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2 Nov 2005 : Column 1046W—continued

GM Crops

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will seek to move control over genetically modified crops from the EU back to individual member states; and if she will make a statement. [23922]

Mr. Morley: The Government have no plans to seek to change the current regulatory regime which exists at EU level to govern the deliberate release into the environment and the placing on the market of genetically modified organisms.

Decisions as to what can be consumed or grown in the EU as a whole have been taken by member states collectively under a regime of safety testing, monitoring and control which was set up in 1990, and has been strengthened significantly since.
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Household Waste

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to increase the proportion of household waste which is recycled. [22732]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government set each local authority a statutory target for recycling and composting for 2003–04 and 2005–06 and is now consulting on proposals for targets for 2007–08. Provisional figures show more than a fifth (approaching 23 percent.) of household waste in England was recycled, in 2004–05.

To support the attainment of these targets, Defra introduced the Household Waste Recycling Act in 2003 which provides that English waste collection authorities shall ensure, except in certain circumstances, that by the end of 2010 they collect at least two recyclable materials from doorsteps separate from the remainder of the waste. About two thirds of households in England now receive a kerbside collection of recyclable materials.

In the spending review 2004 the Government announced an increase in the environmental, protective and cultural services block of £888 million over 2004–05, by 2007–08 and over the three-year period to 2005–06, authorities are also benefiting from a total of £294 million invested through the waste minimisation and recycling fund. Its successor, the waste performance and efficiency grant, will run in parallel for the first year and provide a further £260 million over the three years to 2007–08.

Since 2002, local authorities have also been assisted by targeted support and advice available through the waste and resources action programme and Defra's waste implementation programme—which will continue to provide targeted assistance to authorities for a further two years and an announcement of its new programme will be made in December 2005.

Illegal Logging

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she plans to take against timber merchants in the UK that are found to be stockpiling illegally logged timber. [22215]

Mr. Morley: Under the Forestry Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) regulation agreed at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 24 October, it will be possible to prohibit entry into the EU of illegal timber products from countries that enter into Partnership Agreements with the EU for the first time. The UK will have the authority to impose penalties on timber importers who infringe this regulation. However, there is no legal prohibition on the possession of illegally logged timber in the UK per se.

FLEGT will also not address timber that comes from non partner countries that may be believed to be illegal. The Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) and EC legislation dealing with Money Laundering (including Directive 2001/97/EC) can be used to pursue those trading in illegal timber, but this depends on proving that a crime has been committed and that there is mutual criminality in both the source and receiving countries.
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Kyoto Protocols

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action the Government are planning to take on greenhouse gas emissions to ensure compliance with the Kyoto protocol. [22729]

Mr. Morley: We remain on course comfortably to achieve the UK's Kyoto target of a 12.5 percent. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions during the first commitment period, 2008–12. Provisional 2004 figures released in March show that emissions of the basket of six greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) methane (CH 4 ), nitrous oxide (N 2 O), the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF 6 )) were about 12 ½ percent. below the base year, and that the policies already in place would achieve significant further reductions to ensure compliance. We are currently reviewing UK climate change programme and are looking at how existing policies are performing and the range of policies that might be put in place in future, in order to assess the policies needed to put us back on track towards our much more ambitious domestic goal of a 20 percent. reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010. Achieving this would correspond to a reduction of well over 20 percent. in the Kyoto basket.

Recycling (Plastics)

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures the Government are taking (a) to promote and (b) to facilitate the recycling of plastic household products made from (i) single polymers and (ii) mixed polymers. [22414]

Mr. Bradshaw: Through the waste and resources action programme (WRAP), the Government are spending £20 million with local authorities to raise awareness of recycling in their own communities, and £10 million on a national recycle now" campaign. Information about plastic recycling can be found on the campaign website

WRAP have developed a number of programs to promote plastic bottle recycling from households and have identified end markets for mixed dirty" plastic waste which will help to drive increased recycling.

The management of plastic packaging waste is already addressed in the UK through the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended). These regulations require packaging producers to recycle 22.5 percent. of all plastic packaging entering the UK waste stream by 31 December 2008. Last year the UK recycled 19 percent. up from 7 percent. in 1997.

I understand that RECOUP (recycling of used plastic) and the BPF (British Plastic Federation) have recently been promoting and facilitating the collection and recycling of single polymers including plastic bottles and expanded polystyrene from the household waste stream. The industry is currently examining possible applications for mixed polymers, which may include concrete type products.
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The Government are in the process of implementing the EU waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive, which will require the treatment and recycling to target levels of all separately collected WEEE, including small, plastic-rich equipment.

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the Government will make it a requirement for all plastic household products to be marked according to a standard code indicating the type of polymer used in their manufacture to enable consumers to identify and sort the main types of plastic for recycling purposes. [22415]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government have no plans to make the marking of plastic household products mandatory.

In relation to packaging, however, the European Commission Decision 97/129/EC provides for numbering and abbreviations to identify the different packaging materials, including plastics. Whilst the marking system is voluntary, we would encourage manufacturers to use the markings where possible to aid the process of sorting and recycling of plastic packaging waste.

Sheep Movements

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the recent change in the rules that apply to the recording of sheep movements; and whether she (a) sought and (b) received the approval of the National Farmers Union for the changes. [24692]

Mr. Bradshaw: The recent changes to the way in which sheep and goat movements are reported were introduced to ensure that our rules were equivalent in effect to EU rules on the identification and movement of sheep. On this basis we secured a temporary derogation from the need to double tag sheep and goats. This expires in April 2006. Only if sheep and goat farmers are found to comply with these rules is the derogation likely to be extended.

The National Farmers Union was fully consulted on the proposed changes and agreed with them. They agreed to the issue of the explanatory letter, which included their logo, to sheep and goat keepers in England on 24 October.

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