Previous Section Index Home Page

14 Jan 2004 : Column 730W—continued

Domestic Waste

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to publish the results of her Department's investigation of the feasibility of variable charging for domestic waste collection. [145757]

Mr. Morley: In its response to the Strategy Unit report, "Waste Not, Want Not", the Government undertook to carry out further work before a decision is taken on whether to enable local authorities to implement direct or variable charging for waste. This work, which is looking at the practicalities of operating schemes, how potential disadvantages could be overcome and is analysing international experience of such schemes, is under way. The Government will consider the results of this work during 2004.

14 Jan 2004 : Column 731W

Environmental Council

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the outcome was of the Environmental Council on 22 December 2003; what the Government's stance was on the discussion on the EU Chemical Regulation; and if she will make a statement. [147229]

Mr. Morley: I attended the Environment Council on 22 December 2003, together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Council adopted a Regulation establishing a transitional points system applicable to heavy goods vehicles travelling through Austria for 2004 (known as 'Ecopoints'), a matter previously dealt with by Transport ministers. Agreement had been reached between the Council and the European Parliament through the conciliation process, but there was a discussion in Council as Austria was unable to support the outcome. Council approved the result of the conciliation committee, with Austria voting against.

We held a short discussion on the proposed revision of the Directive on the management of bathing water. A compromise text prepared by the Presidency was unacceptable to the Commission and to a number of member states, including Germany, Greece and Spain, who believed it would produce an insufficiently demanding new Directive. The Secretary of State made it clear that the UK would be unable to agree to the legally binding targets to be reached by 2015, on which the Commission wished to insist. It was evident that there was no realistic prospect of reaching political agreement at this meeting, and the Italian Presidency decided to leave further negotiations to the forthcoming Irish Presidency.

We debated the Commission's proposals concerning the Kyoto Protocol's project mechanisms in relation to the EU scheme for greenhouse gas emissions trading. Ministers expressed their views on a number of questions posed by the Presidency. Most supported early linking to the Clean Development Mechanism, although views were divided on whether such linking could be made available prior to the Kyoto Protocol coming into force. There was also a range of views on the question of qualitative standards for projects, and on the use of sinks. The Secretary of State spoke in support of quantitative limits on the use of credits.

We agreed three sets of Council Conclusions: supporting the preparation of an EU strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships; agreeing the EU's position for the 7th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity, to be held in Kuala Lumpur in February; and noting the Commission's 2003 environment policy review.

The Commission presented its recently-published proposal for a Regulation on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals ('REACH'), urging the Council to make rapid progress and to maintain the integrity of the Commission's proposal. There were comments from several member states concerning the significance of this dossier, and the need for appropriate input from both the Environment and Competitiveness formations of the Council. Ireland

14 Jan 2004 : Column 732W

confirmed that this dossier would be a priority during their Presidency, and that they would continue to involve both industry and environment ministers. There was no UK intervention.

There was an exchange of views on the Commission's proposal for a Regulation to extend the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE) until 2006. Portugal, Spain, Finland, France, Greece and Poland all expressed support for early agreement, and a wish to see LIFE continue beyond 2006. Germany and Sweden were also supportive but emphasised the need for the extension to take place within the existing financial perspective.

The Commission spoke briefly to note that its report on the European Environment Agency was due to be published within days.

There was no discussion of the remaining items under Other Business, which were all written items for information.

Over lunch we discussed the outcome of the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Climate Change, and heard from Borge Brende, the Norwegian environment minister, who is to chair the 12th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD12) in April. He informed the ministers present that he has asked the Secretary of State to chair the UNECE Regional Implementation Forum in Geneva on 15–16 January, which will help prepare for CSD12.


Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what type of trawl is used as standard for scientific fisheries research within the European Union. [146714]

Mr. Bradshaw: The type of trawl used for survey work varies according to target species and area. In the fisheries of interest to UK fishermen, the main trawls used for surveying bottom living fish are the GOV and the beam trawl.

The GOV is a general purpose bottom trawl with a high headline and is used for scientific surveys where the target species are the main commercially important whitefish including cod, haddock, whiting, pout and saithe. The net also samples some of the main shoaling or pelagic species including herring and mackerel. The design and operation of the GOV trawl is co-ordinated by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, and all countries involved in the International Bottom Trawl surveys in the North Sea use the GOV trawl with an internationally-agreed specification. In addition to the North Sea, the GOV is used in surveys in the west of Scotland and the eastern English Channel, and has recently been adopted as the main trawl for surveys in the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea.

For flatfish species such as plaice and sole, the main gear used is the beam trawl. Scientific surveys in the North Sea, eastern and western English Channel, the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel are again co-ordinated through ICES. The survey trawls are based on the beam trawls used commercially but vary slightly in size and specification between areas.

14 Jan 2004 : Column 733W

Scientifically, it is desirable that survey trawls remain unchanged over a relatively long time period in order to ensure consistency in the survey catch rates from year to year.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Government will pay transitional aid to fishing vessels in England adversely affected by effort controls resulting from the Cod Recovery Programme on the same basis as proposed for fishing vessels in Scotland and Northern Ireland. [147161]

Mr. Bradshaw: We have no plans to do so.

Flood Defences (Edgware)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the flood defence works for the Silkstream, Edgware. [146617]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 8 January 2004]: As you know Defra approved the Environment Agency's proposed Silk Stream flood defence scheme in March 2003, subject to satisfactory resolution of negotiations with landowners. I understand that design and land negotiations are proceeding largely to plan, although having to deal with a variety of estates departments has resulted in some delay.

