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Recycling

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement about the availability of plastic recycling facilities (a) in England and (b) in Gloucestershire; [62067]

Mr. Meacher: The Department does not keep a central record of recycling facilities. However, I understand that two local authorities in Gloucestershire collect plastic for recycling—Gloucester City Council and Stroud District Council. In addition, Stroud District Community Recycling group operates a kerbside collection of materials including plastic.

We have set statutory performance standards for recycling or composting household waste for each local authority in England. Authorities are required, on average, to double recycling by 2003–04 and triple it by 2005–06. Future targets for local authorities will be even more demanding and many authorities will need to begin collecting plastic for recycling in order to meet these targets. It is up to local authorities to decide how best to meet their recycling standards, depending on local circumstances such as housing type. However, the Government is taking various steps which should help boost plastic recycling and create more facilities.

Last year the Government set up the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), with £40 million of Government and Devolved Administration funding, to tackle the market barriers to increased recycling. WRAP has identified plastics as a priority area in its business plan to 2003–04 and they intend to award a grant to address the lack of plastics reprocessing infrastructure, which should result in an additional 20,000 tonnes per annum of post- consumer plastic bottles being diverted from the waste stream. New plastic reprocessing facilities will create more demand for local authorities to collect recyclable plastic.

I recently announced the arrangements for the distribution of the £140 million fund to assist local authorities in meeting their recycling targets. We expect this fund to go towards developing new and existing recycling schemes and in some cases money from the fund may well be used to extend collection schemes to include plastics. We have specifically earmarked a proportion of this funding for tackling more difficult waste streams such as plastic.

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Waste Paper Exporters

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was granted to waste paper exporters under the PERN system in each of the last two years. [63775]

Mr. Meacher: In 2001, PERN revenue to accredited exporters for paper packaging waste was £3.3 million. This compares with PRN revenue to accredited reprocessors for paper packaging waste of £32 million.

In 2000, PERN revenue to accredited exporters for paper packaging waste was £476,294. This compares with PRN revenue for accredited reprocessors of £15.5 million.

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the reasons underlying the Government's use of the packaging export recovery note. [63780]

Mr. Meacher: Packaging waste recovery notes (PRNs) and packaging waste export recovery notes (PERNs) are the main method for businesses obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended) to demonstrate compliance with their recovery and recycling obligations. These regulations implement the recovery and recycling targets in the EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste 94/62/EC which has both environmental and single market objectives.

Under this directive, businesses with recovery and recycling obligations may carry out that recovery/ recycling either in the UK or elsewhere, subject to the usual rules on the export of waste. In the same way, other countries may have their waste recycled by UK reprocessors.

The PERN system provides a method for obligated businesses to demonstrate compliance with their obligations when they have recycling carried out overseas. In terms of operation, the PERN system is the same as the PRN system in that those issuing the PERN or PRN are scrutinised by the agency before they can be accredited, the system deters fraud, and allows resources to be directed at investment in the infrastructural development needed to meet targets.

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average value was of a packaging export recovery note in each of the last two years. [63777]

Mr. Meacher: In 2001, the average value of a packaging waste export recovery note (PERN) was, for the different packaging materials, as follows:

£

MaterialValue
Aluminium28
Steel22
Paper18
Glass13
Plastic24

Overall average per tonne was £20.

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Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the volume of waste paper exports was in each of the last two years under the PERN system. [63778]

Mr. Meacher: In 2001, 179,439 tonnes of paper packaging waste was exported. In 2000, 59,608 tonnes of paper packaging waste was exported.

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received on shortfalls in waste paper and other raw materials necessary for domestic paper mills; and what steps the Government have taken to address them. [63779]

Mr. Meacher: The Confederation of Paper Industries have written to explain that they are experiencing difficulties in attracting sufficient quantities of paper/ fibreboard packaging waste to UK mills. We are presently discussing this matter with other relevant Government Departments and will be discussing the way forward with the paper industry, with whom we are in regular touch.

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many packaging export recovery notes were granted in each of the last two years. [63776]

Mr. Meacher: In 2001, packaging waste export recovery notes (PERNs) were issued against 425,165 tonnes of packaging waste. In 2000, PERNs were issued against 315,841 tonnes of packaging waste.

Greenhouse Gases

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how large a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions will be achieved by the current adherents to the Bonn Agreement. [63520]

Mr. Meacher: The emissions limitation or reduction commitments of developed countries listed in Annexe B to the Kyoto Protocol, excluding the United States and Australia who have said they will not ratify, are equivalent to a reduction in emissions of some 4.7 per cent. below 1990 levels from these countries during the first commitment period, 2008 to 2012. This represents about 1.5 per cent. of global emissions in 1990.

Flora and Fauna

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many plant and animal species have become extinct in the United Kingdom in the last 25 years. [63517]

Mr. Meacher: The Joint Nature Conservation Committee have advised that over the past 25 years 13 plant and animal species in total have become extinct. However, some species such as the large blue butterfly has been reintroduced successfully.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) plant and (b) animal species are threatened with extinction in the United Kingdom. [63518]

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Mr. Meacher: My scientific advisers on wildlife issues, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, have advised that there are about 489 plant species (including a significant proportion of rare lower plants) and 1,801 animal species (the majority of which are invertebrates) which are classified as endangered and threatened with the possibility of becoming extinct. The Department's second annual report, reviewing progress towards sustainable development in 2001 states that in 1997 16 per cent. of all invertebrates, 21 per cent. lower plant species and 11 per cent. of all vascular plants in the UK are considered nationally scarce.

Kyoto Protocol

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the economic cost to the United Kingdom of global warming if the Kyoto Agreement is not fully implemented by all signatory countries. [63509]

Mr. Meacher: The costs to Annex 1 parties, including the UK, of meeting their emissions reduction and limitation commitments under the Kyoto protocol have been estimated as a reduction of less than 0.7 per cent. of GDP in 2010 according to assessments assessed by the Inter-Government Panel on Climate Change. If countries do not fully implement their commitments, this will have an adverse effect on the scale of the global effort to tackle climate change which could result in greater adverse impacts. Given uncertainties, these are not possible to quantify.


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