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15 Nov 2005 : Column 1061W—continued

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department has made to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in relation to contaminated land information in home information packs. [26929]

Mr. Bradshaw: A submission was provided to the Office of The Deputy Prime Minister regarding the proposed inclusion of contaminated land reports in the home information pack, shortly before publication of the draft regulations for public consultation.

Illegal Logging

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking in respect of the UK Government's EU presidential role to build a multilateral approach under the Forests Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan; what other steps her Department is taking to tackle illegal logging effectively; and if she will make a statement. [27584]

Mr. Morley: The Government have used its presidencies of the G8 and EU to really focus on the issue of illegal logging and to promote the FLEGT Action Plan.

The Government see the bilateral approach of the Forests Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) dossier as an important way to develop experience in tacking illegal logging and to build the consensus that could lead to a multilateral agreement. The dossier, recently agreed under the UK presidency of the EU, allows for Partnership Agreements which will involve the establishment of a licensing scheme to ensure that only legal timber from Partner Countries is allowed into the EU.

Illegal logging was also one of two topics of discussion at the first ever G8 Environment and Development Ministerial meeting in Derbyshire in March 2005. Ministers'; agreed to a range of actions and officials will meet in 2006 to review progress.
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The UK has also led in promoting and supporting Regional Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) processes in order to intensify national efforts and strengthen bilateral, regional and multi-lateral collaboration to address violations of forest law and forest crime. The UK has, from late 2004, been working with Russia to develop the European and North Asia FLEG regional process. The first Ministerial meeting is taking place in St Petersburg this month, November 2005. Other regional processes which the UK supports are the East Asian and African FLEG processes, the Asia Forest Partnership and the Congo Basin Forest Partnership.

The UK Government also recognise that Government purchasing policies can also send a strong signal to the market and timber suppliers. Since 2000 the UK Government have committed its central departments to seek to procure products made from timber that has been legally harvested and grown in a sustainably managed forest or plantation. The UK timber trade tells us that this policy has been the single most important driver of change of behaviour in the UK private sector. As a leader in this field, this year the Government committed to extend guidance on legal and sustainable timber procurement to the wider public sector, and to share our knowledge on procurement with the G8 and other countries.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the content of the negotiation mandate agreed by EU member states to accompany the EU's new Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan. [27784]

Mr. Morley: The Negotiating Mandate contains relevant guidelines that will contribute to the negotiation of successful Partnership Agreements with timber producing countries designed to achieve the ultimate elimination of illegally-produced timber from a partner country's trade. As it forms the basis of negotiations it is a restricted Community Document.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the EU to deliver the report on further legislative options to tackle the import of illegal timber into the EU; what steps she is taking to ensure that this report is delivered before the end of the UK presidency of the EU; and when she expects this report to go to public consultation. [27785]

Mr. Morley: Government are frustrated at the time that it has taken the European Commission to produce its report on additional options which is already delayed. Unfortunately due to time-tabling issues the report is now unlikely to be delivered until the Austrian presidency in early 2006 and should go for public consultation at the same time.

The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House are producing a report on the additional options available in the UK and my officials have been working with the Commission to support them to deliver the EU report.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contribution her Department is making to the proposed
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establishment of an EU Advisory Group to facilitate consultation on the Forest Law Enforcement Government and Trade Action Plan with civil society groups. [27818]

Mr. Morley: Government has valued the many opportunities they have had to consult with civil society in the development of the Forest Law Enforcement Government and Trade Action (FLEGT) Plan both at the UK and European level. This opportunity for consultation will continue and my officials will raise the proposal for an advisory group with EU colleagues.

Government are also supporting development in all prospective FLEGT partner countries of a better understanding of the FLEGT Action Plan and co-ordination of input from civil society in these countries.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with EU counterparts on independent monitoring and third party verification of the new EU Licensing Regulation under the EU Forest Law Enforcement Government and Trade Action Plan; and what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the process. [27819]

Mr. Morley: Discussions on third party monitoring took place in the EU Forest Working Group during the development of the EU Forest Law Enforcement Government and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and are a feature of the EU's plans for implementing FLEGT.

The associated FLEGT licensing scheme will be implemented through voluntary partnership agreements, which will specify that timber products exported from timber-producing countries that sign these agreements to the EU must be covered by a FLEGT licence issued by each such country. These licences will state that the timber products have been produced from timber that was legally harvested or legally imported into the partner country in accordance with its national laws. The process of verifying that timber has been legally produced and properly licensed will be subject to third party monitoring. In addition independent monitors will have access to certain records concerning imports of licensed products into the EU.

DFID has supported a number of studies on third party monitoring, including the development of guidance for practitioners. The European Commission is currently funding additional work.

Junk Mail

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the proportion of junk mail which can be recycled; what estimate she has made of the proportion of paper waste represented by junk mail in the last year for which figures are available; and what steps the Government are taking to reduce the volume of junk mail. [27878]

Mr. Bradshaw: It is estimated that 550,000 tonnes of direct mail are produced each year. This represents approximately 4 per cent. of paper waste. In theory, all direct mail can be recycled. However, certain adhesives
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that are used in the production of some direct mail can contaminate the recycling process and consequently make recycling difficult and expensive in certain cases.

To reduce the volume of direct mail, the Government signed a voluntary agreement with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) in July 2003, which set recycling targets to increase the recycling of direct mail to 70 per cent. by 2013. The agreement also encourages producers of direct mail to avoid using materials that contaminate the recycling process. In addition, the agreement aims to improve the targeting of direct mail, thereby reducing the volume of direct mail that is distributed in the first place by encouraging the use of suppression files, which are lists of people who have opted out of receiving direct mail.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to ensure lakes are well oxygenated. [27176]

Mr. Morley: In advance of implementation of the Water Framework Directive, there is no general requirement to ensure lakes are well oxygenated. It is worth noting that under natural conditions, upland lakes will tend to be well oxygenated and lowland lakes less well oxygenated. However, there are various measures to address the effects that human activities can have on the natural status of waters.

In England we have met the requirements of the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive to provide secondary treatment for significant sewage discharges to lakes and other inland waters. This is the generally expected standard of treatment to protect the water environment, including the maintenance of dissolved oxygen levels, from the adverse effects of sewage discharges.

The Freshwater Fish Directive contains provisions for the monitoring of oxygen levels in waters designated under that Directive. Where water sample results do not comply with specified concentrations there may be a requirement to take appropriate measures, depending on whether non-compliance is a result of chance, natural phenomena, or anthropogenic pollution.

The EU Water Framework Directive which requires member states to achieve good ecological status for lakes by 2015. This will require that oxygen levels are either maintained or restored at appropriate levels in lakes to support the ecology as set out in the Directive.

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