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Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment

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she has made of the estimate of the proportion of methane emissions arising from fossil fuel extraction, set out in paragraph 2.8 of the 22nd report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution; and what action she will take. [114717]

Mr. Meacher: As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, the UK is required annually to compile an inventory of emissions by sources and removals by sinks of the greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol.

The latest published inventory is for 2001. This shows that fugitive emissions of methane from fossil fuel extraction represent 29.5 per cent. of total methane emissions in the UK. This is broadly consistent with the figure of 28 per cent. quoted in the RCEP report.

Fugitive emissions of methane in the UK have fallen by half between 1990 and 2001 mainly due to a large reduction in methane emissions from coal mining as coal production has declined. Leakage rates from the natural gas transmission and distribution network have improved as old mains are replaced leading to a reduction in emissions from the network of 14 per cent. over the period. Other fugitive emissions of methane arise from smaller sources, such as venting and flaring from offshore platforms.

Methane emissions from abandoned coal mines, for which there is no internationally agreed estimation methodology, are currently not included in the UK inventory. The Department has recently commissioned a research project aiming to produce a verifiable estimates with the aim of inclusion in the inventory in future.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the findings of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's 22nd report, "Energy-the Changing Climates", in paragraph 2.8 on page 18, on the contribution of methane gases from landfill sites to the greenhouse effect. [114963]

Mr. Meacher: The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's 22nd report estimates that landfill methane emissions represent 7 to 8 per cent. of total global methane emissions from natural and anthropogenic sources. This is consistent with figures reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their 1994 report on Climate Change. If natural sources are excluded, landfills contribute an estimated 11 per cent. to total global anthropogenic methane emissions, or some 2.4 per cent. of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions as a whole.

Landfill emissions are generally higher for developed countries because of the greater amount of waste arising and because conditions within the landfills are more anaerobic. The latest published UK greenhouse gas emissions estimates are for 2001. These show that methane emissions from landfill sites represent 22 per cent. of total anthropogenic methane emissions, or 1.6 per cent. of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Historical data show that the UK ratio of landfill to total methane is comparable to that in other EU countries.

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Methane emissions from landfill sites in the UK have declined by 57 per cent. between 1990 and 2001 because of the implementation of methane recovery systems. This trend is likely to continue as the UK Government work towards compliance with the EU Landfill Directive. The Directive requires that all landfill gas is collected and treated, and sets progressive targets for the diversion of biodegradable municipal waste from landfill, with the ultimate target of diverting 65 per cent. of biodegradable municipal waste landfilled in 1995 from this disposal route by 2020.

Ministerial Transport

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for her Department in 2002. [101849]

Margaret Beckett: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office on 20 May 2003, Official Report, column 663W.

Modulation Grants

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of grants paid through modulation are paid in fees to consultants; and if she will make a statement. [114273]

Mr. Morley: Modulation receipts may not be used to cover the cost of consultants fees. The funds raised by modulation may only be spent on a limited range of rural development measures (in England, these are new agri-environment agreements only). Payments are made directly to the agreement holder.

Air Pollution (South Essex)

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will instruct the Environment Agency immediately to implement legal action against those responsible for the pungent odours in South Essex and pursue that action as forcefully as possible with no loss of time. [114661]

Mr. Meacher: Responsibility for enforcing the Waste Management Licensing Regulations rests with the Environment Agency. The Agency has served a legal Notice on the site operators, under section 42 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, requiring them to take a number of steps to comply with the conditions in their Waste Management Licence and prevent odours leaving the landfill site. These include significant remedial measures to prevent the generation of odour from the central leachate lagoon, which is believed to be the main source of sulphide gases. The Agency will be monitoring the implementation of this programme extremely tightly through regular site inspections and on-going dialogue with the operating company.

The Agency is currently gathering admissible evidence from the site and consideration is being given as to whether prosecution is appropriate at this stage.

