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Hazardous Waste

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which landfill

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sites have been chosen to continue receiving hazardous waste following the implementation of the Hazardous Waste Directive. [151194]

Mr. Morley: I have placed in the Library of the House the information requested, as at the end of 2003. The choice of whether any sites under the ownership or control are classified as hazardous is a matter for the landfill operator. From July 2004, the Landfill Directive permits stable non-reactive hazardous waste to be disposed of in a separate cell in non-hazardous landfills. This is expected to result in additional capacity being available for the disposal of hazardous waste.

Horse Passports

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will assess the impact of the European Directive requiring horse passports on the population of semi-feral mountain ponies in Wales. [149656]

Mr. Touhig: I have been asked to reply.

I understand that no final decision has yet been taken about the point at which Welsh mountain ponies will have to be passported, but implementation of the European legislation in full will require every horse, pony and donkey to have a passport. The Welsh Assembly, which is responsible, is still considering the final domestic legislation to implement the Directive, taking into account the need to preserve both the breed of pony and the environment in which it lives.

Information Technology

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list each Information Technology system (a) supported and (b) in development by the IT Department at Guildford; which of those systems provide information to agencies associated with her Department; which of those systems support payments to outside bodies and individuals, giving the value of the payments for each system and the number of recipients of payments; which of those systems provide statistical information and payments to (i) her own and (ii) other Government departments; and which of those systems provide statistical information to the European Union. [150615]

Alun Michael: A table showing the list of each IT system supported by or under development by the IT Directorate at Guildford has been placed in the Library of the House. The table also sets out the additional information requested.

Organic Farming

Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the contribution of organic farming to curbing the build up of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. [152323]

Mr. Morley: Carbon monoxide is of concern mainly because of its effects on human health and its role in tropospheric ozone formation. As a result, carbon monoxide is one of the pollutants covered by the

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Government's Air Quality Strategy. No exceedences of the health-based ambient air quality objective have been recorded in the UK for several years.

According to the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, over 90 per cent. of the annual UK emissions for 2001 resulted from incomplete fuel combustion, largely from road transport. The contribution of agriculture to the total is small, so organic farming is not expected to have a measurable effect on the total.

Packaging Waste

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to publish the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003; and why they are only available in draft form. [147080]

Mr. Morley: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 21 January 2004, Official Report, column 1234W.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 21 January 2004, Official Report, column 1234W, on packaging waste, what her policy is on the penalising of companies involved in the packaging waste process for actions taken in contravention of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) (England) 2003 before they were published. [152138]

Mr. Morley: The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003 came into force on 1 January and were published in final form on 14 January.

The Environment Agency is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Regulations.

Producers are required to register with the Environment Agency by 7 April, providing the required packaging data and fee. There are no actions required under these new Regulations that have to be discharged in the first 14 days of January.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 21 January 2004, Official Report, column 1234W, on packaging waste, what the extent was of the delays caused by the Christmas holiday period to the publishing of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) (England) 2003. [152139]

Mr. Morley: The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003 came into force on 1 January 2004. The final Regulations were published by the Stationery Office on 14 January.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason her Department had not allowed for delays caused by the Christmas holiday period when deciding (a) when to publish the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) (England) 2003 and (b) when they should come into force. [152140]

Mr. Morley: The new obligation year under the Packaging Regulations starts on 1 January each year. This determines when new Regulations must come into

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force. The Department's intention is to publish new Regulations as soon as possible after making them. We would have preferred to see the new Regulations published before 1 January 2004, but from time to time, unintended delays occur which was the case on this occasion.

Pollution

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the action plan on diffuse pollution relating to agriculture to be concluded. [152078]

Mr. Morley: The action plan to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture in England is currently being developed to ensure agriculture plays, and continues to play, its part to make water in England as clean and healthy as practicable.

As announced in the pre-Budget report in December 2003, we intend to publish a draft action plan for consultation early this year that will set out options to tackle diffuse water pollution, including a consideration of the pros and cons of using economic instruments.

Sellafield

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress made in ending discharges of TC-99 from Sellafield. [152191]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 30 January 2004]: As a result of co-operative efforts between BNFL, the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and others, much has already been done to reduce Technetium-99 (Tc-99) discharge levels from Sellafield.

The discharge limit was cut from 200 TBq/year (terabecquerels per year) to 90 TBq/year in 2000. Ministers also asked the Environment Agency to carry out a review of Tc-99 discharges and the Agency's proposed decision was published in September 2001. One of the proposals, to deal with new arisings of Medium Active Concentrate (MAC) (the complex liquid mixture that contains Tc-99 and other, more radiotoxic, radionuclides) using "MAC-Diversion" abatement technology, was implemented in 2003. This will allow the discharge limit to be reduced to 10 TBq/year in 2006.

The Environment Agency also proposed further research on abatement of Tc-99 arising from stored MAC. In October 2003, following approval by regulators, a plant-scale trial began using tetraphenylphosphonium bromide (TPP)—a chemical that precipitates Tc-99 out of MAC. Initial results appear to be encouraging. However, a full evaluation of the trial by the regulators is still under way. If their assessment shows that TPP is acceptable for future use to reduce Tc-99 discharges, it will allow the discharge limits to be cut to below 90 TBq/year before 2006.

Warm Front Programme

Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what funding her Department has provided for the Warm Front programme in each year of that programme, including the current financial year; [151887]

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Mr. Morley: The level of expenditure under Warm Front since the start of the scheme is as follows: 2000–01—£72 million; 2001–02—£197 million; 2002–03—£163 million. For the current financial year, 2003–04, £152 million has been allocated to Warm Front.

Decisions on future funding of the scheme will be considered during the normal Government spending round process and announcements will be made after final decisions have been taken.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many households she estimates are eligible for the Warm Front scheme in (a) Lancashire and (b) Chorley; and how many households qualify for the Warm Homes Plus element of the programme. [151206]

Mr. Morley: We are preparing estimates of the total number of households in England currently eligible for assistance under Warm Front as part of the next spending round process.

In addition we will be producing an Implementation Plan on the action required to achieve targets and tackle fuel poverty.

Information on eligibility of the Warm Front scheme cannot be provided at a local authority level. The smallest area for which the Department for Work and Pensions can provide estimates of those eligible for the scheme is regional government office.


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