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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the level of protection to the environment against oil leakage and loss of content provided by regulations relating to oil powered transformers. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 7 July 2005]: The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 apply to storage tanks associated with electricity transformers, but not to the smaller volume of oil in the transformer itself which is in use rather than storage. Large scale transformers operated as part of the national grid are normally protected by secondary containment in the form of a bund.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what level of pollution is required to trigger the issue of an official smog warning; when such a warning was last issued; and what assessment she has made of the effect of this pollution on the atmosphere. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Defra publishes forecasts of high air pollution when it estimates that concentrations of specific air pollutants are likely to exceed guideline values. Similarly to weather forecasts, there is an element of uncertainty and expert judgement attached to air pollution forecasts.
Warnings use a health-based index system, which has been developed by the Department of Health's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP). A COMEAP statement on the guideline values is available at http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/comeap/statementsreports/airpol9.htm.
The thresholds for the guideline values are: nitrogen dioxide, 573 microgrammes per metre cubed, as an hourly average; sulphur dioxide, 532 microgrammes per metre cubed, as a 15 minute average; ozone, 180 microgrammes per metre cubed, as an hourly average and running eight hour average; particulate matter (PM 1 0 ), 75 microgrammes per metre cubed, as a 24 hour running average (measured byTEOM); and carbon monoxide, 17.4 microgrammes per metre cubed, measured as a running eight hour average.
Defra warns of high air pollution through the air quality information archive at www.airquality.co.uk, Teletext, page 169 and the freephone service 0800
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556677. On occasions when a notable air pollution episode is forecast, such as the first photochemical smog in any year, Defra may supplement these forecasts with a news release.
Defra last published a warning of high air pollution on 22 June 2005. This was for high levels of ozone (180239 microgrammes per metre cubed) forecast in areas of eastern, southern England, the east Midlands and the south east.
It is accepted that both short term and long term exposure to air pollutants damages health. COMEAP (the Department of Health's expert advisory Committee of the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants) has published two reports estimating the impact of air pollutants on health in the UK. These are available at:
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the likely environmental impact of the removal of the fill material blocking the railway line at Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Environment Agency and local government planning and environmental health officers have liaised over the emergency removal of the construction materials in question and their temporary storage on agricultural land nearby.
It is recognised that there will be a period of inconvenience to local residents due to increased vehicle movements. There is the potential for dust generation, however this can be satisfactorily controlled by suppression methods.
The construction materials in question have previously been analysed and assessed as low risk. It is the view of the Environment Agency that no further analysis of the material is required prior to its removal and storage as the incident will not have altered its nature.
Jim Knight: The red tractor logo is owned by the National Farmers Union and is administered by Assured Food Standards, a private company that was set up for this purpose. Assured Food Standards licenses the logo's use on food that has been produced in accordance with standards laid down in qualifying assurance schemes.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment
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has been made of the effect on fish stocks of the recent release of toxic matter into the River Itchen; and whether those responsible have been identified. 
Mr. Bradshaw: A fish kill was reported on the lower Itchen at Gaiters Mill on Friday 24 June 2005. The Environment Agency are investigating possible causes. It has not been possible to establish the cause of the fish kill at this time. There is not currently any evidence of a toxic discharge.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many members of staff have been employed by the Rural Payments Agency in each month since its inception. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 11 July 2005]: The number of staff members employed by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in each month since its inception are given in the following table. These figures relate to financial years.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received about the application of the Waste Incineration Directive to tallow; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The effect of Article 12 of the EU Animal By-Products Regulation is to require tallow derived from waste animal by-products to be incinerated or co-incinerated in accordance with the Waste Incineration Directive (WID). The Department has received representations about the burning of waste tallow as fuel (co-incineration) in WID-compliant plant from the United Kingdom Renderers' Association (UKRA). The right hon. John Gummer MP wrote, as Chairman of Bancroft International Limited, in support of UKRA's representations; and representations on the implications of the issue have been received from the National Fallen Stock Company. I understand that the burning of tallow as fuel is also among the issues being considered by the Biomass Task Force.
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