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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to ban the use of battery cages for the breeding of (a) pheasants and (b) partridges. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There has been little in the way of scientific research on the welfare implications of keeping game birds in cages for breeding purposes. However, under the Animal Welfare Bill we plan to introduce a Code of Practice which would include guidance on accommodation. The code would be subject to public consultation and endorsement by Parliament.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what provisions are in place to protect the welfare of ducks reared for food; whether rearing practices will be included in the Animal Welfare Bill; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The welfare of ducks is protected by The Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary pain or distress. More detailed standards are laid down in The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 1870), which include specific requirements on inspections, record keeping, freedom of movement, accommodation, feed and water.
There is also a specific code of recommendations for the welfare of ducks. Flock-keepers are required by law to have access to, and be familiar with this code, which encourages all those who care for ducks to adopt the highest standards of husbandry.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the use of battery cages to hold pheasants and partridges; and what plans she has to improve welfare conditions for such birds. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There has been little in the way of scientific research on the welfare implications of keeping gamebirds in cages for breeding purposes. However, under the Animal Welfare Bill we plan to introduce a Code of Practice which would include guidance on accommodation. The code would be subject to public consultation and endorsement by Parliament.
Mr. Laurence Robertson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has (a) to increase recycling targets and (b) to
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provide targets for increased recycling for local authorities beyond 200506; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 14 October 2005]: Defra is undertaking a review of Waste Strategy 2000 this year. Waste Strategy 2000 included a commitment for a root-and-branch" review in 2010, with smaller reviews in 2005 and 2015. The 2005 review provides an opportunity to reflect on existing policies and delivery mechanisms, to evaluate progress to date on outcomes and to re-affirm our long-term strategy on waste.
The Government are also currently undertaking a review of recycling and composting targets for local authorities in the light of performance against 200304 targets and will look at what levels and what forms of targets will be the most efficient at continuing the recent improvements we have seen. There will be a public consultation on this later this year.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to encourage local councils to increase the volume and proportion of commercial waste which is recycled; and what targets her Department has for increasing such recycling. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Local authorities are not currently under an obligation to collect and dispose of commercial waste. However, under section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, they are required to arrange for the collection of commercial waste if requested to do so by the producer of waste. The authority may charge for the collection of commercial waste. Most commercial waste is collected by private contractors.
For commercial waste (i.e. that portion of waste originating in the commercial sector which is not collected by local authorities), Waste Strategy 2000 sets out a target to reduce the amount of industrial and commercial waste sent to landfill to 85 per cent. of that landfilled in 1998 by 2005.
The imposition of landfill tax is designed to help the UK achieve this target. The current rate of landfill tax is £18 per tonne, which is set to rise by £3 per year to £35per tonne by 2010. Business may receive free and independent support and advice to help them increase their profitability by sending less waste to landfill. Envirowise was set up in 1994 for that purpose. Together, these two instruments have gone a long way towards increasing the amount of commercial waste that is being recycled.
The most recent data shows that 36.6 per cent. of commercial waste was recycled or re-used in 200203. Over the same period, the amount of commercial and industrial waste that was landfilled was 86 per cent. of the amount landfilled in 1998. This shows that the Government are certainly on course to meet the Waste Strategy 2000 target.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research her Department has carried out on the levels of (a) female contraceptive residues and (b) farm animal growth hormone residues in tap water; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Drinking Water Inspectorate has promoted research into the issue of oestrogens from contraceptive pills in water. The research investigated the effect of conventional water treatment processes on the removal and breakdown of oestrogens. This showed that disinfection treatments such as chlorination or ozonation destroy these chemicals and physical treatments such as sedimentation or filtration remove them by adsorption.
Other research has shown an absence of oestrogenic response in fish at raw water abstraction points, prior to treatment for drinking water. In light of these results, the Drinking Water Inspectorate is confident that oestrogens will not be detectable in tap water at significant concentrations and no further research is currently planned.
The use of hormonal substances for growth promotion in farm animals has been banned in the EUsince 1988. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) carries out statutory surveillance to monitor compliance with the ban. Its results show no evidence of abuse of such substances. The VMD's surveillance results are available from its website: www.vmd.gov.uk.
The Government, therefore, believe that no specific research on farm animal growth hormones in tap water is needed, as it is not considered that these substances pose a threat to drinking water quality.
derives from the recovery targets for municipal waste set in Waste Strategy 2000. These targets for recovery of value (by recycling, composting or other forms of material or energy recovery) from municipal waste were set at 40 per cent. by 2005, 45 per cent. by 2010 and 67 per cent. by 2015.
England successfully exceeded its interim target to recycle and compost 17 per cent. of household waste during 200304. Figures published in Defra's Municipal Waste Management Survey show that householders in England recycled and composted nearly 17.7 per cent. of their household waste in 200304, up 3:2 per cent. from
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14.5 per cent. in 200203. Provisional (unaudited) figures for 200405 show further improvement to a level approaching 23 per cent.
The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended) set UK businesses a target to recover 53.2 per cent. of all packaging waste in 2004. However, the UK performed considerably better than expected and actually achieved a recovery rate of 55.6 per cent.
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