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15 Dec 2004 : Column 1109W—continued


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total value was of contracts between community recycling organisations and local authorities in England in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003. [203664]

Mr. Morley: Defra does not hold this information. The hon. Member may like to contact the Community Recycling Network ( and 0117 942 0142).

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many community recycling organisations were registered in England to collect waste in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003. [203665]

Mr. Morley: This information is not held centrally, as not all community recycling organisations are required to be registered with the Environment Agency.

Sea Defence Projects

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what procurement policy the Government have in place for the use of timber in sea defence projects; and what steps she takes to ensure that all such timber is (a) procured from legal and sustainable sources and (b) certified by one of the two systems the Central Point on Expertise on Timber has identified as guaranteeing legality and sustainability; [202089]

(2) if she will list the sea defence projects planned for (a) 2004–05 and (b) 2005–06 which will use timber in their construction, stating (i) what type of timber will be used, (ii) whether this timber is procured from legal and sustainable sources and (iii) whether this timber is certified by one of the two systems the Central Point on Expertise on Timber has identified as guaranteeing legality and sustainability. [202088]

Mr. Morley: Defra funds most of the Environment Agency's flood defence activities and provides grant aid on a project-by-project basis to the other flood and coastal defence operating authorities (local authorities
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and internal drainage boards) to support their investment in improvement projects to manage flood and coastal erosion risk.

In 2000, the Government announced that Departments and agencies, including the Environment Agency, must actively seek to procure timber and timber products from sources independently validated as legal and sustainably managed. In 2002, Defra Ministers wrote to all English local authorities to encourage them to adopt responsible timber procurement policies. However, choice of materials to be used in construction of defences and whether they are obtained from legal and sustainable sources is a matter for the relevant operating authority. I regret therefore that parts (i), (ii) and (iii) of question 202088 could not be answered without incurring disproportionate cost.

I understand that the Environment Agency, as a non-departmental body of Defra, purchases timber in accordance with the Government's timber procurement policy. Currently this policy is to require contractors to supply timber products that derive from legally harvested trees. Bidders for Government contracts are invited to offer timber from sustainable sources as a higher quality variant and such offers are given preference where they offer value for money.

Timber used by the Agency in sea defence projects is predominantly tropical hardwood. The Central Point on Expertise on Timber (CPET) has concluded that all five certification schemes it examined provide assurance of compliance with Government requirements for legal timber. CPET further concluded that the Forestry Stewardship Council and the Canadian Standards Association will also assure central departments that timber products derive from sustainably managed forests. However there is very little certified hardwood available that is suitable for marine work.

The Agency is working with its supply chain to encourage more production of tropical hardwood that can be independently verified as legally harvested from sustainably managed forests. The Agency currently does its own auditing of timber use in the absence of any other independent verification.

The following table shows coastal defence projects on which authorities are likely to incur expenditure in years
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2004–05 and 2005–06 and where timber is either likely to be used or to have been used. The table is based on forward planning project information provided recently
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by the Environment Agency and by local authorities in the summer and should be regarded as indicative rather than a definitive list.


start year
Allerdale borough councilMaryport Harbour Flood and Coast DefenceOn-going
Arun district councilElmer Phase 32005–06
Arun district councilFelpham Beach Nourishment2005–06
Bournemouth borough councilGroyne Building Programme, Stage 26On-going
Canterbury city councilTankerton Sea Defences—Phase 3On-going
Canterbury city councilWhitstable Coastal Defences2004–05
Dover district councilKingsdown and Walmer Beach ManagementOn-going
Eastbourne borough councilEastbourne Beach Management2004–05
East Riding of YorkshireWithernsea Southern Revetment2004–05
Environment AgencyPert, near Rye, East SussexOn-going
Environment AgencyBulverhythe, St. Leonards on Sea, East Sussex2005–06
Hastings borough councilHastings Beach Management (Years 1–5)2004–05
Havant borough councilShingle Recycling, Seafront, Hayling Island2004–05
Havant borough councilBeach Nourishment, Eastoke, Hayling Island2005–06
Portsmouth city councilOld Portsmouth Flood Protection WorksOn-going
Rother district councilCooden to Cliff End Coastal Defence2005–06
Waveney district councilSouthwold Town Defence Improvements2005–06
West Dorset district councilWest Bay Coastal Defence, Harbour Improvements and Sea DefencesOn-going

Sewage Discharges (River Thames)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much sewage was discharged into the Thames in each month of the last four years. [202071]

Mr. Morley: Table 1 sets out the monthly flow data of sewage discharges from Abingdon, Cassington, Little Marlow and Windsor treatment works directly to the upper freshwater section of the Thames. Secondary and more stringent treatment is provided to the sewage prior to discharge at Abingdon, Little Marlow and Windsor. Discharges from Cassington receive secondary treatment, and are to receive more stringent treatment in 2005.
Table 1


All figures are in cubic metres.

Sewage discharges to the Thames estuary are made by three water companies Thames, Anglian and Southern. The following tables concern discharges made by Thames Water.

Table 2 sets out the average monthly volumes of fully treated, to secondary standards, and partially treated, because of excess flows during wet weather, sewage discharges to the Thames from Beckton, Crossness, Long Reach, Mogden and Riverside treatment works. I have provided the monthly average as the volumes are fairly constant throughout the year.
Table 2

Fully treated sewage from five treatment worksPartially treated sewage from five treatment works

Table 3 sets out the monthly calculated volumes of untreated sewage discharged to the Thames from the five largest pumping stations during wet weather. As no data are available for the other overflows along the Thames Tideway, it is estimated that on average these volumes represent 60 per cent. of the total discharge from London's combined drainage system at these times.
Table 3


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