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Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what representations her Department has received regarding (a) leakage levels of technetium-99 into groundwater at Sellafield and (b) the point source origin of such leakage;  (2) what representations her Department has received regarding the effect on the food chain of technetium-99 leakage into groundwater. 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessement she has made of the possible environmental policy gains that would arise from the implementation of the draft EU Directive on environmental liability. 
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Margaret Beckett: The extended partial Regulatory Impact Assessment, submitted to Parliament (COM (02) 17) considers the potential gains that would arise from implementation of the draft Directive. It concludes that much of the environmental damage covered within the scope of the proposed Directive is already subject to a number of domestic regimes.
However, the assessment does establish that there could potentially be positive environmental benefits, resulting in particular from the setting of higher standards of remediation that would require more extensive remediative action. Furthermore, the introduction of equivalent remediation, which would require restorative action to be carried out at an alternative site, and the concept of compensation for interim losses would go further than existing legislation.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library copies of responses to the Government's public consultation on the draft EU Directive on environmental liability. 
Margaret Beckett: The public consultation on proposals for a Directive on environmental liability ended on 24 May 2002 and a study has been undertaken of all of the responses received. The responses helped to inform the UK position at the June Environment Council and the extended partial Regulatory Impact Assessment.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's policy is on recycling sewage sludge on land as an environmentally sustainable option; when the revised regulations will be available for consultation; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: As stated in its Waste Strategy 2000, the Government considers that recovering value from sewage sludge through spreading on agricultural land is the best practicable environmental option in most circumstances. Agricultural use of sludge brings savings of several million pounds in fertiliser costs and the organic matter improves soil structure, its workability and water holding capacity.
The Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989 (SI 1263) as amended in 1990 (SI 880), impose controls on the application of sludge to agricultural land to prevent the accumulation of heavy metals in the soil and to
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prevent bacteriological contamination of crops. These controls are supplemented by a non-statutory Code of Practice and the "Safe Sludge Matrix" a voluntary agreement drawn up in 1998 by Water UK (representing the water companies) and the British Retail Consortium.
The Government welcomes the development of the Matrix and has indicated that it will reflect the tighter standards it contains in revised regulations. We plan to issue a consultation document seeking views on the proposed revisions in the very near future.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has made to other member states of the European Union since the refusal of the French Government to lift the ban on the import of UK beef within the 15 day period set down by the European Court. 
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she plans to have with French representatives concerning the export of beef from the UK to France. 
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidelines have been issued to the Parrett catchment project by the Government; and what its remit is. 
Mr. Morley: The Parrett Catchment project is a local partnership and as such is not subject to Government guidelines. We have welcomed the initiative and continue to encourage the project to analyse proposed options further and to integrate with existing government sponsored initiatives such as the Catchment Flood Management Plan.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she has taken to ensure civic amenity sites will be able to continue accepting end-of-life electrical products if they are reclassified as hazardous waste. 
Mr. Meacher: The Spending Review announced on 15 July that additional money would be available to local authorities via the EPCS block in future years. This will enable local authorities to make any modifications to the licence for a civic amenity site that may be necessary. We are aware that local authorities have some concerns about the implementation domestically of the European Waste Catalogue and we are looking at ways of minimising any impact.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list for each area-based initiative for which her Department is responsible the amount originally budgeted for in
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(a) 200001 and (b) 200102, stating in each year what funds budgeted for were not spent and if they were carried forward. 
Mr. Morley: I refer the hon. Member to the Answer given by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Christopher Leslie) on 24 July, Official Report, column 1206W.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she will take under the CAP reforms to ensure Exmoor gets grant aid for environmental projects. 
Mr. Morley: The European Commission's proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy include ideas for the progressive transfer of resources away from production subsidies towards wider social and economic objectives. The proposals will be subject to negotiations in the Council of Ministers.
The Government supports the general direction of the reform proposals, but it is too early to say what the outcome will be in terms of extra grant aid for environmental projects. Exmoor is already designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area, and is eligible for grants under the ESA scheme which are only available in the 10 per cent. of England that is so designated.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 717W, what conclusions have been reached by the Sustainable Procurement Group on enabling Government departments to work more closely with their suppliers with the intention of notifying suppliers more effectively of the Government's view of hydrofluorocarbons as a non-sustainable technology. 
Mr. Meacher: The Secretary of State has established a high level inter-departmental Sustainable Procurement Group to look at how sustainable development can be more fully embedded into central-government procurement. One angle is that we are trying to ensure that procurement practitioners comply fully with Government policy and ensure that Government procurement properly supports sustainable development. That would include Government policy on HCFC/HFC free products wherever possible.
HFCs are not sustainable in the long termthe Government believes that continued technological developments will mean that HFCs may eventually be able to be replaced in the applications where they are used.
1. No purchase of products or equipment containing ozone depleting substances such as hydrochloro- fluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, 111 trichloroethane and bromochloromethane, which are banned or being phased out under EC Regulation.
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2. Products should be free of gaseous and non-gaseous substances that contribute to climate change where it is safe, cost-effective and technically feasible to do so. Substances with a high global warming potential which should be avoided wherever practicable include HFCsused in refrigerants and fire extinguishing systems.
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