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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she has commissioned on the duration of damage to
30 Jun 2005 : Column 1644W
(a) soil and (b) ground water on land that was used for (i) munitions production and (ii) fireworks production; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: 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.
R&D Technical Report P5042/TR/03Land Contamination: Technical Guidance on Special Sites: Explosives Manufacturing & Processing Sites.
Project Record P5036/01Collation of Toxicological Data and Development of Guideline Values for Explosive Substances, Collation of Physicochemical data.
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:
R&D Publication 95Guidance on the Assessment and Monitoring of Natural Attenuation 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:
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the rat population of England and Wales in (a) 1997 and (b) 2005. 
Jim Knight: The most recent estimate of the Norway rat population in England was a minimum of 5,240,000 individuals. This figure was established by a review that assessed the population and conservation status of all British mammals, published in 1995. The only recent objective national survey of rat presence is within the English House Condition Survey (EHCS). The 1996 survey revealed that 0.23 per cent. of properties had rats indoors and 1.6 per cent. had rats present outside. A report on the rodent element of the 2001 EHCS will be published this summer.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) timetable for the establishment, (b) remit and (c) membership will be of the proposed Rural Housing Commission. 
Jim Knight: This is a high priority for the Government. I am working closely with Ministerial colleagues to take this plan forward and hope to make an announcement shortly.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria will be used in deciding whether to undertake a Single Payment System inspection. 
Jim Knight: The criteria for selection for inspection depends on whether the inspection relates to scheme eligibility or to cross-compliance. Where inspections relate to eligibility criteria, the relevant regulation requires that member states must make a random selection from the population of applicants, and a risk-based selection to highlight cases of irregularity. The latter must take account of:
for farmers who had no hectares in the single payment Scheme reference period, compliance with the condition that at least 50 per cent. of the agricultural activity maintained in the reference period expressed in livestock units has been maintained; and
Where inspections relate to cross-compliance conditions, the relevant regulation requires that member states select all inspections on the basis of a risk analysis appropriate to the cross compliance requirements and standards or to the existing legislation.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tyres were (a) purchased, (b) reused and (c) disposed of by (i) landfill, (ii) incineration, (iii) illegal fly-tipping and (iv) other means in each year since 2001. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Figures from tyre manufacturers and importers show replacement tyre sales of around 28 million car and truck units in 2003. It is estimated a further 15 million units were introduced on newly registered vehicles.
The information requested, is set out in the following table, and is based on information supplied to the Used Tyre Working Group (UTWG). Figures from the UTWG can be found on www.tyredisposal.co.uk. Full 2004 figures are not yet available.
|Used tyre arisings (tonnes)||481,000||447,000||444,000|
The ban on the landfill of whole tyres at all existing hazardous waste landfill sites and all new landfill sites on 16 July 2003 passed without significant effect on tyre collection or recovery capacity. The next key date will be 16 July 2006 when shredded tyres will be banned from landfilling. Whole tyres can continue to be used for landfill engineering for both hazardous and non-hazardous landfills. The numbers of tyres disposed to landfill is reducing, and 2004 returns from members of the Tyre Recovery Association, which represents tyre collectors and reprocessors and accounts for a significant proportion of overall used tyre activity, indicate that landfill disposal reduced sharply in 2004.
There are no figures kept on the number of tyres that are flytipped.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many recycling centres there are in each London borough. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The number of recycling centres in each London borough is shown in the table.
|Barking and Dagenham||60|
|Corporation of London||14|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||85|
|Kensington and Chelsea||233|
|Richmond upon Thames||123|
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on plans to release white tailed sea eagles in the UK; and what assessment has been made of the likely impact of their releases on (a) other wildlife and (b) livestock. 
Jim Knight: Plans to release white-tailed eagles in the UK English Nature is considering plans to reintroduce white-tailed eagles for the following reasons:
The white-tailed eagle is a red listed bird of conservation concern in the UK and has unfavourable conservation status in Europe.
Much needs to be done to restore it to its former global status, including conservation action in the UK
White-tailed eagles are still absent from much of their former range which encompassed all of Europe including the length of Britain, wherever there was suitable habitat, particularly coastal and freshwater wetlands.
Conservation management applied to other species of raptors has demonstrated that population increase and range expansion can be achieved most rapidly by active intervention.
What assessment has been made of the likely impact of their releases on (a) other wildlife and (b) livestock.
The species is considered to be a potentially suitable candidate for a reintroduction programme. However unless a detailed feasibility study demonstrates the likely success of any proposed reintroduction then it will not take place. The feasibility study must include an assessment against IUCN (The World Conservation Union) criteria for species reintroductions.
Plans are at such an early stage that no feasibility study has been completed. This study will need to consider a range of biological and social-economic requirements, including the impact on other wildlife and livestock. Note the following extracts from the IUCN reintroduction criteria:
The species, if any, that has filled the void created by the loss of the species concerned, should be determined; an understanding of the effect the re-introduced species will have on the ecosystem is important for ascertaining the success of the re-introduced population.
Socio-economic studies should be made to assess impacts, costs and benefits of the re-introduction programme to local human populations.
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