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Waste Management

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance was given to waste producers on the conditions of storage on pollution prevention and control sites of orphan wastes; what requests she received from waste producers for advice; and if she will make a statement. [185264]

Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency is responsible for regulating the storage of wastes, in accordance with environmental legislation, in England and Wales. Normally, some form of authorization, a licence or permit, is required; in some cases an exemption may be appropriate.

Anyone, including producers, who either wishes to alter his/her authorisation or requires a new one, should apply to the agency. Guidance on how to apply is available on the agency's website:


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether it is the Government's policy to continue to oppose the re-introduction of whaling other than by certain indigenous peoples. [185809]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 22 July 2004]: The UK Government are opposed to all forms of whaling other than limited subsistence whaling by indigenous people to meet a defined and substantiated need. We strongly support the current International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling.

Wind Farms

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of wind farms on wild birds. [184493]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

The Government believes that the generation of electricity from wind farms can make a major contribution to achieving the 2010 targets for renewable energy. It is estimated that, if global warning continues as at present, 25 species of bird in Britain will be extinct by 2050.

The Department for Trade and Industry works closely with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (which, like the DTI, has regulatory functions for offshore wind farm developments), the statutory nature conservation and other organisations as appropriate, to ensure that decisions on whether to grant consent for wind farm developments are considered in the light of the best available information about impacts on the environment and on birds in particular.

One of the outcomes of this close working is that applicants for consents for those offshore wind farm developments proposed under Round 2 of Crown Estate leasing, will be required to provide two years of bird survey data as part of the environmental reports that are submitted with consent applications.
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Asylum Seekers

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers requested entrance to European Union member states in (a) 1997, (b) 1999, (c) 2001, (d) 2003 and (e) 2004. [184262]

Mr. Browne: Information on the number of asylum seekers requesting entrance to European Union member states is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. For example for the UK the majority of applications are made in country and it is therefore not possible to identify such cases as asylum seekers prior to entry.

Including dependants, applications for asylum in the UK fell by 41 per cent. in 2003 compared with a fall of 10 per cent. in applications to the rest of the EU (excluding Italy). When the relative size of domestic populations is taken into account, the UK ranks seventh among EU countries (excluding Italy) in terms of asylum seekers per head of population.

Information on the number of asylum seekers applying for asylum in European Union member states is given in the table. (Data for 2004 are not currently available and hence data for the 10 new EU member states are not included.)
Applications(49) received for asylum in Europe, including dependants, by year of application, 1997 to 2003

United Kingdom(53)41,50058,50091,20098,900
Total EU255,800312,300396,700401,900

2001 62002 62003 7Asylum seekers/1,000 of population 8
United Kingdom91,600103,10061,1001.0
Total EU397,600386,100309,7000.9

(49) Figures rounded to the nearest 100.
(50) Figures based on IGC data but adjusted to include an estimated number of dependants.
(51) Figures based on UNHCR data, including dependants.
(52) IGC data for 1997 to 1998. UNHCR data for 1999 to 2002
(53) Figures have been adjusted to include an estimated number of dependants between 1997 and 2001 . 2002 and 2003 figures based on actual data..
(54) Revised figures.
(55) Provisional figures.
(56) Source: 2003 World Population Data Sheet, Population Reference Bureau website.

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Information on asylum applications in EU member states is published in quarterly web pages and in the annual statistical bulletin 'Asylum Statistics United Kingdom'. Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 2003 will be available from the end of August 2004. Copies of these publications and others relating to general immigration to the UK are available from the Library and from the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate web site at http://www.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has commissioned to establish the number of failed asylum applicants who remain in the United Kingdom illegally; and if he will make a statement. [184025]

Mr. Browne: The Government have commissioned research into the methods used in other countries to estimate the size of their illegal populations in order to define methods appropriate for the UK. The work on this is ongoing.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the current time taken to return failed asylum seekers. [184175]

Mr. Browne: I refer my hon. Friend to a reply given to a similar question posed by Gareth Thomas MP on 12 June 2003.

The Immigration Service (IS) is fully committed to removing failed asylum seekers and others who have no entitlement to be in the United Kingdom.

There are no publishable guidelines or data on how quickly removal should take place. The speed with which a failed asylum seeker is removed very much depends on the individual circumstances of each case, whether there are any barriers to removal (including lack of co-operation by the government of their country of origin) and how quickly these can be overcome.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Department for International Development and the
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding the conditions of failed Somali asylum seekers who have been returned to Somalia. [181483]

Mr. Browne: The Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) were informed of our programme of enforced returns to Somalia and we keep in close contact with these Departments at official and ministerial level on the situation in Somalia. The Home Office's Country Information and Policy Unity (CIPU) produce country information materials that are used as the background against which asylum applications are considered. The FCO are consulted about these country information materials, prior to the publication of the documents in order to ensure that this material is accurate and comprehensive.

Caseworkers also have access at all times to senior caseworkers with specific country knowledge, as well as to CIPU which provides up-to-date and specific information on request, drawing on a range of reliable sources, including the FCO, with which CIPU maintains regular contact. If, on the basis of the available information, a Somali asylum applicant is found not to be in need of protection by the Home Office and by the independent Immigration Appellate Authority, then it is considered safe for that person to be returned to Somalia, and they will be considered for removal. We do not routinely monitor the conditions of failed asylum seekers once they have been returned to their country, having been found to have no protection needs.

It is also worth noting that according to the UNHCR's 2003 Global Refugee Report, 9,543 Somali refugees were assisted to return to North West Somalia (Somaliland) from Ethiopia and Djibouti, while 680 returned to North-west Somalia (Puntland) and four to Mogadishu, bringing the total number of assisted Somali returnees to 10,227 last year.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many single additional payments were made to asylum seekers, under Regulation 11 of the Asylum Support Regulations 2000, in each financial year since 2000–01; [176073]

(2) what the estimated cost savings are of the proposed abolition of the £50 single additional payment available to National Asylum Support Service supported asylum seekers. [176074]

Mr. Browne: The estimated number of Single Additional Payments made since 2000–01 is set out in the following table:
Financial YearNumber

We estimate that abolition will save the Exchequer approximately £4 million in the next financial year.
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Single Additional Payments were introduced when financial assistance was paid by way of vouchers. Now that support is provided entirely in cash, asylum seekers are no longer limited to where they can shop and can get better value for their money. Moreover, as applications are being processed more quickly, with 80 per cent. of initial claims processed within two months, the justification for one-off payments every six months is reduced.

Asylum seekers can still apply for a £300 maternity payment and since March 2003 additional support for pregnant women and children under three has meant that the level of asylum support has increased overall for these more vulnerable groups.

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