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Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many projects British oil and gas companies have initiated under the Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism; what the location and nature of each project is; and what involvement the Government have had in this process. [51956]

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Mr. Meacher: At present there are no CDM projects as the detailed procedures to validate and register CDM projects are still under discussion by the CDM executive board, the body established at international level to operationalise the CDM.

In the interim, the Government have established the Climate Change Projects Office (CCPO) to advise UK business of the opportunities arising from CDM and joint implementation (JI) projects. I understand from that office that many companies, including oil and gas companies, are currently exploring the possibility of undertaking pilot projects worldwide in anticipation of finalised rules and procedures.

Country Land and Business Association

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she (a) last met and (b) will next meet representatives of the Country Land and Business Association to discuss issues relating to the future viability of agriculture and the rural economy. [54494]

Alun Michael: Representatives of the Countryside Landowners and Business Association are included in a variety of meetings to help DEFRA promote the future of agriculture and the rural economy. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, last met representatives of the CLA formally when she attended a reception which they hosted for Young Farmers at the Royal Cornwall Show on 15 September last year. She also attended a summer reception hosted by Anthony Bosanquet, President of the CLA on 3 July.

All DEFRA Ministers meet CLA representatives in a variety of settings, I do on both a formal and informal basis, often several times in a week. For instance the President of the CLA is a member of the Rural Affairs Forum which meets regularly, and which I chair. He and his predecessor were members of the Rural Task Force and he has taken a leading role in the "Your Countryside, You're Welcome" campaign to boost tourism in the rural economy. On 15 May I spoke at a reception hosted jointly by the CLA, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the East of England Development Agency. I am meeting the President for a wide ranging discussion today (21 May).

My officials are also in frequent contact with the CLA to discuss matters relating to agriculture and the rural economy.

Waste Composting

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate she has made of the proportion of household waste which (a) could potentially be composted and (b) is composted; and if she will make a statement; [54601]

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Mr. Meacher: The Landfill Directive, requires significant reductions in the amount of biodegradable municipal waste landfilled to 75 per cent. of that produced in 1995 by 2006, 50 per cent. by 2009 and 35 per cent. by 2016 (although countries such as the UK may use, if they wish, a derogation of up to four years for meeting each of these targets). To help achieve this, "Waste Strategy 2000" set targets for recycling and composting of household waste. In 2001 the Government set statutory performance standards for each local authority in England, which require them to double the overall recycling and composting rate by 2003–04 and treble it by 2005–06 over 1998–99 levels.

The Government strongly support composting as a way of disposing of biodegradable waste, and believes it has an important role to play. We are actively encouraging the composting of green waste at home, at municipal civic amenity sites and when separately collected by local authorities.

Potentially, all biodegradable waste can be composted, although some may be unsuitable for animal health reasons or because non-compostable wastes are present in the mix. Also, some wastes suitable for the composting process are better reused, recycled or recovered in other ways. "Waste Strategy 2000" (Part 2) indicates that 21 per cent. of household waste may be putrescible, while some 62 per cent. in total may be biodegradable. These proportions may vary seasonally (depending on green waste for example) and according to the amount of waste separated for recycling and home composting.

Figures from the DEFRA Municipal Waste Management Survey show there have been substantial increases in the amount of household waste collected for composting by local authorities in England and Wales—from 461,000 tonnes in 1998–99 to 670,000 tonnes in 1999–2000.

Data on the percentage of waste composted are available for household waste only. Household waste amounts to approximately 90 per cent. of all municipal waste. The latest results taken from the Department's Municipal Waste Management Survey are as follows:

Household waste composted(12) in England and Wales


(12) Includes organic materials (kitchen and garden waste) collected for centralised composting schemes from households via kerbside schemes or taken by householders to civic amenity sites. Home composting is not included.


The equivalent figures for 2000–01 are not yet available.

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps her Department is taking to introduce best practice guidelines and safety regulations for the composting of household waste; [54550]

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Mr. Meacher: The Government strongly support composting as a way of treating biodegradable waste, improving soil quality and replacing non-renewable products such as peat. We are actively encouraging the composting of green waste—at home, at municipal civic amenity and community composting sites and when separately collected by local authorities. Guidance on composting, including on safety issues, is produced by the Environment Agency.

To support composting activity, the 2000 spending review allocated £220 million Private Finance Initiative funding for waste management that can be used to deliver increased recycling/composting rates. It also established a new £140 million household waste and recycling fund to help local authorities meet their statutory performance standards for recycling and composting.

Although animal health legislation currently prohibits the land spreading of composted kitchen/catering waste which might contain meat, we have commissioned a risk assessment to assess the risks to public, animal and plant health from such compost. In the light of that assessment, we will review the legislation.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) are currently working with the Composting Association to develop the existing industry standard for compost, to achieve British Standards Institute (BSI) accreditation. The delivery of these accredited industry standards for compost will help to create markets for organic waste derived products. The creation of these new markets will be relevant to the retail sector when considering whether composting has a part to play in its waste management strategy (bearing in mind the present legal requirements).

"Waste Strategy 2000" places composting high in the hierarchy of preferred waste management options, and set targets for England and Wales to recycle or compost at least 25 per cent. of household waste by 2005. This national target is backed up by statutory targets for each local authority in England for 2003–04 and 2005–06, and the 2000 spending review identified substantial additional resources to help deliver the statutory performance standards on recycling and composting.

Illegal Timber Imports

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what actions her Department is taking to ensure that no illegally logged timber enters the United Kingdom. [55294]

Mr. Meacher: The actions that the Department and the Department for International Development are taking to combat illegal logging are:

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With regard to (e) the Governments of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Indonesia signed on 18 April 2002 a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation to improve Forest Law Enforcement and Governance and to combat illegal logging and the international trade in illegally logged timber and timber products. Copies of the Memorandum have been placed in the Library of both Houses. We are discussing the content of the memorandum with a number of both timber producing and timber consuming countries, including United States, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Malaysia as a possible model for taking forward actions on combating illegal logging on a bilateral, regional and multilateral basis.

With regard to (a), (c), (d) and (g), it is important to remember that combating illegal logging and associated trade requires effort from both timber producing and consuming countries. Timber producing countries are responsible for defining and enforcing the national legislative and regulatory frameworks that define legality. We are helping them to do so effectively.

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