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30 Jan 2006 : Column 5W—continued

Chewing Gum

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which councils have applied to join the Department's scheme tackling the problem of chewing gum litter. [45102]

Mr. Bradshaw: We do not yet know which local authorities have applied to take part in the campaign as the closing date for applications is 3 February.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the Government decided not to introduce a tax levy on the price of chewing gum as part of its proposals for tackling chewing gum litter. [45103]

Mr. Bradshaw: Taxation is a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am however, not convinced that a levy on gum, which would be paid by those who dispose of their gum correctly as well as those that do not, would be a fair way of funding the costs of cleaning discarded gum from the streets.

Correspondence

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan dated 27 August 2005 regarding his constituents Mr. and Mrs. W. Ritchie (DEFRA ref 223198). [46148]

Mr. Bradshaw: A reply was sent on 27 October 2005. I will arrange for you to receive a further copy.

Departmental Transport

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2005, Official Report, column 2376W, on departmental transport, if she will place a copy of the revised Travel Plan for her Department in the Library. [42544]

Jim Knight: A copy of the revised Travel Plan for the Defra building at Merrow, Guildford will be placed in the Library of the House.

Energy Efficiency Directive

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what targets she has set for energy efficiency gains under the Energy
 
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End-use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive by (a) 30 June 2007, (b) 30 June 2011 and (c) 30 June 2014. [46022]

Mr. Morley: The Energy End-use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive is expected to enter into force in May this year following publication in the Official Journal. Member states will then have two years to transpose the Directive's requirements into domestic legislation. The Directive provides for an indicative energy-savings target for every member states of 9 per cent. over the nine-year period from 1 January 2008. Within that period member states must set one intermediate target for the third year of application consistent with achievement of the overall target. The decision about what that intermediate target should be in the UK has not yet been made and will be determined during the implementation process.

Fisheries

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what formal approaches she has made to the Government of the Republic of Ireland about the effect on UK salmon stocks of drift netting off the coast of Ireland. [46541]

Mr. Bradshaw: I have discussed this issue with the Irish Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources on a number of occasions. I have urged on him the need to take steps to reduce the impact of the salmon driftnet fishery on salmon returning to English and Welsh rivers.

Flood Protection/Alleviation

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent (a) in England and (b) in the Ouse catchment area on flood protection and alleviation measures by (i) the Government and (ii) City of York council in each year since 1996–97. [43646]

Mr. Morley: Defra funds most of the Environment Agency's flood related work and grant aids individual capital improvement projects undertaken by local authorities and, in low-lying areas, internal drainage boards. The programme to manage risk is driven by these operating authorities; Defra does not build defences, nor direct the authorities on what specific projects to undertake.

Prior to April 2004 most of the Environment Agency's flood defence funding came from levies paid by local authorities. These levies have now largely been replaced by direct funding from Defra. Local authorities still pay some levies to the agency and also continue to fund other flood defence related work; such expenditure is supported by the local government funding mechanisms operated by what is now ODPM.

Table 1 shows total central and local government expenditure on flood protection and alleviation measures in (a) England and (b) the Ouse catchment area. This includes expenditure on flood defences, flood warning, research and development etc. but excludes expenditure on measures primarily to reduce risk of coastal erosion (which can also sometimes help reduce flood risk).
 
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Table 1
£ million

England
Defra grant and other expenditureLocal authority expenditureOuse catchment(1)
1996–9754.6196.10.26
1997–9853.5213.30.39
1998–9942.3221.90.49
1999–200041.6236.10.59
2000–0151.0251.30.98
2001–0269.8269.41.59
2002–0391.2287.51.69
2003–0493.4309.23.97
2004–05376.973.83.97


(1) Defined as Environment Agency expenditure within the Ouse catchment between the confluence with the River Ure and the confluence with the River Derwent. Defra grant to local authorities and/or internal drainage boards within the Ouse catchment could not be determined without incurring disproportionate cost.

Table 2 shows revenue (i.e. non-capital) spend by City of York council on their own flood defence measures and on special levies to internal drainage boards. The Council's expenditure is limited to investment in the Ouse catchment area.
Table 2
£000

Flood defence revenue expenditure
IDB special levies
1996–9721352
1997–9811345
1998–99307353
1999–200050361
2000–0173391
2001–02106453
2002–0381480
2003–0498484
2004–05114504



Notes:
Data for 2003–04 and 2004–05 were collected on a Financial Reporting Standard 17 (FRS17) basis. Figures before this were collected on a non-FRS17 basis so are not directly comparable to the 2003–04 and 2004–05 data.
Source:
ODPM Revenue Outturn (RO) forms—RO4/RO5 data.


Racehorses

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will commission research on the animal welfare implications of whipping race horses. [45790]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has no plans to commission a survey on the animal welfare implications of whipping racehorses.

Landfill

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's landfill policy. [41867]

Mr. Bradshaw: Landfills are a major source of emissions of methane—a powerful greenhouse gas—and also a potential pollution hazard requiring careful management. For this reason landfill lies at the bottom of the waste hierarchy, and thus represents the least
 
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favourable management route for most wastes. The Government has targets under the EU Landfill Directive to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill to 75 per cent. of 1995 figures by 2010 and to 35 per cent. by 2020. The Government seeks to discourage all landfill—including that of commercial waste—through the landfill tax escalator. Landfill remains, however, the best management route for certain wastes in certain circumstances and, indeed, the only available option for some others (such as heavy sludges from industrial processes).

The Government is currently undertaking a review of its wider waste strategy, for which the consultation document will be published shortly.

Nuclear Waste

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the Government plan to dispose of the nuclear waste stored in the UK; and if she will make a statement. [46293]

Mr. Morley: Under the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Programme, jointly sponsored by UK Government and the devolved Administrations, the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRAWM) has been established to advise on the best option, or combination of options, for the safe long-term management of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste. The committee is due to deliver its recommendation in July 2006. Low level radioactive waste is already disposed of in various ways, most notably to the national disposal facility close to the village of Drigg in Cumbria.


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