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Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of disposal costs per tonne of contaminated soils to landfill after July; what assessment she has made of additional treatment facilities required by July; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: It is estimated that, from mid July, the requirements of the Landfill Directive could increase the disposal costs per tonne for contaminated soils to landfill by between 10 per cent. to 100 per cent. depending on the degree and type of contamination.
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contaminate within the soil. The Hazardous Waste Forum task force on treatment and disposal capacity is currently assessing all these interlinking factors, continues to monitor closely the provision of facilities, and will advise on the issues that need to be addressed so that all waste is subject to environmentally sound management and disposal. Overall the Government's policy is to reduce the UK's reliance on landfill, which, as well as its negative environmental impacts, makes little practical use of waste and is a missed opportunity to recover value from waste.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with her counterparts in the (a) Scottish Executive and (b) National Assembly for Wales about the promotion of sales of (i) beef and (ii) lamb; and what assessment she has made of the level of spending on promotion in (A) Scotland and (B) Wales. 
Alun Michael: No specific discussions have been held nor assessments made. The promotion of beef and lamb in Scotland and Wales is a matter for their industries representative bodies who receive proportionate funding from the Meat and Livestock Commission levy.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the employment of secondees from commercial organisations to draft parliamentary answers; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: Defra's Ministers see secondments and interchange as a key means of complementing the skills and experience of the Civil Service, drawing in expertise from such fields as business, local government and the voluntary sector as well as other Government Departments. This is assisting Defra's commitment to play its part in developing a modern, flexible, outward looking Civil Service that works in partnership with all sectors of society. Interchange is seen as a key tool in
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meeting this commitment. Defra continues to promote and encourage the interchange of personnel between the Department and a range of other organisations.
The term 'secondee' is used within the Civil Service in a more limited sense than the meaning used outside the Civil Service. In the Civil Service a secondee is a person who is 'borrowed' from an organisation outside the Civil Service for a period of between three months and three years (exceptionally five years), without affecting employment status. Great care is taken in setting up any secondment to ensure that conflicts of interest do not arise. During the secondment period the secondee would remain an employee of the parent organisation but would be expected to abide by the Defra staff handbook and the Official Secrets Act. At the end of the secondment the secondee would return to the parent organisation.
Mr. Morley: The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) has been set up, under the "Managing Radioactive Waste Safely" programme, to recommend the best option, or combination of options, for the long-term management of the UK's higher activity wastes. As the "Managing Radioactive Waste Safely" consultation document itself indicated, the Committee will be assessing long-term storage options alongside other long-term management options that are available. Both the public and stakeholder groups will be extensively involved in this assessment process.
The Department's responsibility is to ensure that where reprocessing takes place it is in accordance with appropriate environmental objectives, including the United Kingdom's regulatory requirements and international obligations.
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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether home composting is taken into account in the setting of recycling targets at (a) local and (b) national level. 
Mr. Morley: Home composting activity is not measured as part of the local authority best value performance indicator (BVPI) for composting. Its contribution to recycling and composting rates is therefore excluded from statutory performance standards for local authorities and from the national targets for recycling and composting. This is because there is not yet a workable and auditable method of calculating the amount of waste diverted through home composting schemes, or one which properly reflects the local authority's contribution to the activity.
The impact of home composting on reducing waste arisings is already reflected at a local level by BVPI 84, which measures kilograms of household waste collected per head of population. Local authorities are required to set their own local targets for BVPI 84 which has to be included in their Best Value Performance Plans. The Government have concluded a number of Local Public Service Agreements in which home composting activity contributes directly to the achievement of the local authority's target.
Mr. Morley: The Government are working with expert bodies, including the Waste and Resources Action Programme, to develop a robust methodology to calculate the amount of waste diverted from the household waste stream through home composting schemes. If a workable and auditable methodology is found, the Government will then review whether and how home composting can be incorporated into future local and national recycling and composting figures.
The impact of home composting on waste reduction is already reflected at local level by Best Value Performance Indicator 84, which measures kilograms of household waste collected per head of population. Home composting activity will also be reflected in local
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and national progress towards meeting targets under the Landfill Directive to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Environmental Agency plans to audit all refrigerator recycling plants, with particular reference to those licensed to recover chlorofluorocarbons from the refridgeration circuit. 
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