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4 Mar 2003 : Column 892W—continued

Illegal Bush Meat

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action her Department is taking to tackle the illegal importation of bush meat [100395]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

Bush meat is generally taken to refer to meat from wild animals hunted for food. Controls on its import arise from both the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and from controls imposed to protect animal health.

Customs are responsible for the enforcement of CITES restrictions and they take action to target, intercept, seize and where appropriate prosecute offenders.

In controls to protect animal health Customs' role is to support the lead enforcement authorities, port health authorities and Defra. In 2002, Customs deployed additional resources in this role. A Cabinet Office study has recommended that the anti-smuggling role is transferred to Customs is actively working with Defra to implement this change as soon as practicable.

Domestic Waste

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what investigations she has carried out into the amount of household domestic waste which has been separated for recycling by the householder but has ended up in landfill (a) by Project Integra and (b) in England. [100033]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 28 February 2003]: We do not collect this information. Under the best value performance indicators the information collected is household waste sent for recycling; this would not distinguish any amount subsequently sent to landfill because it was not recycled.

Environment Agency (Fines)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment has been made or is planned of the effectiveness of fines levied by the Environment Agency on polluters in preventing (a) further incidences of pollution by the polluters and (b) incidences of

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pollution from others who have not previously polluted; what changes are planned; and if she will make a statement; [99240]

Mr. Meacher: The Environment Agency does not have the legal capacity to impose fines, which are a matter for the courts. The role of the Environment Agency is to present cases where they consider environmental damage to have been inflicted, and to maximise the chance of conviction by ensuring that all relevant information is made available to the court.

No assessment has yet been made of the preventive effect of fines levied against environmental offenders. The Department shares the Agency's view that the level of fines being imposed for pollution offences is generally too low. We are now working together and with others, especially the Magistrates Association, to ensure that magistrates are trained and have an increased awareness of the implications of polluting activity and consequently impose more realistic fines. To this end, the Association recently circulated relevant training material to all its 28,000 members. The Government are also exploring the possibility of developing general guidelines on sentencing for environmental offences.

The Agency does not hold statistical information on fines that predates the computerisation of their system in 1999. However, they produced the tables which address the question for convictions from 1999, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House.

Exercise Action Pilots

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what local exercise action pilots have been introduced by the Countryside Agency in collaboration with Sport England and the Department of Health to tackle obesity and increase physical activity. [100424]

Alun Michael: The Local Exercise Action Pilots Programme is a joint initiative funded by the Department of Health, Sport England and the Countryside Agency, with support from the Local Government Association, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Education and Skills and Department for Transport. Nine local pilots led by Primary Care Trust are being developed to test effective approaches to increasing access to, and levels of, physical activity. The pilot sites will be announced in March.

Fly Tipping

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimated total volume of waste she estimates was illegally flytipped in each year since 1992, broken down by the nature of this waste. [99269]

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Mr. Meacher: Fly tipped waste is collected by both local authorities and the Environment Agency. Data on the volume of fly tipped waste are not collected centrally and so estimates cannot be provided. However, a recent report looking at fly tipped waste on agricultural land estimated that 0.6 million tonnes of waste was deposited on agricultural land in England and Wales in 2001. This is broken down as follows.

Waste typeGrossed up weights for England and Wales (tonnes)
White goods2,900
Green waste94,000
General household waste8,500
C and D waste380,000
Total (2)0.6 million (2)

The Government is currently discussing with the Environment Agency the potential for setting up a national recording system for fly tipping which would record these type of data from both the Agency and local authorities in England.

GM Crops

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role the Minister of State for the Environment and Agri-Environment has in the Government's consideration of policy towards GM crops. [99286]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 27 February 2003]: I contribute to all aspects of the Government's policy thinking on GM crops.

Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the industries and activities which have moved (a) from a Part B process to a Part A process and (b) from a Part A to a Part B process, under the IPPC Regulations since the Climate Change Levy was introduced, providing reasons for changes which have taken place. [99237]

Mr. Meacher: The Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2001, came into force on 1 April 2001, the same date as the Climate Change Levy. The Amendment Regulations provided for certain activities listed in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 to be moved from one section or part of a section to another in order to ensure that they were subjected to appropriate regulation.

The Amendment Regulations transferred three industry sectors from Part B to Part A(2):

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The intention of these transfers was to secure environmental benefits from the control of a wider range of environmental impacts, compared with control of only air emissions under Part B.

There have been no transfers of activities from Part A(2) to Part B.

Mobile Recycling Plants

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many mobile recycling plants there are in operation in the UK; and what their total weekly capacity is, broken down by region. [99227]

Mr. Meacher: The most up to date information indicates that the Agency has issued 116 mobile plant licences for the treatment of waste soil. The typical annual licensed capacity (per plant) is up to 75,000 tonnes per annum. This would equate to a theoretical maximum annual treatment capacity of 8,700,000 tonnes per annum, or 167,308 tonnes per week of waste soil.

The plants can operate anywhere in the UK and it is not possible to provide a breakdown of the capacity by region.

One mobile plant licence has been issued for the treatment of waste refrigerationequipment. It has a weekly capacity of around 3000 fridges.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many disposable nappies she estimates were (a) used and (b) disposed of by (i) landfill, (ii) incineration and (iii) other means in the last year for which figures are available. [99247]

Mr. Meacher: The last national study on disposable nappies was in 1993. Local authorities have carried out more recent studies, and the results suggest that nappies constitute approximately 4–5 per cent. of the municipal waste stream.

The most recent figures show that 78 per cent. of municipal waste goes to landfill, 12 per cent. is recycled and 9 per cent. disposed of through thermal treatment. As disposable nappies cannot be recycled, using these figures we can estimate that approximately 90 per cent. are sent to landfill and 10 per cent. undergo thermal treatment.

New work on a new compositional analysis of the municipal waste stream is being started at the beginning of the next financial year, with figures expected in December 2004. Nappies will be identified separately in this work.

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