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27 Oct 2003 : Column 31W—continued


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the steps being taken to increase recycling rates from (a) household waste, (b) business and industrial waste and (c) direct mail. [131904]

Mr. Morley: The Government have set targets to increase recycling and composting of household waste in England to 17 per cent. by 2003–04 and 25 per cent. by 2005–06. To underpin these national targets, we have required all local authorities to double their recycling, compared with 1999–2000, by 2003–04, and to treble their recycling by 2005–06. The Government have provided significant funding to enable local authorities to meet these targets.

In addition, Local Public Service Agreements provide a focus for local and central Government to encourage commitment to specific improvements over and above that which would normally be expected. To date, 83 waste related targets have been signed, including 41 targets which aim specifically to increase recycling performance above the statutory performance standard. As part of a Local PSA, the Government offer at the outset, a pump-priming grant, unsupported credit approvals and potential relaxations in statutory and administrative requirements. Typically, financial support has been used to improve enforcement and publicity; to develop civic amenity sites; and to initiate or expand kerb-side collection schemes.

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The Household Waste Recycling Bill awaits Royal Assent and will become law next month. The Act will provide that where English waste collection authorities have a duty to collect waste they shall ensure, except in some circumstances, that by the end of 2010, they collect at least two recyclates separate from the remainder of the waste. The circumstances in which they would not have to comply would be where the cost of doing so was unreasonably high or where comparable alternative arrangements are available.

The Bill also now provides that the Secretary of State must report to Parliament on progress towards meeting this requirement, and local authority performance on meeting their recycling and composting standards, by the end of October 2004.

The Bill will apply to Wales if the Welsh Assembly feel it appropriate.

In "Waste Strategy 2000", the Government and the National Assembly for Wales set a target to reduce the amount of industrial and commercial waste sent to landfil in 2005 to 85 per cent. of that sent in 1998—reducing the amount from 42 million tonnes to 36 million tonnes. To reaffirm the target, the Government confirmed in the 2003 Budget that landfill tax will increase by £3 per tonne in 2005–06 and by at least £3 per year thereafter on the way to a medium to long-term rate of £35 per tonne. In addition, Envirowise is the main Government programme for providing advice on improving resource efficiency to businesses in industry and commerce increasing sustainable economic development.

The Government and the Direct Marketing Association signed a new agreement in July 2003 to increase the amount of recycled material used in the direct mail and promotions industry. Currently, 13 per cent. of direct mail is recycled, however, the agreement will raise recycling levels to 30 per cent. by the end of 2005, 55 per cent. by the end of 2009 and 70 per cent. by the end of 2013.

Regional Payments Agency

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been paid to food producers in the 2002 scheme year payments by the Regional Payments Agency in England, broken down by region; and what percentage of the 2002 scheme year payments budget these payments represent in each case. [134418]

Alun Michael: I have asked the Rural Payments Agency to produce an analysis of the relevant expenditure on a regional basis and send this directly to the hon. Member when ready.

Renardine 72–2

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on licensing Renodene for use as a badger deterrent. [132668]

Margaret Beckett: It is assumed that the question refers to the pesticide product, Renardine 72–2. This can be used as a badger deterrent in two circumstances:

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Sheep Quota

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the market value of sheep quota per unit is; what the value of the annual payment from public funds per unit was in the last year for which figures are available; and what proportion of this total cost is met from UK public funds. [133221]

Mr. Bradshaw: Livestock Quotas were introduced in order to regulate production and expenditure under the Sheep Annual Premium Scheme (SAPS).

When the quota system was introduced, producers received an initial allocation based on the number of eligible sheep they received premium on in the 1991 reference year. The normal way in which producers may now acquire quota is by purchasing or leasing it on the open market. Transfer or lease of SAP quota may take place only during certain periods of the year—mid September to early February.

Values for both years have remained very low due to Foot and Mouth Disease. When the 2004 quota trading period opens on 11 November, it is expected that values will continue to stay low. This is because sheep quota will no longer be needed due to the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The sheepmeat regime of the European Union plays a significant role in the maintenance of the income of sheep farmers in the United Kingdom. The principal support mechanism of the regime is the Annual Ewe Premium, known in the UK as the Sheep Annual Premium (SAP)

From 2002, the SAP became a single fixed rate payment paid on breeding ewes. The new rate has been set at Euro21 (approximately £13) per eligible animal. In 2002 (the last year for which figures are available), SAP was paid on 16,546,384 animals in the UK. This amounted to a UK total of approx Euro 34,747,406 (£21,393,299).

The costs paid in relation to the Sheep Annual Premium came from EU Commission funding only.

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Warm Front Grants

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people (a) in the UK and (b) in the Wycombe constituency who were declared eligible for warm front grants have not received them owing to temporary suspension of the scheme. [133598]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 21 October 2003]: Warm Front, Government's main fuel poverty programme in England, has not been suspended in this or any other area.

Waste Targets

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she used in drawing up the 2004 packaging waste targets; when the targets will be announced; and what progress has been made in reducing packaging waste. [131976]

Mr. Morley: The Department commissioned AEA Technology to design a model to produce target scenarios and assess the costs and benefits of these, using the most up-to-date information. The Department also uses its own model to exemplify targets using the most recent packaging data reported by business as well as the latest information on recycled packaging waste from reprocessors.

The Department expects to announce the changes to the packaging Regulations including the targets in late November 2003.

There has been a reduction in packaging waste since 1998. The Regulations include a cost incentive for businesses to reduce the amount of packaging they handle and to reuse packaging where they can. This is because the Regulations place tonnage recovery and recycling obligations on obligated businesses. The less packaging a business handles, the lower its obligation and thus its costs. Equally, where a business is reusing a tonnage of packaging, that tonnage does not have to be included in the calculation of the recovery and recycling obligations. In 2002, 4.9 million tonnes of packaging waste was sent to landfill compared with 6.9 million tonnes in 1998.

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