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21 Nov 2002 : Column 284W—continued

Doorstep Recycling

28. Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what help she is giving to local authorities to improve doorstep recycling [81234]

Mr. Meacher: Individual local authorities are in a position to decide how best to meet the requirements we have put in place to increase recycling, taking into account local circumstances.

However, we are providing additional funding to improve recycling rates, both through additional revenue support grant distributed to local authorities by formula and through a waste minimisation and recycling fund totalling #140 million over the two years 2002–03 and 2003–04. The latter is a challenge fund.

Under the allocations from that fund outside London for 2002–03, we supported 112 schemes, more than 30 of which involved additional kerbside collection outside London.

Waste Collection

29. Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to amend the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991. [81235]

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Mr. Meacher: We propose to amend the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 to allow waste collection authorities to serve notice on businesses, which will allow the authority to see their duty of care waste transfer notes. This should mean better enforcement of the duty of care requirements. The amended regulations should be laid before the House shortly.


30. Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Voluntary Initiative on pesticides use. [81236]

Mr. Morley: The Government are committed to reducing the environmental impacts of pesticides. To this end, the Government have invited industry to implement a package of measures, under the badge of the XVoluntary Initiative". These measures are designed to deliver real environmental benefits over a five year period, commencing in April 2001.

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The Government are closely monitoring progress on implementing the Voluntary Initiative. The Government hope that the initiative will produce results and urge farmers, growers and their advisers and suppliers to give it their full support. If the Voluntary Initiative does not produce tangible environmental benefits, the Government will need to take other action. One option would be a pesticides tax, which the Government believe could be a useful tool in conjunction with other measures.

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many food samples by type were tested for pesticide and other residues in each of the last 10 years. [81585]

Mr. Morley: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) conducts an annual pesticide residues surveillance programme for fruit and vegetables and other produce. This programme is now overseen by the independent Pesticide Residues Committee (PRC).

The number of samples tested in each of the last 10 years is indicated in the table.

Year1993199419951996199719981999200020012002 planned
Number of samples tested3,3713,7423,2303,4492,6482,1872,3742,3044,0034,000

The surveys cover fruit and vegetables, cereal products, animal products and miscellaneous items such as bottled water or composite foods like baby foods. But otherwise, the commodities tested vary from year to year. Samples of both imported and UK origin produce are tested. The 2001 survey generated results for over 130,000 pesticide commodity combinations.

The detailed results of the PRC's monitoring (and its predecessor the Working Party on Pesticide Residues (WPPR)) (including the commodities tested) have been published and can be viewed on the relevant websites: (PRC results) (WPPR results)

These electronic results go back as far as 1996. Hard copies going back to 1992 are available in the House Library.

The Department is also responsible for surveillance for veterinary residues. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) of Defra runs two surveillance schemes that look for residues of authorised veterinary medicines and banned substances. In total, over 35,000 samples are collected per annum. All of the results are published quarterly in the VMD's newsletter and annually since 1996 in a report on surveillance and previously in the VMD's Annual Report and Accounts. Copies of the Annual Reports are available in the House Library or the VMD's website

The main, statutory, scheme collects samples from farms and abattoirs from throughout the UK and covers: red meat, poultry, farmed fish, eggs, farmed and wild game, milk and honey.

The second scheme complements the statutory scheme and concentrates on raw imported produce and samples of popular processed foods collected from shops.

The two surveillance schemes are subject to independent scrutiny from the Veterinary Residues Committee, which was established in January 2001. Prior to that, the Advisory Group on Veterinary Residues oversaw the work.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has responsibility for pesticide residues and veterinary residues. Other food residues are a matter for the Food Standards Agency, who also takes the lead in monitoring food products for environmental contaminants.

Landfill Directive

31. Andrew Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress is being made by the UK in meeting the EU Landfill Directive. [81237]

Mr. Meacher: The Waste and Emissions Trading Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 14 November. This will set the framework for achieving the targets on municipal biodegradable waste in Article 5(1) and (2) of the Directive to be met by the United Kingdom. For England and Wales, other aspects of the Directive were covered in The Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002 no. 1559).

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Foot and Mouth

32. Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make a statement on her policy on vaccinating against foot and mouth disease. [81238]

Mr. Morley: The Government's policy is set out in their Response to the Reports of the Foot and Mouth Disease Inquiries (Cm 5637), published on 6 November. Section 4.3 in particular deals with vaccination.

Brassenthwaite Lake

33. Tony Cunningham: Tony Cunningham (Workington): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Evironment Agency has to deal with the environmental problems suffered by Brassenthwaite Lake [81239]

Mr. Morley: The main environmental problem suffered by Bassenthwaite Lake is eutrophication caused by an increase in nutrient levels, specifically phosphorous, due primarily to diffuse pollution and discharges from waste water treatment works.

Nutrient enrichment of Bassenthwaite Lake will be addressed within the framework of the Environments Agency's national strategy (set out in an Agency publication entitled XAquatic Eutrophication in England and Wales—A Management Strategy") and through a more targeted Bassenthwaite Lake Restoration Programme that is currently being developed.

Two initiatives currently under way are:

Fishing Industry (Scotland)

34. Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the Scottish Executive regarding the fishing industry in Scotland. [81240]

Mr. Morley: I always discuss fishing issues affecting all parts of the United Kingdom with the Scottish Minister for Environment and Rural Development, in preparation for meetings of the EU Council of Ministers, and often in between Council meetings as well. There is constant contact between fisheries officials from Defra and their opposite numbers in the Scottish Executive.

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