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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place a list of FTSE 350 companies and their reporting on their environmental performance in the Library; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: In April we wrote to companies in the FTSE350 asking them what they had done to respond to the Prime Minister's challenge to report on their environmental performance. We are currently awaiting a few late replies and will shortly be able to provide a final update to the list placed in the Library of the House in response to the hon. Gentleman's question of 21 March, showing FTSE 350 companies with details of their reporting.
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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps her Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take in relation to the development of labelling of environmental information for consumers; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Meacher: The Government are keen to ensure that consumers have clear and relevant information about the environmental effects of consumer products. It has appointed the Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the Environment (ACCPE) to look at opportunities for developing better quality environmental information, as part of the Committee's remit to advise on ways of reducing the impacts of consumer products on the environment.
The Government are considering a number of ACCPE's recommendations for improving product information. These include proposals for improving the quality of self-declared environmental claims, which are being explored further by the Department taking into account stakeholders' views. The Government are also considering ACCPE's proposals for developing a common label for homes, cars and domestic appliances, based on the format of the EU Energy label. In the case of homes, we are looking to develop a methodology for assessing the energy efficiency of existing homes more cost effectively, and this will include a look at the possibilities for comparative energy rating. A comparative label for cars is being considered by DfT in the light of the response to their recent consultation paper on this topic.
ACCPE has also proposed setting up a new internet information service which could provide advice and guidance on the environmental impacts of products and the scope for making more sustainable consumption choices. It recommended that the Government should first commission a feasibility study into such a project, and this has been done. Having considered the results of this study, ACCPE have made further recommendations in their second report, "Action for Greener Products: A toolbox for change", published in May, about the practicalities of piloting a new service. The Government are currently considering how a pilot can be taken forward. Copies of ACCPE's second report have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
We have also published, distributed and continue to promote a number of information leaflets to help business and consumers in this area. These include "Hi I'm Green" which is a guide to the most commonly occurring environmental claims and labels on products and explains how to ask for further information; "Energy labels for refrigeration and washing applianceshelping you make the right choice", which outlines the EU energy label scheme; and "Pick the flowerthe ecolabel" which explains the EU ecolabelling scheme. Copies of all these leaflets have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) guidance and (b) legislation is (i) in place and (ii) planned with regards to labelling of environmental information for consumers; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The Department's Green Claims Code provides guidance on good practice in the making of environmental claims. It is intended as an introduction to the more detailed guidance in the International Standard ISO14021. The Department has no plans at present to revise the Code.
There is no specific piece of legislation regarding environmental information for consumers, but trading standards officers have powers under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 to deal with claims that are demonstrably false. The Director General of Fair Trading can also take action against misleading environmental claims under the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988. The Government are committed to ensuring that the regulatory framework for tackling misleading green claims is effective and will keep the need for any new legislation under review.
In respect of individual environmental labelling schemes, the European Community Energy Label must be displayed on all new domestic refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezer combinations, washing machines, electric tumble dryers, combined washer-dryers, dishwashers and lamps displayed for sale, hire or hire-purchase. The UK and other member states have until 1 January 2003 to transpose Directives 2002/31/EC and 2002/40/EC which will extend this requirement to household air conditioners and electric ovens. Details of relevant legislation can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/mtp/ index.htm#S3
A separate scheme, the European ecolabel award, is designed to encourage manufacturers to reduce the environmental impacts of a growing range of products, and to encourage consumers to choose products with the label. The scheme was set up in 1992 by EU Regulation 88092, which was revised in 2000 by Regulation 19802000. As Regulations, these took effect automatically in UK law without further legislation.
Participation by manufacturers is voluntary, but under the Regulations member states are required to promote the scheme and to designate competent bodies to run it. In the UK the scheme is administered by the Secretary of State. DEFRA has a website giving guidance about the scheme http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/ecolabel/index.htm, and has produced explanatory and promotional leaflets about it for business and consumers.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department is producing a strategy to reduce emissions of dioxins and dioxin contamination of food. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 June 2002]: With the devolved Administrations, other Government Departments and Agencies my Department will shortly be producing a UK consultation paper on dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs. This will draw on the wealth of recent information coming from scientific research, both in the
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UK and internationally, to improve our understanding of their formation, emissions, environmental transport and effects.
This consultation paper will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to consider and comment on what further actions will be required, as part of an UK action plan, to continue the trend of reducing environmental and human exposure to these compounds.
Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of information compiled by the insurance industry on flood risk, based upon Environment Agency maps. 
Mr. Morley: Ministers, and officials in DEFRA and the Environment Agency are in active discussions with the insurance industry in developing a shared understanding of genuine flood risk. In order to achieve this, DEFRA and the EA are working together to build upon the information provided by the current flood plain maps to include information on present and future flood defences. Once more informative data on risk have been developed it will be shared with the industry so that they may use it when making commercial decisions based on risk assessments. The Department continues to pursue its aim to reduce flood risk including through significant investments in flood alleviation measures.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when in 1991 the Health and Safety Executive met representatives from the VMD and the National Office for Animal Health to discuss sheep dip surveys; and if she will place the minutes of the meetings in the Library. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 June 2002]: A meeting took place on 25 February 1991 between VMD, HSE and the National Office for Animal Health (NOAH) to discuss the HSE safety survey on sheep dips and Controls of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) in general. Despite extensive searches of records by all three parties in response to earlier inquiries, no minutes from that meeting can be traced.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when in 1993 non-OP ingredients in sheep dip were removed from the market; and when the licence for such products was withdrawn by the VMD; 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 June 2002]: Almost all veterinary medicinal products contain ingredients in addition to their main active ingredient. Minor changes to these ingredients in individual veterinary medicinal products are not unusual.
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is available on the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)'s website. Copies of this report have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The manufacture of UK authorised OP sheep dip products containing phenols ceased on 31 March 1993.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to secure publication of the 1992 study into sheep dip products carried out by the Central Veterinary Laboratory for the VMD. 
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