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9 Dec 2003 : Column 381Wcontinued
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the implications for UK environment policy of the statement made by the Russian authorities on 2 December on the Kyoto Protocol. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 8 December 2003]: The Government believe that the Kyoto Protocol, with its binding targets and timetables, is an essential first step in international action to tackle climate change, though of course much greater cuts in greenhouse gasses will be needed.
President Putin stated at the World Conference on Climate Change in Moscow in early October that the Russian Government was still analysing the economic implications of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The statement made by President Putin's economic adviser on 2 December does not appear to be an official statement of policy, and we look forward to a decision from the Russian Government when they have completed their assessment of the Kyoto Protocol.
The Secretary of State and I are attending the ninth Conference of the Parties on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Milan, where Parties will be putting the finishing touches on preparations for entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) work, (b) resourcing and (c) institutional membership of the Marine Environment Monitoring Group. 
Mr. Morley: The Marine Environment Monitoring Group (MEMG), formerly the Marine Pollution Monitoring Management Group, is a group of representatives from the Government organisations with marine environmental protection monitoring obligations. The group is chaired by a representative from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS). Its aim is to ensure that monitoring of the marine environment is conducted in a co-ordinated way, is as cost-effective as possible and meets national and international requirements.
MEMG has no specific resources. The Departments and agencies who are members support the work of the group, and carry out the monitoring which it seeks to co-ordinate, as part of their own operations.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Northern Ireland)
Environment and Heritage Service (Northern Ireland)
Fisheries Research Services Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen
Scottish Environment Protection Agency
The National Assembly for Wales (Environment Division)
Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department
Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Sciences
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
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Mr. Bradshaw: No specific resources are committed directly to support the work of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) other than an annual subscription of approximately £130,000. However, an indirect resource commitment to ICES arises from the participation of scientists from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), a Defra agency, in ICES science and advisory working groups, and in the governance of ICES itself. These working groups cover areas of marine and freshwater fisheries, aquaculture, the environment and the ecosystem. The Current chairs of the Resource Management Science Committee and the Advisory Committee on the Ecosystem are currently also CEFAS scientists.
My predecessor, my hon. Friend the member for Scunthorpe (Elliot Morley) also signed, on behalf of the UK, the "Copenhagen Declaration" in 2002 in celebration of 100 years of ICES, wherein we affirmed our continuing support for ICES.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulatory impact assessments have been prepared by her Department in respect of agreements made on the control of radioactive substances under the OSPAR Commission; and if she will place copies in the Library. 
Mr. Morley: The Department published the UK Strategy for Radioactive Discharges 20012020 in July 2002. This constitutes the UK national plan for achieving the objective of the OSPAR Strategy with Regard to Radioactive Substances and it includes a regulatory impact assessment. Copies of the UK Strategy are in the Library.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which OSPAR priority areas in the radioactive materials sector have been volunteered to date by the United Kingdom as ones on which UK scientists will undertake basic scientific work as the lead country for OSPAR; which other areas are being considered for volunteer research; and if she will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with OSPAR. 
Mr. Morley: UK experts are closely involved in the work programme of the OSPAR Radioactive Substances Committee. Current tasks for which the UK is the lead country are the preparation of proposals for reporting on discharges of radioactive substances from oil and gas installations and proposals for harmonised reporting procedures for inputs of radioactive substances from the non-nuclear sector.
UK experts have also participated in three inter-sessional working groups to establish the baseline situation regarding radioactive substances in the marine environment, against which progress in achieving the objective of the OSPAR Strategy with regard to Radioactive Substances will be assessed. In addition, a
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UK expert is a member of the Radioactive Discharges Expert Assessment Panel, which examines trends in discharges from nuclear installations.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what joint assessment and monitoring is being undertaken by UK-based scientific institutions on behalf of OSPAR; and if she will publish a list of current research projects in collaboration with OSPAR. 
Mr. Morley: OPSAR agreed a revised Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme at the Commission meeting in Bremen in June. A copy is in the Library of the House, and is available on the OSPAR website www.ospar.org. A large number of scientific institutions provide data which is used to fulfil the reporting requirements in respect of UK waters. These include the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquatic Science, the Environment Agency, English Nature, and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and the equivalent bodies in the devolved Administrations.
The Department has an extensive research programme on marine environmental issues, and most projects will in one way or another inform the UK's input into the work of OSPAR. In some cases, such as the development of a number of Ecological Quality objectives, this work is being done by the UK on behalf of OSPAR as lead country; in other cases, the research will inform the UK's input to debate within OSPAR. A list of the 74 projects currently in the programme can be found on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/research/project data/Default.asp.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the Government's total procurement of materials and products comprised recycled products in each year since 1997; and what the projections are for (a) 2003, (b) 2004 and (c) 2005. 
Mr. Morley: Figures on recycled products and materials bought by the Government are not collected centrally and doing so would incur a disproportionate cost. In regards to the Government's current position on buying recycled paper products, I refer my hon. Friend to the Answer given to the hon. Member for Guildford (Sue Doughty) on 4 December 2003, Official Report, column 146W. Data on recycled paper bought by Government is available in the "Sustainable Development in Government" and "Greening Government" reports, which are available online at www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/sdig/reports/index.htm. Copies are also available in the Library.
Government is currently developing sustainable procurement targets under the "Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate". The targets and online guidance will be published by Spring next year.
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processed output from mechanical biological treatment works counts towards local authority recycling targets. 
Mr. Morley: Mechanical biological treatment [MBT] describes a range of processes with the common purpose of treating residual waste after material recovery, to prepare it for final disposal. Where this results in the recovery of further materials that are sent for recycling or a compost that meets the criteria set for the composting indicator then these outputs will count towards local authority Best Value targets for recycling and composting.
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