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23 Feb 2004 : Column 151Wcontinued
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings she has had with ministerial colleagues from other departments to ensure that the Waste Implementation Programme has a co-ordinated approach with waste-related programmes in other Departments. 
Mr. Morley: The Waste Implementation Programme (WIP) is putting England on the path to more sustainable waste management with measures to slow the growth in the amount of waste, investment in recycling infrastructure and support for new alternative waste management technologies. This new programme was explicitly created to provide clear responsibilities and accountabilities, and a strong focus at the centre of government to drive forward implementation in specific areas. The initial direction and implementation arrangements for WIP were overseen by a ministerial
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group answering jointly to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Underpinning the programme are effective mechanisms for cross-government working. A Steering Committee, representing key interests engaged in waste management, has been established to drive forward the implementation of WIP workstreams. This group also provides strategic advice on the new programme, and reports direct to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Meetings are attended by representatives from several Government Departments. In addition, there are regular meetings with ODPM, DTI and HMT at official level.
Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with Ofwat and United Utilities about the decision to allow an increase in water and sewerage charges for the remaining year of the current price review period by more than the amount originally set by the regulator; and if she will review the safeguards in place to protect low income households. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 12 February 2004]: Price limits for water companies are set or modified independently by the Director General of Water Services. The Director General and United Utilities have kept me informed of this interim price determination that revises price limits for the charging year beginning on 1 April 2004.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if her Department will make representations to the European Commission for the inclusion of the management of wildlife in the criteria for the definition of legality in the European Commission's proposal for an action plan on European Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade proposal. 
Mr. Morley: The European Commission's Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) includes proposals to prevent the import into the EU of illegally logged timber, through the voluntary licensing of timber exports from FLEGT partner countries. Under these voluntary agreements export permits would be granted only if the timber has been harvested in conformity with relevant national legislation.
The Government's view is that it is for each producer state to define legality in reference to the national laws and regulations of that state and for them to decide if the management of wildlife should be included in such a definition. It would not be appropriate to make representations to the European Commission concerning the criteria for defining legality. We would however be willing to work with individual countries to address this as a criteria.
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Mr. Morley: We monitor the major internet sales sites, and take enforcement action when possible illegal sales of wildlife items are identified. This is one of the areas that I am asking the National Wildlife Crime Intelligence Unit to focus on.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason noise from wind turbines has been excluded from the study at Salford University into low frequency noise sponsored by her Department. 
Alun Michael: The study being carried out by Salford University aims to provide a method for assessing low frequency noise. Salford University has been asked to identify a number of examples of different types of low frequency noise for detailed investigation to determine how assessment of such noises could be carried by Local Enforcement Practitioners. Salford University are due to report shortly on the examples recommended for detailed investigation.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of pupils in Northern Ireland achieved three grade As or above at A level in each of the last five years. 
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Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland have taken steps to manage asbestos by (a) undertaking a survey of all premises, (b) compiling a register indicating where asbestos is present and (c) preparing a plan for managing any associated risks. 
Jane Kennedy: I understand from the Chief Executives of the Education and Library Boards that all five Boards are currently undertaking surveys of all premises to determine the location and condition of material likely to contain asbestos. As these surveys are completed, the Boards are compiling registers that record the location and condition of asbestos. Four Boards have completed asbestos management plans, while the fifth Board (Belfast) intends to complete its plan by the end of February 2004.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) schools and (b) premises used by school children are assessed as properties with a (i) low, (ii) medium and (iii) high risk of asbestos having been used. 
Jane Kennedy: Education and Library Boards are currently engaged in surveys of all schools and Board premises. The surveys should all be completed by May 2004 at which stage the information requested would be available.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures are in place to train maintenance staff in the (a) management, (b) surveying and (c) sampling of asbestos in Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland. 
Jane Kennedy: I understand from the Chief Executives of the Education and Library Boards that all relevant maintenance staff have received training in the management, surveying and sampling of asbestos. The training has consisted of the following standard modules provided by the British Occupational Hygiene Society:
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what work each Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland has carried out to inform schools in their area of procedures to safeguard children, staff and members of the public in relation to asbestos in schools and other board properties. 
Jane Kennedy: All Education and Library Boards are organising awareness training for relevant staff at schools and other board properties aimed at providing them with sufficient knowledge to assist safely in asbestos management. This training is expected to be completed by all boards by May 2004. Asbestos management plans, which include details of the procedures to be followed in the management of asbestos, will be provided to schools and other board properties. Registers are also being drawn up as boards complete surveys of properties, which will include details of the location and condition of any asbestos. Individual properties will be provided with a copy of the register relevant to them.
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Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many asbestos leaks occurred in buildings owned by each of the Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland in each year since records were kept; and where these leaks occurred. 
Jane Kennedy: I understand from the Chief Executives of the Education and Library Boards that only the South Eastern Education and Library Board has recorded an asbestos leak. This was at the Board's Headquarters in 2002 when elevated fibre counts were detected as part of a routine monitoring programme during an asbestos removal project. In addition to this leak, the South Eastern Board has recorded five occasions involving disturbances of asbestos during the carrying out of maintenance work. These are:
|1992||Braniel Primary School|
|1999||Killyleagh Outdoor Education Centre|
|2003||Ardnabannon Outdoor Education|
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland have in place (a) an Asbestos Register and (b) an Asbestos Management Plan. 
Jane Kennedy: I understand from the Chief Executives of the Education and Library Boards that all Boards are currently compiling asbestos registers as they complete surveys of premises. Four Boards have completed Asbestos Management Plans and the fifth (Belfast) intends to have its plan completed by the end of February 2004.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to ensure that there is a recognised procedure in place to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos in (a) schools and (b) premises used by schoolchildren in Northern Ireland. 
Jane Kennedy: The Department of Education has issued guidance to all schools and education authorities on asbestos management and the requirements of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003. The Department has provided funding to enable the Education and Library Boards to survey all schools in Northern Ireland, including controlled, maintained, Voluntary Grammar, Grant Maintained Integrated Schools and any other relevant Board premises, to determine the location and condition of asbestos. The Asbestos Management Plans, which are currently being finalised, will outline the processes and actions required to contain and manage any risk from asbestos, where it has been detected. Education and Library Boards have also provided professional training to technical staff and will be organising awareness training for all relevant non-technical staff.
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