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7 Jan 2003 : Column 25W—continued


Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the rate of piglet death in (a) farrowing crates and (b) non-crate systems. [87056]

Mr. Morley: We have, for a number of years, funded research directly or indirectly related to the welfare of the sow and her piglets, from farrowing to weaning. A key issue emerging is that changes in farrowing systems to improve sow welfare can lead to an increase in the death rate of the piglets. As a result, we are not yet able unreservedly to recommend free-farrowing systems for widespread commercial adoption.

Our research, and that of others, continues. Our aim is to reach a position where it is possible to avoid the close-confinement of all sows.

Pollution Targets

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list her Department's policies that have as one of their objectives helping the UK meet its Kyoto carbon dioxide emissions targets. [87734]

Mr Meacher [holding answer 19 December 2002]: The UK's emissions reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce its emissions of a basket of six greenhouse gases to 12.5 per cent. below 1990 levels over the commitment period 2008–12. Carbon dioxide, which is the most important greenhouse gas, is one of the six gases in the basket and although the UK does not have a specific carbon dioxide emissions reduction target under the Protocol, the Government and the devolved administrations have set themselves a domestic goal of a 20 per cent. reduction in the UK's carbon dioxide emissions below 1990 levels by 2010. The policies and measures set out in the UK Climate Change Programme (CCP) therefore focus mainly on reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for the following policies and measures in the CCP: the domestic greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme; the climate change agreements; the Energy Efficiency Commitment; the New Home Energy Efficiency Scheme; community heating; and the Government's combined heat and power (CHP) strategy. Other policies and measures in the CCP are the responsibility of the devolved administrations or other government departments including, the Department for Transport, the Office of

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the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department of Trade and Industry, Her Majesty's Treasury, and the Forestry Commission.

Rare Animal Breeds

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she takes to ensure that rare breeds of animals do not die out. [87756]

Mr. Morley: The Government have made a commitment under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to conserve genetic resources for food and agriculture in the UK. The UK National Co-ordinator for Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR) in Defra has responsibility for co-ordinating the activities of NGOs, breed societies, research institutes and Government to ensure that appropriate action is being taken to save breeds at risk and to avoid duplication of effort. Defra is in the process of publishing a UK country report on FAnGR which makes several recommendations on the conservation and utilisation of the UK's breeds at risk, including the creation of a national steering committee to oversee a national action plan for the maintenance of our native breeds. (See Defra website for a copy of the final draft of the report,


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to increase recycling rates from (a) household and (b) business and industry waste. [87131]

Mr. Meacher: Waste Strategy 2000 set a national target of recycling or composting at least 25 per cent. of household waste by 2005, 30 per cent. by 2010 and 33 per cent. by 2015. To underpin these targets, we set statutory performance standards for recycling for all local authorities in England. Authorities are required, on average, to double recycling by 2003–04 and triple it by 2005–06.

However, we do not expect local authorities to do this alone. The Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services (EPCS) spending block, which includes waste management, will be increased by #671 million by 2005–06. An additional #355 million of future PFI credits for waste projects over the same period have also been provided. The National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund of #140 million has distributed funds to a wide variety of schemes aimed at increasing household recycling rates.

We have taken steps to ensure an increase in the amount of commercial and industrial waste recycled. Base line figures given for 1998–99 placed the rate of recycling for industrial and commercial waste at 37 per cent. This compares with the figure of 9 per cent. for household waste at the same time. In order to encourage businesses to further reduce waste and to put to better use any waste that is produced the Government have set the target to reduce by 2005 the amount of industrial and commercial waste sent to landfill to 85 per cent. of that landfilled in 1998. Producer responsibility is

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another tool we have to encourage increased reduction, recycling and recovery from producers (and those involved in the distribution and sale of goods)

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proposals she has to develop a market for recycled plastic; and if she will make a statement. [87343]

Mr. Meacher: The Government established the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to promote more sustainable waste management by working to create more stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products, and through tackling the barriers to increased reuse and recycling.

WRAP has identified plastics as a priority area in its business plan to 2003–04. WRAP'S priorities in this area include marketing existing recycled plastic products and removing discriminatory standards. One of WRAP'S aims is to achieve a 20,000 tonne increase in the mixed plastics processing for industrial products by 2003–04.

Another source of investment into markets for recycled plastic is PRN and PERN revenue raised from businesses which are obligated to recover and recycle packaging waste under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended).

The revenue accredited reprocessors receive for PRNs and PERNs is invested in three principal areas: collection capacity, end use markets and reprocessing capacity. In 2001, just over 10 per cent. of the #70 million PRN and PERN revenue was invested in end use markets. In particular, PRN and PERN revenue for plastic in 2001 was #8,591,128 of which #1,194,532 was spent on developing end use markets and #36,140 has been allocated for future investment.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what schemes exist to recycle (a) Christmas trees and (b) Christmas wrapping paper; what incentives exist to encourage such recycling; and what guidance Government Departments and non-departmental public bodies have been given under the Government sustainability initiatives to recycle such trees and paper. [87583]

Mr Meacher: DEFRA does not run schemes or provide specific guidance to Government bodies or others on the recycling of Christmas wrapping paper and Christmas trees. However, I am aware that some local authorities report the number of Christmas trees they recycle to the environmental charity EnCams. Figures for 2002 show that nearly two million trees were recycled by the authorities in England and Wales that reported their performance. We would expect those authorities that carry out collection and recycling of waste paper would recycle Christmas wrapping paper along with the rest of the waste paper they collect.

While there is no special provision made for the recycling of Christmas wrapping paper and Christmas trees, we have provided significant additional funding to local authorities to increase the proportion of waste that they recycle through the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services (EPCS) spending block, which

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includes waste management services, through Private Finance Initiative funding for waste and through the Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund.

The New Opportunities Fund will also distribute #38.75 million to expand community sector waste reuse, recycling and composting in England and #3.25 million for similar schemes in Wales.

Refuse Collection

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding has been allocated by central Government to promote kerbside collection of refuse in each of the last 10 years. [87156]

Mr. Meacher: The Government distributes money for refuse collection through the environmental protective and cultural services standard spending assessment (EPCS SSA) which covers a wide range of services including waste. SR2002 announced an increase in EPCS of #671 million by 2005–06. This is on top of the #1.1 billion announced in SR2000.

The Government do not specify how funds distributed via EPCS SSA should be spent. It is for each local authority to decide how much of its funding it allocates to any particular area. The information requested is therefore not available.

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