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Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to promote schemes which would encourage heat generation from renewable or coppiced wood crops. 
Mr. Morley: In April the Government launched the bioenergy capital grant scheme which includes funding for the development of the heat market utilising purpose grown energy crops or forestry wood fuel. Further funding will be available from a community and household capital grant scheme which will be launched later this year. In England, the energy crops scheme, part of the rural development programme, has allocated £29 million to solid biomass and this can support feedstocks for heat generation. Officials are also working closely with the local support teams set up by the Countryside Agency, through the community renewables initiative, to develop markets for renewables.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to promote ethanol production from renewable or coppiced wood crops. 
Mr. Morley: The Government-Industry Forum on the Non-Food Uses of Crops is studying the potential for bioethanol production. This includes an assessment of the new production technologies which utilise lignocellulosic feedstocks, including purpose grown crops and forest material, and which are likely to give a better environmental return. The Government have also launched a second round of the green fuel challenge inviting bids for pilot projects for biofuels, including bioethanol, which would qualify for duty reductions. In England, the energy crops scheme, part of the rural development programme, has allocated £29 million to solid biomass and this can support feedstocks for bioethanol production. Finally, the Government are considering carefully the recommendation of the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food that duty on biofuels should be reduced to the rates applied to other clean fuels.
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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the companies and their location contracted to take abandoned cars collected by local authorities in (a) London and (b) West Sussex. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 10 April 2002]: This information is not held centrally.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the population was exposed to noise levels of (a) 5565 dBLAeq over 24 hours and (b) over 65 dBLAeq over 24 hours in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Meacher: The Government do not assess the number of people, across the whole country, exposed to noise every year and so there are no data relating specifically to the last 12 months. Such an exercise is, however, carried out periodically and levels outside dwellings were last measured, in 2000 for England and Wales and 2001 for Scotland and Northern Ireland, at over 1,000 sites in total, for a 24 hour period. The results of this National Noise Incidence Survey, which I announced on 20 May 2002, established that 24 per cent. of the population was exposed to noise levels between 5565 dBLAeq over 24 hours and 2 per cent. of the population was exposed to noise levels greater than 65 dBLAeq over 24 hours. It should be noted that these dBLAeq levels represent the "free field" values outside dwellings. Such levels outside dwellings (i.e. ignoring sound reflected back from the façade of the dwelling) are, of course, greater than the actual levels experienced from external sources inside the home. I have arranged for copies of the report to be placed in the Libraries of both houses.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many domestic noise complaints were received by local authorities in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Meacher: Figures for 200001, published by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), were announced by myself on 20 December 2001. These show a fall in the 200001 figures to 5,001 domestic noise complaints received by local authorities per million population, from 5,149 per million population in 19992000. In 199899 the figure was 4,330 domestic noise complaints per million population.
These figures are compiled using questionnaires returned by local authorities in England and Wales on an annual basis. This information has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and is also available on the DEFRA and CIEH websites.
|Category of noise nuisance||Complaints per million population|
|Equipment in the street||209|
|Equipment in the street||113|
|Equipment in the street||107|
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Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support she offers the bee keeping industry in relation to bee disease; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The Department takes very seriously the threat to honeybees from pests and diseases and is funding a range of measures to protect bee health, at a cost of around £1.4 million in 200203. Under these measures, the National Bee Unit (NBU), part of the Central Science Laboratory, provides a free diagnostic and inspection service to the beekeeping sector in England as well as training and education to help beekeepers become more self-reliant through improved bee husbandry.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter of 2 July 2001 from the hon. Member for Torbay concerning the welfare of pigs in indoor intensive units. 
Mr. Morley: I am sorry there was a long delay in replying to the hon. Member's letter. A reply was sent on 16 March 2002.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what new arrangements will be necessary to meet the recovery monitoring requirements outlined in the EU WEEE Directive; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what assessment she has made of whether the new recovery and recycling facilities made necessary by the EU WEEE Directive will be in place by the time the legislation becomes UK national law. 
Mr. Meacher: The Directive is still the subject of negotiation and, therefore the precise requirements in terms of collection, recovery and recycling are not yet
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known. The UK will have 18 months from the date the Directive is adopted to transpose the Directive into national law.
A substantial quantity of WEEE is currently recovered in the UK, particularly the larger itemswhite goodssuch as fridges, cookers and dishwashers. There are adequate facilities for processing the existing disposals of WEEE through a wide range of re-use facilities, treatment sites and shredder operations licensed or registered exempt through the Environment Agency. These include community based refurbishment initiatives for household electrical items, scrap metal processors who take in white goods and shredders which take a range of WEEE in addition to white goods. Smaller items of WEEE, which generally have a high ratio of plastics to metal, are likely to prove the most challenging fraction of WEEE to collect and recycle.
We believe the existing recovery and recycling infrastructure will be adequate to meet the targets which are set in the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive. The UK has a long-established and extensive infrastructure for the dismantling, recovery and recycling of ELVs. The Environment Agency currently regulates around 3,500 sites that deal with ELVs. There may, however, need to be an expansion in the market for recycled material from ELVs; we therefore welcome the fact that the Directive encourages the use of such material in vehicle manufacture.
The European Commission has proposed a new Directive setting revised recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste for 2006. This is currently being considered by member states.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on designing and producing a new logo for her Department; for what reason a new logo was needed; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 22 April 2002]: The cost of designing and producing the interim DEFRA logo required at immediate notice when the department was set up in June 2001 and still currently in use was £18,998.00.
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