|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
12 Dec 2002 : Column 454Wcontinued
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the historical data which she collates on snowfall; and what the predicted future annual number of days when there is snowfall are for (a) London and (b) Edinburgh in (i) 2010, (ii) 2020, (iii) 2030 and (iv) 2050. 
Mr. Meacher: Defra does not collate historical data on snowfall. However, the Met Office, which is an agency of the Ministry of Defence, records daily snowfall frequency and amount at 80 stations in the UK. Most of these records go back to 1971. In April this year, the Department published new climate change scenarios for the UK. These scenarios include information on total winter snowfall amounts, but not number of snowfall days. The scenarios show that snowfall in the London and Edinburgh areas could be reduced by between 55 and 90 per cent. by the 2080s (compared to the 196190 baseline), depending on the degree of future climate change. Scaling these figures back to the years in question gives the following estimates of the reduction in snowfall amount at both locations, depending on whether there is a low or high degree of climate change:
These figures represent general trends, not predictions of the amount of snowfall in specific years, which will be greatly influenced by natural year-to-year variability, particularly in the first few decades of the century. Further information is available in the full report in the Libraries of both Houses.
12 Dec 2002 : Column 455W
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the predicted changes in the frequency of the number of days when there is snowfall in the United Kingdom under future scenarios of climate change, including regional variations. 
Mr. Meacher: In April this year, the Department published new XClimate Change Scenarios for the UK". The scenarios do not contain an analysis of the changes in the number of snowfall days, but show that climate change will cause the amount of snowfall to decline significantly throughout the UK in the future. By the 2080s, large areas of the UK are likely to experience quite long sequences of snowless winters. Coastal areas and the English lowlands are likely to show the largest percentage reductions (up to 90 per cent. or more by the 2080s compared to 196190 baseline), while the Scottish Highlands and parts of Northern Ireland may experience smaller percentage reductions (50 per cent. or less).
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the joint guidance issued by DEFRA and Her Majesty's Treasury, through the Office of Government Commerce, on Environmental Issues in Purchasing has been updated to take account of Government requirements that all timber purchased by Departments comes from legal and sustainable sources; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: OGC and Defra have agreed to revise their joint note on XEnvironmental issues in procurement" to reflect the Commission's interpretative communications on environmental and social issues and other developments such as the new EC procurement directive. It will also refer to new initiatives such as the Government's committed aim to procure its timber and timber products from legal and sustainably managed sources. Advice on the timber procurement strategy is currently given in Section 3 of the Green Guide for Buyers which, with other advice, is on the XSustainable Development in Government" website. URL: development.gov.uk/sdig/improving/contextf.htm.
12 Dec 2002 : Column 456W
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with turkey producers trade associations about the likely UK turkey production for the next 12 months. 
Mr. Morley: The principal regulation covering EU turkey production is Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2777/75 (as amended) which establishes the common organisation of the poultry meat market. Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1906/90 and Commission Regulation (EEC) No. 1538/91 (both as amended) implement harmonised standards for trade and quality.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement about the availability of free-range, domestic and organically produced turkeys for Christmas 2002. 
Mr. Morley: I expect there to be adequate supplies of turkey to meet consumer demand. The Christmas market is important to the turkey industry and accounts for nearly 40 per cent. of the 36 million turkeys produced each year. Most of the turkeys in the UK are reared indoors. Around 1.5 million turkeys are reared for Christmas as traditional farm fresh. Only 1 per cent. of the UK's annual turkey production is either free-range or organically produced.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) environmental and (b) financial implications of (i) waste incineration, (ii) landfill dumping and (iii) recycling of household waste. 
Mr. Meacher: The waste hierarchy set out in 'Waste Strategy 2000' (from reduction, through re-use, recycling, composting, and energy recovery to disposal to landfill) sets out the broad relative environmental implications of the different approaches to waste.
In deciding which form of treatment or disposal to adopt in each case, decision makers need to take account of what is the Best Practicable Environmental Option. The costs and environmental impact of both the facility and the associated transport of waste can vary greatly in each case.
12 Dec 2002 : Column 457W
However, the general position on the costs of each option was taken into account by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit in the recent report on waste. In response to that, the Government have already announced that they will consult on increasing the landfill tax to #35 per tonne for active wastes.
The Pre-Budget Report 2002 announced the Government's intention to commission a review of the environmental and health effects of all waste management and disposal options, including incineration. The case for using economic instruments for incineration will be considered in light of this work and in consultation with other stakeholders.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment has been conducted by (a) her Department and (b) the Environment Agency of the risk to river water quality from discharges from (i) abandoned mine workings, (ii) landfill sites, (iii) radioactive waste storage sites and (iv) animal burial mounds; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: (i) The Environment Agency and the Department hold a database of discharges from abandoned mines, with those presenting the greatest risk to the environment on an agreed Xpriority listing".
(ii) A full assessment of pollution risks and the preventative measures needed to protect surface waters is made when waste management licence applications are considered under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) (1990) Pt II, and under the Pollution Prevention Control (PPC) Act (2000). The agency has recently begun a programme of work under the EU Landfill Directive to review all operating landfill sites.
(iii) The agency has not carried out any assessments of risks to river quality from sites at which radioactive waste is stored. However, the agency undertakes an extensive programme of monitoring for radioactivity in the environment and would carry out a specific assessment of a particular site if this monitoring, or any other information, indicated cause for concern. For example, the principal site for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste is the Drigg site in Cumbria. The agency recently required BNFL to submit radiological assessments for the site, which indicated that the levels of risks generally meet current regulatory requirements and that the site can be operated safely for the foreseeable future. The agency is carrying out an independent appraisal of the BNFL assessment.
(iv) The agency recently undertook a specific water quality monitoring programme at selected farm-burial sites which has now been handed over to DEFRA. DEFRA also undertakes water quality monitoring of surface and groundwater at all mass burial sites. The agency continues to audit and monitor water quality at all its routine monitoring points.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) European Directives and (b) other regulations under which pollution to rivers from
12 Dec 2002 : Column 458W
discharges from (i) abandoned mine workings, (ii) landfill sites, (iii) radioactive waste storage sites and (iv) animal burial mounds are covered. 
(ii) From landfill sites, Waste Framework Directive 1975 (75/442/EEC), as amended by 1991 (91/156/EEC) and Council Directive 1999/31/EC on the Landfill of Waste, Implemented in England and Wales by the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No. 1559).
(iii) There are no directives or regulations relating specifically to discharges to rivers from radioactive waste storage sites, but Directive 96/29/Euratom and the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 are relevant to the control of radioactive discharges generally.
(iv) Animal carcass disposal is covered by Council Directives 90/667/EEC (Animal Waste Directive) and 80/68/EEC (Groundwater Directive), the Animal By-Products Order (ABPO) (1999) and the Groundwater Regulations (1998).
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|