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Influenza Pandemic

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the security and sustainability of food supplies in the event of an influenza pandemic. [43538]

Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA is keeping the position under review with industry, in particular with help from our Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group which comprises representatives from all key food sectors, to ensure that the food supply chain can cope with the effects of an influenza pandemic. The main potential pinch point identified for the food industry is possible HGV driver shortages caused by drivers falling sick. We are exploring the option, for example, of increased sharing of driver resources.

Landfill Allowances

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for the implementation of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme; and what the timescale is for the introduction of fines for local authorities exceeding their individual landfill allowances. [42909]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) was launched on 1 April 2005 with key target years 2010, 2013 and 2020. Section 9(1) of the Waste and Emissions Trading Act (WET Act) places each waste disposal authority (WDA) under a duty to secure that the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfills in that year does not exceed the amount authorised by the landfill allowances available to that authority for the year.

At the end of the each scheme year (31 March annually), there will be a six month reconciliation period. Authorities will have three months to submit their end of year data. During the following two months, the monitoring authority will provide each authority with a draft reconciliation between the amount of BMW the authority landfilled and the number of allowances it holds. Should an authority have landfilled more waste than it holds allowances for, it can then use the sixth month to trade or borrow allowances to balance the figures. Any authority which has landfilled in excess of the allowances it holds at the end of the reconciliation period will be liable to a financial penalty of £150 per tonne (Section 9(2) of the WET ACT). In a target year: the Government will
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reserve the right to pass some or all of any fine imposed by the European Court of Justice. Guidance on the procedure for the application of penalties under section 9(2) of the WET Act and on the Secretary of State's powers to waive, and to extend the time for paying, penalties and interest with respect to landfilling of BMW in excess of allowances held has been published on the DEFRA website at

Local Government Inspections

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role her Department plays in local government inspection. [39493]

Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA does not carry out inspections of local authorities. The Audit Commission carries out inspections of local authorities within the Comprehensive Performance Assessment Framework. The Comprehensive Performance Framework includes a requirement to consider the performance of local authority environmental services.

DEFRA has interests in a range of local authority inspection and other regulatory activity including in relation to animal health and welfare, and environmental protection.

Methane Emissions

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to reduce methane emissions in the UK; and if she will make a statement. [43702]

Mr. Morley: UK methane emissions have fallen every year since 1990 and by 2004 had dropped to about half of 1990 levels. The main sources of methane emissions in the UK are landfill sites, agriculture, coal mining, gas distribution, and oil and gas production.

Landfill site operators that continue to accept waste must fulfil the requirements of the Landfill Directive including taking appropriate measures to collect, treat and use landfill gas to produce useful energy or, where that is not possible, flare it. Other Government measures to reduce the levels of biodegradable waste being sent to landfill include the landfill tax escalator, the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (designed to meet the Landfill Directive targets), and public awareness campaigns. Together these measures have resulted in a decrease of about 63 per cent. in landfill methane emissions between 1990 and 2004.

The nature of emissions from agriculture make them a more difficult target for reduction than in other sectors. Nonetheless, improvement in animal diet and productivity has produced an 11 per cent. decrease in methane emissions from animals since 1990, and further reductions are expected. Recent research from the Rowett Research Institute, based in Aberdeen into anti-methane feed ingredients has yielded promising results, and in initial trials a reduction of up to 70 per cent. in emitted methane has been achieved. The UK Government remain committed to research into reducing methane emissions from ruminants. We are also committed to exploring techniques for methane recovery from agricultural waste and its use as a clean energy source.
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With regard to methane from coal mining, UK Coal signed up to the UK Emissions Trading scheme in 2002, with the target of reducing methane emissions from their installations by 400,000 tonnes by 2006. Furthermore methane extracted from abandoned coal mines and used as fuel has been exempt from the climate change levy since 2003. This exemption encourages the owners of mining facilities and decommissioned mines to invest in systems that capture methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. In addition the Coal Authority and the Department of Trade and Industry are developing a scheme further to encourage the mitigation of methane from abandoned mines. Methane emissions from coal mining (including closed mines) fell by some 73 per cent. between 1990 and 2004.

Fugitive emissions from natural gas dropped by about 39 per cent. between 1990 and 2004. National Grid Gas plc, which owns and maintains the UK gas distribution network, is continuing to make improvements to the UK gas network. The planned replacement of 91,000 km iron gas mains with polyethylene pipes will lead to a further reduction in methane emissions from gas transmission.

Methane emissions from offshore production of oil and gas fell by 53 per cent. between 1990 and 2004 in line with trends in numbers of installations and production levels.

Operation of Legislation

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the operation of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. [42306]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government are satisfied with the operation of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.


Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to encourage industry to create recyclable products. [43259]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government recognises the importance of encouraging industry to develop recyclable products. Since it began work in 2000 the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has had a positive impact in developing markets for recycled materials and removing barriers to recycling. WRAP is engaged with producers and purchasers and has developed guidance along with the provision of advisory services to increase the take up of recycled products throughout a range of industries.

