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19 Sept 2002 : Column 250W—continued

Overseas Visits

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the overseas trips on departmental business that have been undertaken in each of the last five years by officials in her Department; and what the (a) cost, (b) purpose and (c) result was in each case. [68733]

Mr. Morley: All overseas travel by officials in my Department is undertaken in accordance with the principles set in Chapter 8 of the Civil Service Management Code, and the detailed rules and guidance are set out in our Departmental staff handbook.

The detailed information requested about individual trips is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

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Nitrate Vulnerable Zone

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the administrative and regulatory costs to the Environment Agency of designating (a) 55 per cent. and (b) 100 per cent. of England as a nitrate vulnerable zone. [68103]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 10 July 2002]: Following a detailed consideration of all the issues raised during the consultation process, the Government announced on 27 June that it intends to adopt the targeted approach, and designate 55 per cent. of England as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs).

The Environment Agency is in the process of assessing the costs and resources required for administering and enforcing the new designations under the Nitrates Directive. Initial indications are that both options cost around £2 million each, excluding costs arising from staff training and resolving boundary disputes. This similarity between costs arises because even if the whole territory had been designated, the Agency would have adopted the same priority based approach to enforcement that it will be using in the newly designated areas.

Illegal Timber Imports

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the illegal importation of timber from the Amazon basin. [69487]

Mr. Meacher: Imports of illegally logged timber can only be seized at import by HM Customs and Excise where the timber concerned is covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and can be identified as having been imported in breach of its requirements. The same is true of other Member States of the EU. Thus, even if producing countries establish independent verification of legal compliance with chain-of-custody tracking to ensure timber was

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legally or illegally logged, Customs cannot seize or reject imports of illegally logged timber unless they are covered by CITES. New EU-wide legislation is needed to empower customs authorities to prevent entry of illegally logged timber. The UK is working within the EU to identify what legislation is needed and how it can be introduced.


Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the revised European Waste Catalogue and Hazardous Waste list published in February 2001 will come into force in the United Kingdom. [69234]

Mr. Meacher: The UK will implement the European Waste Catalogue which now incorporates the Hazardous Waste List as part of its review of the Special Waste Regulations. A second round of consultation on the review will take place later this year and amended regulations are likely to come into force during 2003.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is for disposal of waste by landfill for each London borough in (a) the current year and (b) each of the last five years; and what her Department's prediction is for 2003–04. [71111]

Mr. Meacher: Estimates on the disposal of waste by landfill are collected from London boroughs in the Department's annual Municipal Waste Management Survey. Four year's results from 1996–97 to 1999–2000 are set out in the table below. The latest data for 2000–01 will become available in August.

In view of local authority recycling and composting targets and the forthcoming Landfill Directive targets to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste to landfill, we would expect to see disposal to landfill by local authorities to begin to decline over the next few years.

Municipal Waste sent to Landfill thousand tonnes

London Borough of BexleyUA66373742
Corporation of LondonUA59646870
London Borough of Tower HamletsUA89898492
Westminster City CouncilUA9191117107
London Borough of GreenwichUA15232347
London Borough of LewishamUA3336
London Borough of SouthwarkUA101108112114
London Borough of BromleyUA144153150169
London Borough of CroydonUA158168165169
London Borough of Kingston-upon-ThamesUA71696470
London Borough of MertonUA91949699
London Borough of SuttonUA66668177
East London Waste AuthorityWDA382404432459
North London Waste AuthorityWDA351444457380
West London Waste AuthorityWDA704704711759
Western Riverside Waste AuthorityWDA441458454462

UA—Unitary Authority

WDA—Waste Disposal Authority

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Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the available landfill waste disposal capacity for London boroughs; and if she plans to increase capacity. [71112]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 19 July 2002]: The availability of landfill capacity is a commercial matter for waste management companies. It is however recognised that suitable sites for landfill in the south-east of England are diminishing and planning authorities should take this into account. While the Government accepts that landfill has a part to play in waste disposal, it believes that the re-use, recycling and recovery of waste offers a much more sustainable future.


David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the capacity is in the United Kingdom for the reprocessing of (a) paper, (b) wood and (c) plastic. [69116]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 11 July 2002]: The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimates that the UK capacity for the recycling of paper, wood and plastic is as follows:


Recycling Options2001 est. (Kt)
Other grades e.g. tissueTbc


Capacity and utilisation estimates for the UK. Sources: Timber Packaging and Pallet Confederation (TIMCON), Wood Recyclers Assocation (WRA), Wood Panel Industries Federation (WPIF) and The Composting Association (TCA).

Recycling Options2001 actual (Kt)Est. capacity 2002 (Kt)
Panel board manufacturing675750
Other mechanical recycling3050


The forecast capacities for 2002 are derived from current industry estimates that are based on prevailing economic circumstances and the availability of wood waste (predominantly packaging material) that is suitable for recycling. The actual infrastructure is capable of consuming more wood waste but its further uptake is constrained by economic and technical barriers.


Capacity and utilisation estimates for the UK. Source British Plastic Federation (BPF)—Recycling Council (RC).

Recycling stagesCapacity (Kt)Utilisation (Kt)
melt process400250


The utilisation level is subject to market conditions as virgin or other non recycled material can replace recycled material if it becomes cheap enough or availability of recycled drops off.

The figures are derived from a market study recently delivered to WRAP for which the analysis of results is incomplete. Therefore, the information should be treated as indicative only. More detailed estimates will be generated in due course.

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Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many consultation documents published in 2001 in (a) electronic and (b) printed form her Department has monitored and evaluated in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Written Consultations. [69848]

Mr. Morley: All consultations were available in both electronic and printed form. Each was monitored and evaluated against key criteria set out in the Code of Practice on Written Consultations and which formed part of our annual report to Cabinet Office. Information was gathered on the number of consultations undertaken, periods given for responses, how responses were analysed, the level of complaints received about the consultation process, whether written consultations were supplemented by additional public involvement and examples of consultations that had a direct influence on policy or service delivery.

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