The Agency is undertaking a review of the relative priority of all capital schemes in the programme for Thames region, in the light of the available resources.

14 Jan 2004 : Column 734W

Until that review is complete, the Agency is unable to provide an update of its planned timetable for the construction of the Silk Stream scheme.

Horse Passport

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when it will become an offence not to have a passport for all equines. [147946]

Alun Michael: From 1 July 2004.

Hazardous Waste

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Hazardous Waste Regulations will be published. [142598]

Mr. Morley: Draft new Hazardous Waste Regulations will be published when Defra goes out to consultation on the Regulations in early 2004. After a 12 week consultation period, new Regulations should be laid before Parliament in spring 2004.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mass of hazardous waste was produced in the UK for each of the last five years, broken down by category of hazardous waste. [144919]

Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency has provided the following data for England and Wales to show types of hazardous waste produced each year broken down by European Waste Catalogue (EWC) category. The Environment Agency moved from financial year to calendar year reporting in 2000, and only data for complete years is shown.

Trends in types of hazardous waste produced 1998–99 to 2002
Thousand tonnes

EWC CodeBroad Category1998–99200020012002
01Wastes from Mining and Minerals131379
02Waste from Agricultural and Food Production6964
03Wastes from Wood and Paper Production3753
04Wastes from Leather and Textile Production2334
05Wastes from Petrol, Gas and Coal Refining/ Treatment2598812668
06Wastes from Inorganic Chemical Processes366295225224
07Wastes from Organic Chemical Processes573591613593
08Wastes from Manufacture, Formulation, Supply and Use of Paints, Varnish, Adhesive and Inks145141132115
09Wastes from the Photographic Industry13224240
10Wastes from Thermal Processes (inorganic)113176215191
11Wastes from Metal Treatment and Coating Processes146120127115
12Wastes from Shaping/Treatment of Metals and Plastics151969694
13Oil Wastes1,0361,0981,0421,008
14Waste Solvents10913911063
15Waste Packaging, Cloths, Filter Materials48 656952
16Wastes Not Otherwise Specified484753584672
17Construction and Demolition Wastes and Asbestos1,0081,0641,3851,243
18Waste from Healthcare17172120
19Wastes from Waste/Water Treatment and Water Industry235306278346
20Municipal arid Similar Commercial Wastes861294998
Total all classes4,9105,1965,2135,058

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the hazardous waste landfill sites identified by the Environment Agency that will remain as hazardous waste landfills following reclassification in July 2004; if she will identify for each site the types of hazardous waste that the site can dispose of; and whether each site is for private use. [144920]

14 Jan 2004 : Column 735W

Mr. Morley: The information requested, as at 16 December 2003 is set out in a table which has been placed in the Library. Under the new regulations, former sites can continue to accept hazardous waste if it is contained within a separate disposal cell. This is likely to lead to additional sites as well as these dedicated sites.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of (a) the lead content in glass television screens and (b) lead glass in crystal for household use, with respect to the disposal of hazardous waste; and if she will make a statement. [146716]

Mr. Morley: A draft study currently being finalised for Defra shows that lead oxide accounts for approximately 9 per cent. by mass of the cathode ray tube in television sets with screens of 19 inches and over. Lead bound up within the glass of the cathode ray tube does not leach very readily. No formal assessment of lead glass in crystal for household use has been carried out as such material when discarded is not on the hazardous waste list.

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the delay of the landfill allowance trading scheme until 2005. [146519]

Mr. Morley: The decision to delay the implementation of the landfill allowance trading scheme until 2005 which was announced by the Minister of State for Local and Regional Government on 19 November 2003, was made as part of Defra's contribution to helping to reduce spending pressures on local government in 2004–05. We expect local authorities to be able to save up to £10 million as a result. (On 6 January 2004 we announced that Defra will also provide a targeted grant of £20 million to local authorities in 2004–05 to help address the spending pressures arising from their statutory recycling targets).

The decision reflects the views of local authorities which we received through our consultation on the implementation of the landfill allowance trading scheme, that they needed more time to prepare for this new scheme which is a significant departure from their normal operations. The delay in starting the scheme will mean that waste disposal authorities will have to make steeper annual reductions in the amount of biodegradable waste they landfill in order to meet the first target year of 2010 but they will have more time to plan how to do this.

The Government will use the additional time to raise awareness of the scheme within local authorities and to educate and support those who will make use of its provisions.

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of delaying the introduction of the landfill allowance trading scheme on achieving the UK's compliance with the landfill directive; and if she will make a statement. [146538]

Mr. Morley: Delaying the introduction of the landfill allowance trading scheme in England should not affect the achievement of landfill directive targets for the UK

14 Jan 2004 : Column 736W

in 2010, 2013 and 2020. The delay is intended to give local authorities more time to decide how, and over what time period, to invest in alternative waste management options to landfill.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether her Department has received requests from waste disposal authorities for the start of the landfill allowance trading scheme to be delayed; [143092]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 December 2003]:Yes. During regional consultation meetings on the implementation of theLandfill Allowance Trading Scheme held in September 2003, local authorities commented that they would find it difficult to operate the scheme in 2004–05. This view has been reinforced by the written responses to the consultation that have been analysed to date. Local Authorities generally feel that they need more time to prepare for a trading scheme that is a completely new departure from their normal operations. It has already been announced that the start date will be delayed by one year.

Next Section Index Home Page