Public Expenditure

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a

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statement on the reasons for the difference between the public expenditure plans for her Department for 2002–03 and the estimated outturn for that year as listed in table 2.4 on page 29 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2003. [113010]

Margaret Beckett: The Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 2003 shows, for Defra, estimated outturn for 2003 on a basis that is not strictly comparable with the final provision shown in the table.

The main difference is that the final provision shown only includes expenditure within the Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL), whereas the estimated outturn includes some £250 million reclassified from Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) to DEL at Main Estimates 2003. The outturn figures, in order to show trends, present this reclassification retrospectively. There is no increase in public expenditure as a result of this reclassification.

A smaller part of the difference arises because the estimated outturn reflects some technical errors in information input to the Treasury database from which it is derived. These are due to be corrected later this year.

As a result Defra's final outturn is expected to be within its final provision.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to fund the roll-out of kerbside recycling to all homes. [114252]

Mr. Meacher: Current Government policy does not require kerbside recycling schemes to all homes. The Government sets targets for the level of recycling to be achieved, it is for local authorities to decide how they should be achieved. There are, therefore, no funds targetted specifically at kerbside collection although local authorities can and do use existing government funding for waste management—including the national Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund—to extend kerbside recycling collections in their areas.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Department has to lobby her European counterparts to reverse the prohibition on the growing of non-food crops on set-aside land. [115212]

Mr. Meacher: The original CAP reform proposals removed the existing derogation which allows non-food crops to be grown on set-aside. Since these proposals were published, there have been a number of detailed discussions. The European Commission have indicated that they may make some changes to their original proposal on set-aside, including allowing continued access for non-food crops. Our view is that if set-aside is to continue, it must be applied in a flexible way which maximises its potential benefits.

Negotiations are continuing in Brussels, due to be concluded in June.

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Sustainable Waste

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the Government to respond to the Strategy Unit's report, "Waste Not Want Not", published on 27 November 2002. [111548]

Mr. Meacher: The Government's response to the Strategy Unit report was published on 6 May.

Waste and Resources Action Programme

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the responsibilities allocated to the Waste and Resources Action Programme; and what the present budget allocation is. [114268]

Mr. Meacher: The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) was established to promote more sustainable waste management by working to create more stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products.

WRAP's current business plan, covering the period from 2001–04, focuses on four specific materials: plastics, paper, glass and wood, and three general areas where action is needed to remove barriers to the greater use of recycled materials and products: financial mechanisms, standards and procurement.

For 2003–04 WRAP has been allocated £10.2 million from Defra, £5 million from DTI and £0.6 million from the Welsh Assembly Government, for the continuation of its market development work. It may also receive small additional contributions from the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Since 2002 WRAP has also taken on a programme of work on minimising the need for primary aggregates, funded through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund. The budget has yet to be finalised but is likely to be between £9 million–£13 million.

From 2003–04 WRAP will be taking forward three new programmes of work recommended by the Strategy Unit in its report "Waste Not, Want Not", in addition to their 'core' programme, on recycling (kerbside best practice and development of the organics market), waste minimisation and waste awareness. The budget has yet to be finalised but is likely to be of the order of £17.5 million for 2003–04.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate she has made of the effects upon the cost of (a) collection and (b) management of municipal waste stream in the UK of complying with the requirements of Article 5 of the Landfill Directive to (i) reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste to 50 per cent. of 1995 levels by 2013 and (ii) reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste to 35 per cent. of 1995 levels by 2020; [114791]

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Mr. Meacher: The costs involved in meeting the Article 5 Landfill Directive targets and other waste strategy targets were set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment, published with Waste Strategy 2000.

A base case was established and various policy mixes were costed against that base case. The additional costs of the policy mixes that should deliver the levels of recycling, composting and recovery needed to meet the waste strategy targets fell in the range £3.4 billion to £7.7 billion (net present value) over the 20-year period 2000–20.

Waste Strategy 2000 stated that the proposed targets for the recovery and recycling of municipal waste may not impose net additional costs if it is assumed that a broad mix of waste management options will be required to meet the Landfill Directive targets; and that reliance on incineration and composting is unlikely to be viable.

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