFRA since June 2001. Use of ozone depleting substances is controlled by the Montreal Protocol and the EC Regulation 2037/2000 on substances which deplete the ozone layer, which are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. DEFRA and DTI received representations from various stakeholders, including from the fluorocarbon and other industries, during the negotiation of the EC Regulation.

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