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17 Dec 2003 : Column 906Wcontinued
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the pollutant which caused the pollution incident on the River Nene earlier this year has been identified; what levels of the pollutant are still present; how much of the pollutant was discharged; whether the polluter has been identified; and what action is being taken. 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency (the Agency) has not identified the pollutant that caused this incident. Unusually in this case no immediate impact, such as fish mortality, was observed and the effects of the pollutant were identified following routine monitoring of the River Nene by the Agency in May of this year. This makes it likely that considerable time elapsed between the pollutant being discharged to the river and the environmental impact being observed. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to determine how much pollutant was discharged and to establish a link between a pollutant source and the incident.
The Agency await a report from its Special Enforcement team on whether it is possible to link evidence obtained from a possible source with the incident. However this may not be possible due to the probable time lapse between the incident and detection.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanism there is to pass on to the polluter the cost of work to
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establish the (a) extent of pollution and (b) effect on biodiversity of the recent pollution incident on the River Nene. 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency vigorously follows the polluter pays principle. However, in this case the polluter has not yet been identified. It has not therefore been possible to initiate action to recover costs.
Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her policy is on the European Commission's proposals on sheep identification. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Government support the Commission's objective to improve sheep and goat identification but are very concerned that they have failed to take full account of the particular needs and requirements of the UK's stratified and extensive sheep industry.
We are currently undertaking negotiations in the Council of Ministers and are pressing hard for a satisfactory outcome for the UK industry.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will publish the plan for Tidal and Fluvial Flooding in England. 
Mr. Morley: It is intended that the Lead Department Plan for Tidal and Fluvial Flooding in England will be made publicly available in the near future on the Department's website.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action her Department is taking to reduce the amount of tropical plywood used in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Morley: The Government are committed to sustainable forest management and is playing a leading role in international negotiations on forests in a number of fora, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). The Government are also playing a major role internationally to combat illegal logging and its associated trade, in addition to seeking to ensure that the import of endangered timber species is in compliance with CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
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Under EU law, a ban on the import of illegally logged timber can only be imposed at EU level. We are therefore playing an active role within the European Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process. On 13 October the EU Council of Ministers adopted Council Conclusions providing a broad endorsement of the FLEGT Action Plan, which addresses development co-operation, trade in timber, public procurement, private sector initiatives, financing and investment safeguards, money laundering and conflict timber
The Government are also keen to discourage consumers from purchasing illegally logged timber. For over three years UK central departments and their executive agencies have been required to actively seek to purchase their timber and timber related products from legal and sustainable sources. We believe the UK to be the first country to implement such a policy. The challenge is considerable and implementation has not been without difficulty, but already the effect is being felt in the UK and abroad. The UK Devolved Administrations and many local authorities in England have indicated that they have adopted similar policies or are considering doing so. Additionally, the UK Timber Trade Federation is developing a sustainable timber procurement policy for its members to consider adopting.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list breaches of conditions of waste management licences relating to the Hartlepool Seaton Meadows Landfill (Licences CLE 223 and CLE 403) recorded by the Environment Agency since 1997; what the nature of each breach was; and if she will place copies of the relevant site inspection reports in the Library. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 8 December 2003]: The relevant Regional Office of the Environment Agency is compiling the information, and I will write to the hon. Member shortly.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the leakage rates of each of the water sewerage companies were in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 8 December 2003]: Water company leakage data are published annually by the Director General of Water Services in the annual "Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water" reports, which are available from the Library of the House. The reported leakage figures for the period 199394 to 200203 in Megalitres per day were as follows:
|Water and sewerage companies|
|Water only companies|
|Bournemouth and West Hants||27||28||28||29||26||26||23||23||22||22|
|Folkestone and Dover||13||12||13||12||9||9||8||9||8||8|
|South East Water||102||105||94||99||108||98||97||85||75||72|
|Sutton and East Surrey||31||27||26||27||26||25||24||24||24||24|
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Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list by water company the water leakage figure on the latest date for which information is available. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 December 2003]: Water company leakage data are published annually by the Director General of Water Services in the annual "Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water" reports, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The reported total leakage figures in 200203 in Megalitres per day were as follows:
|Water and sewerage companies|
|Water only companies|
|Bournemouth and West Hants||22|
|Folkestone and Dover||8|
|Sutton and East Surrey||24|
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