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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to whom her Department distributes expenditure on research and development; how many staff are employed as a result; and how many research establishments of (a) her Department and (b) its agencies there are in each region of England. 
Alun Michael: The Defra spend on research and development is some £150 million annually. We fund about 250 contractors including our laboratory agencies, the institutes of the Research Councils, a range of universities, and private sector providers of research such as ADAS. There are approximately 1,500 research projects in our portfolio and details of these can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/science. It is not possible to provide details of precise staff numbers employed on Defra R and D contracts. These will vary over the lifetime of projects, and will often involve less than full-time inputs from a number of researchers or in some cases sub-contractors. The main laboratory agencies of the Defra are:
The PRA has undergone a number of revisions and is currently under further review and will take account of the recent findings of the organism on ten trees of six species in Great Britain. Copies of the most recent revision were placed in the Library of the House on 13 February 2003 and updates have since been placed on the Defra website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/pra.htm.
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present in our woodland environment. This survey, which is due to be completed by April, will help us better determine the threat to Britain's trees.
For infected trees there are two options: either the destruction of the whole tree by burning or deep burial, or the debarking and disinfection of the trunk and main branches which can then be removed and processed. The removed bark, all other branches and debris such as leaves and soil litter are similarly destroyed by burning or deep burial.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to demonstrate to local authorities the potential benefits of developing sustainable energy policy. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 February 2004]: In the Energy Efficiency White Paper published in February 2003 the Government set out its strategy to help local authorities take a more proactive role in the delivery of sustainable energy policy. This includes establishing a new Beacon Council theme on sustainable energy, promoting energy efficiency as an area to be considered for Public Service Agreements and reviewing guidance to Energy Conservation Authorities on complying with the requirements of the Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA). The Government will publish in the spring an implementation plan for delivery of the energy efficiency policy commitments made in the White Paper.
The Government funded Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust (EST) provide support to local authorities to develop sustainable energy policy. For example, through its Carbon Management initiative the Carbon Trust assists local authorities in developing long term, strategic carbon emissions reductions plans. It is also piloting an energy-financing scheme aimed at local authorities. The EST helps local authorities to deliver their Home Energy Conservation Act and other sustainable energy responsibilities through initiatives such as the Local Authority Support Programme, the Practical Help website and funding for the National and Regional HECA Fora Secretariats.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how her Department disseminates best practice in sustainable energy management programmes to local authorities. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 February 2004]: The Department disseminates best practice in sustainable energy management programmes to local authorities through its funding of the Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust.
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Mr. Morley: The Government have set out a policy and planning framework, in Waste Strategy 2000 and Planning Policy Guidance Note 10 Planning and Waste Management, which is concerned with reducing the amount of waste produced and where waste is produced, for dealing with in a way that supports sustainable development. Proposals for waste management facilities should be developed and considered within that framework. The criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste are set out in the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) and the associated Council decision (2003/33/EC), including those applicable to underground waste disposal sites such as salt mine workings.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answers of 14 January 2004, Official Report, column 739W, on Tees Estuary, whether ballast water has been removed or disposed of from the ships (a) in accordance with a detailed method statement and (b) without such a statement. 
Mr. Morley: No ballast water has yet been removed or disposed of from the ships. No removal is permitted until the Environment Agency has approved a method statement. Able UK has not yet submitted a method statement to the Agency for its approval.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 29 January 2004]: The US authorities accept that the four ships will have to return to the US, unless environmentally suitable and legally acceptable methods for their disposal have been identified. The immediate return of the vessels is not practicable.
Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has met representatives from the printer cartridge remanufacturing industry to discuss the scope of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. 
Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which Ministers in her Department have met (a) Lexmark and (b) Hewlett Packard to discuss the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive; and what the dates were of such meetings. 
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Mr. Morley: In October 2002, my right hon. Friend, the then Minister of State for Environment (Mr. Meacher), met with industry representatives to discuss the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. A representative of Hewlett Packard was present at the meeting.
Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the Government's transposition of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (a) included only whole products and (b) did not include consumables. 
The directive applies only to whole products because it makes producers financially responsible for the environmentally sound end of life management of their products. A very large number of producers are affected by this legislation as it is, and adding consumables to the scope of the directive would have significantly increased the number of producers obligated by the legislation, making the directive significantly harder, if not impossible to enforce, as well as more costly.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the implications for hazardous waste regulations arising from the bring-back requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. 
Mr. Morley: The potential implications of the bring-back requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive on the control of hazardous waste are being assessed in the on-going review of the special waste regulations. These issues will be explained in the forthcoming consultation on replacement hazardous waste regulations.
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