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Mobile Phones

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many mobile phones have been recycled (a) wholly and (b) partly in each year since 1997. [213983]

Mr. Morley: No data was readily available on the number of handsets recycled per year since 1997. However, industry estimates that 18 million handsets are replaced every year and that in total over the last two years there have been about five million handsets taken by mobile phone recycling and refurbishment companies in the UK. It is further estimated by industry that about 60 per cent. of the handsets taken for recycling and refurbishment have been refurbished and tested in the UK and then sold for re-use abroad, mostly to Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. The remaining 40 per cent. have been sent for materials recycling.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department has taken to encourage the recycling of mobile phones and their component parts by (a) businesses and (b) the general public; and if she will make a statement. [213990]

Mr. Morley: Defra has been closely involved in developing implementation proposals for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which requires producers of electrical equipment, including mobile phones, to treat and recycle their products to target levels. The Directive sets out requirements for separate collection of WEEE from businesses and private householders. The Directive also requires that private householders are given information on collection facilities available to them in order to minimise the co disposal of WEEE as unsorted municipal waste.
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Parliamentary Questions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply fully to question reference 211860 regarding civil contingency planning for major floods. [215940]

Mr. Morley: I refer the hon. Member to my earlier reply of 3 February 2005, Official Report, columns 1023–24W.

Sewage Discharge

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information (a) her Department and (b) the Environment Agency collects on discharges of sewage into rivers; which rivers are monitored; and what data are collected in each case. [211765]

Mr. Morley: Defra obtains aggregated information from the Environment Agency on compliance of sewage treatment works in England and Wales with their discharge consents. This information is published in the e-Digest of Environmental Statistics at the following Defra website location:

Information on individual river stretches is available in the What's in your backyard" section at the following Environment Agency website location: =English

The Environment Agency routinely monitors about 40,000 kilometres of running freshwaters representing almost the whole of the river and canal system in England and Wales. Monitoring data include chemical and biological parameters reported annually and included in the Government's headline quality of life indicators, and concentrations of phosphate and nitrate.
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The aesthetic quality of the water environment, including sewage derived waste, is monitored at about 450 sites.

The Environment Agency is currently establishing a system requiring sewerage companies to provide information on daily flows of treated effluent discharges from sewage works. This will enable the Agency to compile information on how much treated effluent is discharged on a monthly and yearly basis. This system is expected to be in place by April 2006.

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps her Department is taking to prevent the network of combined sewage and storm water overflows discharging raw sewage into the River Thames; [211979]

(2) what investment is planned from 2005 (a) to improve the quality of effluent discharged through overflows, (b) to increase the storage capacity at sewage and wastewater treatment works and (c) to ensure that more sustainable drainage systems are used in the future growth of London. [211981]

Mr. Morley: Since 2001 officials from my Department have been involved in a strategic study of the environmental impact of intermittent storm sewage discharges to the Thames Tideway. The Thames Tideway Strategic Study Group includes members from Thames Water, the Environment Agency, the Greater London Authority and the Office of Water Services (Ofwat). The remit of the study is to identify problems caused, and to propose potential solutions, having regard to costs and benefits.

In June 2004 an interim report from the study was submitted to Defra. I carefully considered the findings and proposals and decided that further investigations were needed into the proposed long-term interceptor tunnel solution, and possible smaller-scale measures, which could provide earlier improvements to the overflow discharges.

As a result, the Final Guidance from the my right hon. Friend, Secretary of State, to the Director-General of Ofwat concerning water company price limits from 2005–10, published on 4 October 2004, indicated further work needed to be done. The Final Determination published by Ofwat on 2 December 2004 included provision for funding of further investigations by Thames Water.

I expect the Study Group to report back to Ministers on the outcome of the further investigations as soon as possible. At that point Ministers will consider options for an appropriate course of action. Any investment required can then be considered by Thames Water and Ofwat.

Thames Water's price limits for 2005–10 include provision for significant treatment capacity increases at Mogden, Beckton and Crossness sewage works. The capacity increases are expected to reduce the frequency and impact of storm water discharges from these works, although no increases to the storm sewage storage capacity at these works is planned.

Funding provision has also been made to improve the continuous treated discharge at Riverside sewage works, and to enable Thames Water to continue to
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deploy two oxygenation vessels to the tidal Thames whenever the Environment Agency considers they are needed to reduce the impact of overflows following rainfall events.

It is one of Defra's aims to promote sustainable infrastructure, such as sustainable drainage systems in future housing projects, such as the Thames Gateway.

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what obligations there are on Thames Water to maintain and update its sewage system; and what action she has undertaken to ensure that its sewage systems remain well maintained and updated. [211980]

Mr. Morley: Sewerage undertakers are under a statutory duty under section 94 of the Water Industry Act 1991, enforceable by the Secretary of State or the Director General of Water Services, to provide, improve and extend public sewers (whether inside its area or elsewhere) and cleanse and maintain those sewers in order to ensure the effectual drainage of their area.

In the treatment and disposal of sewage, Thames Water must meet obligations set by European and domestic legislation. These obligations are specified in discharge consents issued and enforced by the Environment Agency.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, gave guidance to the Director General of Water Services on policies for the Periodic Review of water price limits for 2005–10. The guidance identified proper attention to existing assets, maintenance, leakage and sewer flooding together with building on the already much improved water environment with further evidence based improvement among its priorities.

Following that guidance, Ofwat's final determination for Thames Water includes an assumption of £1,366 million capital investment to maintain and upgrade its sewerage infrastructure in the period 2005–10. This will include capital maintenance to maintain the serviceability of their assets, and to sustain levels of service to their customers; investment to meet the demands of new customers; environmental improvements to deliver Government policy; and investment to remove properties from the risk of flooding from overloaded sewers.

Soil/Ground Water Pollution

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she has commissioned on the duration of damage to (a) soil and (b) ground water on land that was used for (i) munitions production or (ii) fireworks production; and if she will make a statement. [214402]

Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency has published two documents regarding the potential for contamination of land at former explosives manufacturing sites (including fireworks). Both deal with the characteristics of the potential contaminants at such sites. This includes their solubility and biodegradability which can be used to indicate the likelihood of them persisting at the site and the methods required to investigate and remediate such contamination.
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These reports are:

This second document is the first step in the production of Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment (CLEA) Soil Guideline Values.

The Agency has also produced general guidance on the assessment of natural attenuation (the dispersion or breakdown) of contaminants in groundwater:

Defra has two publications in its Industry Profiles" series on munitions and firework production. This series provides information on the processes, materials and waste associated with individual industries, with respect to land contamination:

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