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Recycling

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of (a) domestic refuse, (b) commercial refuse and (c) industrial refuse was recycled in (i) Leicester and (ii) England in the last year for which figures are available. [198662]


 
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Mr. Morley: Results from the Defra Municipal Waste Management Survey 2002–03 show Leicester with a household recycling rate of 11.5 per cent. The household recycling rate for England over the same period was 14.5 per cent.

The latest results available for industrial and commercial waste, reused or recycled are from the Environment Agency, National Waste Production Survey, 1998–99. Results for England show a commercial recycling rate of 24.2 per cent. and an industrial recycling rate of 42.2 per cent. The corresponding recycling rates for Leicester are not available.

Regulatory Impact Assessments

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the aggregate annual cost measured by the regulatory impact assessments is of compliance with all the regulations introduced by her Department since 1997. [196560]

Alun Michael: All proposals which impact on business, charities or the voluntary sector require a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) which includes details of the costs, benefits and risks of the proposal. RIAs are subject to public consultation and copies of final RIAs are available from the House Libraries and on departmental websites.

River Thames (Sewage)

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to avoid a repetition of the flooding of the River Thames with raw sewage in August; and if she will make a statement. [199155]

Mr. Morley: The sewage collection system serving London is comprised largely of combined systems which collect and transport for treatment both domestic and industrial waste water, and rainwater run-off. As sewers and sewage treatment works have a maximum capacity, it is a design feature of combined systems to have overflows which discharge in some wet weather conditions to prevent sewers from flooding, and sewage treatment works from being overloaded. Therefore, although we hope the environmental effects of the sewage discharge in early August aren't repeated, the overflows will continue to operate during some wet weather conditions.

As agreed in the last Periodic Review of water company price limits for 2000–05, Thames Water, the Environment Agency, Defra and the Office of Water Services (Ofwat) have been involved in a Strategic Study of the environmental impact of intermittent storm sewage discharges to the Thames Tideway. The remit of the study was to identify objectives for improvement, and to propose potential solutions, having regard to costs and benefits.

As a result of the study, the Final Guidance by the Secretary of State to the Director-General of OfWat, published on 4 October 2004, and the draft price limits published by Ofwat on 5 August 2004, include provision for further measures to address sewage discharges to the Thames Tideway.
 
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In the medium term this will result in improvements to the capacity and quality of treated effluent from three sewage treatment works (Beckton, Crossness, and Mogden) which discharge to the Thames Tideway. These improvements are also to include reducing the frequency of intermittent discharges from the storm water storage tanks at Mogden, which made a significant contribution to the pollution in August.

In addition a scheme to improve the treated effluent at Riverside sewage treatment works, is identified to improve water quality in the river and protect fish.

Also, as set out in the Final Guidance, we have asked Thames Water and the Environment Agency to undertake further work on a long-term solution proposed by the Strategic Study group, and on other smaller-scalemeasures that could bring earlier improvements on intermittent discharges.

Sand Eels

Lawrie Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the advice by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea recommending a reduction in fishing for North Sea sand eels; and if she will support lower catch limits for industrial feed fisheries within EU waters at the next EU Fisheries Council. [199229]

Mr. Bradshaw: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

School Milk

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ensure that milk is available under the school milk scheme to pupils in all schools. [197779]

Alun Michael: Member states are required to make the EU school milk subsidy scheme available to primary and nursery schools wishing to participate; participation is, a matter for the school or local education authority.

Set-aside Rules

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to publish details of the new set-aside rules. [199298]

Alun Michael: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Single Farm Payment Scheme

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how different types of tenanted farms are to be treated in respect of their eligibility for National Reserve payments under the proposed Single Farm Payment system. [198820]

Alun Michael: The precise way in which the national reserve will operate in certain circumstances is still being considered. I anticipate a further announcement soon.
 
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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether tenancies secured under the provisions of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1986 will be treated as entitled to payments from the National Reserve under the proposed Single Farm Payment system. [198821]

Alun Michael: In applying the provisions of the national reserve, leases of six years or more (five in some circumstances) may be considered as equivalent to purchase and lead to an award under the "investors" category. The 1986 Act Tenancies are essentially one-year renewable tenancies. We are still considering whether they can be considered as long-term tenancies for this purpose.

Sugar

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) discussions she has had and (b) agreements she has reached with her colleagues in the (i) Department for Trade and Industry and (ii) Department for International Development in respect of the UK position on the future of the EU Sugar Regime. [198760]

Alun Michael: Reform of the EU sugar regime has been the subject of normal inter-departmental consultation. The welcome which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave to the European Commission's latest Communication at the July Agriculture Council, as an important step in the right direction, reflected these discussions.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what decisions the Government have taken in respect of European Council negotiations on the future of the EU Sugar Regime. [198761]

Alun Michael: The Government have welcomed the European Commission's July Communication on sugar reform as an important step in the right direction and continues to urge the need for early progress, including on an Action Plan to address the concerns of existing preferential suppliers to the EU market.

Formal negotiations will not begin until the Commission comes forward with detailed legislative proposals.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) the timetable for (i) future negotiations and (ii) decisions and (b) future entitlement to quota ownership in respect of the EU Sugar Regime. [198827]

Alun Michael: The European Commission has tabled a Communication setting out their preferred approach to sugar reform, but have not yet made formal legislative proposals for a new regime. It is for the Commission to decide when to put such proposals to the Council and for the Presidency in office to bring discussions to a successful conclusion.

We do not have a view on future entitlement to quota ownership at this stage of discussion.
 
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