Producer responsibility legislation, such as the Packaging, End of Life Vehicle (ELV) and forthcoming Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations, places obligations on producers to recycle products when they come to their end of life, providing an incentive for them to ensure their products are more recyclable from the outset.

Finally, as disposal costs continue to rise due to increased landfill tax, there should be an indirect pressure on manufacturers to make products more recyclable.
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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many recycling points there are per 1,000 population in (a) England, (b) the Tees Valley and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. [43289]

Mr. Bradshaw: Requested figures, based on the 2003–04 DEFRA municipal waste management survey and 2003 mid-year population estimates are shown in the following table. Recycling points are considered as both civic amenity and recycling sites within the area.
Recycling points per 1,000 population
Tees Valley0.18
Middlesbrough unitary authority0.09
Redcar and Cleveland unitary authority0.10

1. The Tees Valley includes the unitary authorities of: Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Darlington.
2. Results for the unitary authorities of Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland have been provided as data at constituency level are not available.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are being taken to ensure that the recycling rate of (a) household and (b) business refuse in the Tees Valley region is brought up to the national average. [43290]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information is as follows:

(a) Waste strategy 2000 set out national recycling and composting targets for household waste, of 17 percent. in 2003–04, rising to 25 percent. in 2005–06, then 30 percent. in 2010 and 33 percent. in 2015. Each local authority was also set a statutory target for 2003–04 and 2005–06 and to assure that further progress is made, I recently launched for consultation options for further recycling/composting targets in 2007–08. All of the Tees Valley authorities met their 2003–04 targets and most are making good progress towards their 2005–06 targets.

In addition to the recycling targets, the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 requires waste collection authorities—subject to certain exemptions—to provide a kerbside collection service of at least two recyclable materials by 2010. Furthermore, waste disposal authorities have been set challenging landfill diversion targets for biodegradable municipal waste which will drive authorities to ensure that the recycling of this waste is maximised.

The Government recognise the challenge local authorities in England face meeting their statutory performance standards in recycling and composting. Accordingly, the 2004 Spending Review announced an increase in the environmental, protective, and cultural services block of £888 million by 2007–08 over 2004–05.

Funding is also being provided from a variety of other sources to help authorities meet and exceed their targets. DEFRA's waste minimisation and recycling fund and its successor, DEFRA's waste performance and efficiency grant, are providing funding totalling £294 million over
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the three years to 2005–06 for specific projects to expand recycling operations of which the Tees Valley authorities have in total received around £5.5 million.

The Tees Valley authorities have also benefited from consultancy support for the development of a joint waste management strategy through DEFRA's waste implementation programme which has devoted over £150 million over the three years to 2005–06 to strategic measures helping authorities to divert waste from landfill.

The waste resources and action programme—a not-for-profit company supported by funding from the Government—has provided support to the Tees Valley authorities on home composting and over £270 000 for funding local communications in four of the five authorities. Each of the Tees Valley authorities is also participating in a £66,000 household incentive pilot scheme funded by DEFRA. The scheme will provide valuable information to all authorities on what household incentives provide the best increases in recycling rates in different types of community in the region.

Within the context of the regional spatial strategy,which will provide the overarching framework for growth in the North East over the next 15 to 20 years, a regional waste strategy is being developed to encourage greater re-use and recycling of waste resources, moving them higher up the 'waste hierarchy'. The Government have also set up the North East regional support fund which has provided over £100,000 over the last two years for waste research chosen by the North East authorities—including strong Tees Valley representation.

(b) There are different mechanisms in place to encourage businesses to recycle more and divert more waste from landfill sites. These include:

The landfill tax escalator:

The BREW programme:

The landfill diversion targets:

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Packaging waste regulations:

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidelines the Department provides to councils regarding reprimanding businesses and households who refuse to comply with recycling requirements. [45122]

Mr. Bradshaw: Local authorities can require householders to recycle their recyclables using their powers under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 contains provisions which, when commenced in April 2006, will enable local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices to those breaching notices issued under sections 46 or 47 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

However, Government strongly believe that the right approach to changing behaviour is to continue to work with householders to ensure that they are given every opportunity to take part in recycling through the provision of a high quality recycling service, before enforcement is considered as an option.

Local authorities are not required to collect waste from businesses unless requested by the business and a charge can be levied for the service. The local authority would be at liberty to negotiate a requirement to separate recyclables as part of the contract.

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much Government funding (a) the Ruislip-Northwood constituency and (b) the London borough of Hillingdon received to support recycling in each year since 1997. [41828]

Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA does not hold information on funding allocated to individual constituencies.

The main source of funding for local authorities' waste management services is the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services (EPCS) block of annual Government grant. It is for the local authorities to decide what proportion of the block is invested in waste management services, including recycling.

Funding is also being provided from a variety of other sources to support recycling, the amounts received by the London borough of Hillingdon are shown in the following table:

Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund202,500200,000
Direct Consultancy Support18,01816,481
Grant to relieve spending pressures in the waste area117,565
Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant225,905

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