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Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent measures her Department has taken to ensure that the National Building Standards (Government Works) standard has been amended to reflect Government policy on timber procurement; and if she will make a statement. [77673]

Mr. Meacher: My officials contacted the National Building Specification, a trading name of RIBA Enterprises Ltd., on 1 October drawing their attention to the timber scoping study report (published on the internet at, and asking them to consider reviewing the NBS (Government

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Works) standard format to reflect Government policy on its own timber procurement. The Government committed Departments and their agencies in July 2000 actively to seek to procure their timber and timber products from legal and sustainably managed sources.

The National Building Specification does not contain specification clauses for the procurement of timber. It is left to the specifier to decide the content of the specification because currently, NBS considers the issue of sustainability complex, imprecise and the subject of conflicting information. However, general guidance to the National Building Specification refers to advice from the Forests Forever Campaign, that was established in 1990 by the Timber Trade Federation. This says: X. . . as yet there is no internationally agreed definition of, or accepted criteria for, 'sustainability'. At present a supplier may only be able to provide evidence that timber comes from a 'sustained yield' source i.e. managed to provide a continuous supply of timber . . .".

NBS is compiling a dossier on the subject of timber procurement and has agreed to meet officials to discuss the issue. In the meantime, we have asked Government Departments to ensure that anyone employed by Government on any construction, maintenance or supplies contract is made aware that the Government's policy on timber procurement should be complied with when drawing up specifications. This message will be reinforced by an Information Note to be issued by the Office of Government Commerce shortly.

Veterinary Surgeons and Students

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many unqualified people have been found guilty of impersonating a veterinary (a) surgeon and (b) student in each of the last 10 years. [76615]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 24 October 2002]: (a) Two. The first in 2001 and the second in 2002. (b) None.

Village Halls

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she is taking to improve funding arrangements for village halls; and if she will make a statement. [78435]

Alun Michael: Central funding for village halls, from the recent Government and the National Lottery has increased substantially in recent years. About #10 million per year was available in the 1980s, which increased to around #50 million per year in the late 1990s, largely due to the contribution from the Millennium Fund which funded over 500 village halls and community centres to the value of nearly #100 million. That programme was specifically intended as an injection of extra funds over the millennium period and has benefited many local communities. Since the millennium the annual assistance to village halls remains three times the previous level at approximately #33 million per year now.

It must be remembered that the finances of village halls have traditionally come from local sources with come support from central government and that this Government have been active in encouraging local

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action. While this approach has been productive the contribution of central government must not be seen as an alternative to local leadership and fund raising.

Nevertheless the Government are working with stakeholders to quantify the funding needs of village halls and how best to meet these needs. My officials met representatives of Action with Communities in Rural England and others on 22 October to discuss how available funds, from central and local government and the lottery distributors, can best support local investment in village halls and the services and facilities they provide for their local communities. I shall be meeting the National Village Halls Forum during November.

Waste Dumping

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations there are and how they can be enforced by (a) the Environment Agency and (b) local councils, to prevent developers dumping contaminated waste on sites that are being recontoured and are not licensed tips. [77241]

Mr. Meacher: The disposal and recovery of waste is regulated primarily through the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994, for which the Environment Agency is the competent authority and primary regulator. Paragraph 9 of schedule 3 of the 1994 regulations allows certain types of material to be spread to land for the purposes of reclamation or improvement under an exemption from waste management licensing. This material includes soil, rock, ash or sludge, or waste from any dredging of inland waters or arising from construction or demolition work. The material can only be spread provided it meets the requirements of Article 4 of the Waste Framework Directive ie to ensure protection of the environment and human health.

Any activity being carried out under this exemption must be registered with the Environment Agency, and failure to adhere to the 'general rules' of the exemption is an offence that is punishable by a fine if convicted in court.

The Government will be consulting shortly on amendments to some exemptions (including paragraph 9). These amendments are being designed to tighten the requirements and to prevent abuse of the controls.

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Along with the Environment Agency, local authorities have more general powers under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in relation to fly tipping, ie depositing controlled waste without a waste management licence ore registered exemption. In the event of a conviction, severe penalties are available to the courts including an unlimited fine or imprisonment of up to five years.

Waste Incinerators

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many waste incinerators are planned by waste disposal authorities; what the capacity is of each incinerator planned; and what information she collates on the contractual arrangements for waste disposal. [77745]

Mr. Meacher: There are at present 14 municipal solid waste incinerators in the whole of the UK, two of which are in Scotland. Details of facilities where planning applications are determined by local planning authorities are not held centrally.

There are many hundreds of other incinerators for sewage sludge, hazardous waste, clinical waste, production waste from factories etc. In England and Wales, the larger plant generally is regulated by the Environment Agency and details of their locations are available on the Environment Agency's public register. Other plant that is part of another process regulated by the Agency may not be shown separately on the register. Smaller plant is regulated by local authorities. In Scotland, all such plant are regulated by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

A new plant will need planning permission to start construction and a PPC permit to start operations. The table gives the number and status, as at 21 August 2002, of new municipal waste incineration plants in England and Wales. The table contains information shared with the Environment Agency by prospective applicants for pollution control permits. There may also be other planning applications or amendments which have been submitted to local authorities over which the Agency has not been consulted. The planning status may have been changed since the data were supplied.

The Department does not routinely collect information on contractual arrangements for waste disposal. It is the responsibility of waste disposal authorities to make appropriate contractual arrangements with respect to their requirements for waste disposal.

OperatorLocationSize: t/yrPlanning statusPermit status
NEWLINCS DevelopmentsGrimsby56,000GrantedIPC authorised—PPC application to be submitted
OnyxPortsmouth165,000Granted after appealIPC authorised—PPC application expected this year
OnyxMarchwood, Southampton160,000GrantedIPC authorised—PPC application being determined
Surrey Waste ManagementCapel, Surrey116,000Granted, but subject to judicial reviewPPC permit issued
GrundonsSlough400,000GrantedIPC authorised—PPC application expected
OnyxChineham, Surrey110,000GrantedPPC permit issued
HLC Waste Management ServicesNeath, Port Talbot85,000GrantedPPC permit issued
Waste Recycling GroupHull150,000Application refused—planning appeal in progressPPC permit issued
Kent EnviropowerMaidstone, Kent500,000GrantedPPC permit being determined
Riverside Resource RecoveryBelvedere, London500,000RefusedIPC authorised
ShanksMilton Keynes353,000Application submittedPPC application to be submitted if planning permission granted
OnyxSheffield225,000Application submittedPPC application determined
SitaRidham Dock, Kent200,000Subject to a planning appealNo application
County Environment ServicesRoche, Cornwall64,000Application submittedNo application

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