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Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what policy directions on procurement of legal and sustainably sourced timber she has issued applying to (a) Lottery funded bodies and (b) private finance initiative contracts; and if she will make a statement. [198222]

Alun Michael: Lottery distributors who are responsible for issuing instructions to Lottery funded bodies, are intended to be, independent of Government, but they are obliged to take into account policy directions from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. These directions set out the framework for the wider aims of Lottery funding, and include the need for the distributing bodies to further the objectives of sustainable development when awarding Lottery grants. The Lottery distributing bodies are strongly committed to sustainable development, including the procurement of timber from legal and sustainable sources.

Advice on implementing sustainable development policy through public private partnership contracts can be viewed in the Guide at This advice contains a number of references and links to the Government's timber procurement policy, including a specific reminder of the commitment in Annex A under the heading Materials.

The OGC first issued guidance to departments on the procurement of legal and sustainable timber in their construction projects, including through PFI contracts, in an Information Note (IN 9/2002) in December 2002. That Note included the following text. "Departments must review their existing arrangements for the purchase of legal and sustainably-produced timber and timber products, such as joinery, fittings, furniture and veneers. To help ensure that suppliers are fully aware of the Government's commitment and what it means to them, the Minister for the Environment wrote to Green Ministers on 13 May 2002 asking them, inter alia, to review their procurement of timber and timber products. The letter enclosed a model specification clause for use in Government contracts. Anyone who is developing or managing a public private partnership, including PFI projects involving capital investment should take account of this latest letter to Green Ministers when writing their output specification. The Green Public Private Partnerships guide gives advice on writing the output specification as well as issues for contractors to consider when drawing up their tender."

The OGC issued further advice in the light of Defra's January 2004 guidance and revised model contract specification clause on timber procurement, in a subsequent Information Note (IN 5/2004) in May 2004 to update that given in IN 9/2002.

Tobacco-growing Industry

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what level of financial support has been given to the tobacco-growing industry in the EU in each of the last five years. [193507]

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Alun Michael: The level of financial support (premiums) for the tobacco-growing industry in the EU in each of the last five years is shown in the table.

Under the agreement reached by the Council of Ministers in Luxembourg in April of this year, direct support for tobacco will be brought to an end by 2010. Between 2006 and 2010 producer member states will have the option of retaining up to 60 per cent. of the tobacco premium as a coupled payment. From 2010, aid will be completely decoupled from production with 50 per cent. being transferred to the single farm payment and the remaining 50 per cent. to be used for restructuring programmes under the rural development programme.
Cost of premia paid under the tobacco regime

Million euro£ Million(47)

(47) Appropriations 2003
Exchange rate based on the rate for 21 October 2004: 1 euro=0.69005
Official Journal of the European Union

Toxic Waste

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the disposal of toxic waste. [199064]

Mr. Morley: Significant changes in the management of hazardous waste are being brought about by implementation of the Landfill and Hazardous Waste Directives. Earlier concerns that the UK would have insufficient landfill capacity to deal with arisings of hazardous waste following the end of co-disposal on 16 July 2004 have not materialised. There is sufficient landfill capacity to meet demand at present and fly tipping has not increased.

The Government and the Agency are working together to prepare for the full implementation of the Landfill Directive waste acceptance criteria (WAC) in July 2005. The WAG set leachate limits on waste going to landfill, and will require some hazardous waste to have additional treatment prior to landfill. It is important that producers of hazardous waste in particular, are aware of their obligations, and that they are liaising with the waste management industry as necessary. To that end Defra has organised a seminar on the issue next month. In addition, a comprehensive web portal, has been established to provide links to advice, guidance and details of regulatory requirements.

The Hazardous Waste Forum also meets regularly to discuss a variety of issues, including disposal.

Warm Front

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many households in England are eligible for assistance under
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the (a) Warm Front and (b) Warm Front Plus programmes; how many additional households become eligible for Warm Front Plus as a result of pension credit being added to the range of qualifying benefits; and if she will make a statement. [196953]

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

Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discretion her Department allows Warm Front scheme managers to (a) repeat grants for households which have already benefited from Warm Front and (b) fast-track exceptionally vulnerable households; [199209]

(2) what mechanisms are in place to monitor private landlords' compliance with the requirement to freeze rents for a one or two year period after a Warm Front improvement. [199210]

Mr. Morley: It has not proved possible to respond to my hon. Friend in the time available before Prorogation.

Waste Management (PFI)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to establish a taskforce to help local authorities which may use private finance initiatives to develop waste management infrastructure and facilities. [198231]

Mr. Morley: The private finance initiative is one of the main mechanisms through which local government funds investment in value for money waste services.

In 2003, Defra set up a Waste Implementation Programme (WIP) to facilitate improved local authority performance, boost the take up of wider options for waste management and to co-ordinate funding more effectively. Action taken by WIP has already led to an increase in the number of waste PFI projects coming forward, including through close working with local authorities, the waste industry and the public-private partnerships programme (the 4Ps).

A new Waste Management Procurement Pack has been developed by the 4Ps to provide specific assistance to local authorities in England with the procurement of waste management projects through the PFI—strongly supported by Defra, Partnerships UK and the Waste and Resources Action Programme. This guidance, which all local authorities can use, will enable the initial delivery of projects to a higher standard, reduce the time taken for them to reach contract signature, and act as a guide and invaluable tool throughout the whole procurement process.

The WIP programme is committed to ensuring that ongoing support is made available to local authorities to maintain the healthy levels of good quality potential waste PFI projects that we are currently seeing. The need for further specific support measures is currently under consideration.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has put in place to permit waste disposal authorities, which will be introducing new private finance initiative
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waste management contracts, to suspend any fines prior to the full introduction of the contract under the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme. [198480]

Mr. Morley: None; under Section 9(2) of the Waste and Emissions Trading Act 2003 a waste disposal authority (WDA) automatically becomes liable for a (financial) penalty if the amount of biodegradable municipal waste it sends to landfill in any one scheme year exceeds the amount authorised by the number of landfill allowances it holds for that year. Before that position is reached, however, a WDA will be able to trade or borrow allowances in a six month reconciliation period that follows the end of a scheme year, in order to balance its books. Alternatively, a WDA can make a case to the Secretary of State for her to use her powers to waive a penalty if the reason for the breach was beyond its control.

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