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Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the carbon dioxide emissions of (a) China, (b) India, (c) the US and (d) the UK were as most recently reported for the purposes of the Kyoto and Montreal agreements; and what projections have been made for that purpose for (i) 2020 and (ii) 2050 in each case. 
Mr. Morley [pursuant to the reply, 12 January 2006, Official Report, c. 749W]: My answer referred to two figures, 240 per cent. and 210 per cent. in the final paragraph. These figures were incorrect and should have read 140 per cent. and 110 per cent. The rest of the answer remains correct.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with the Department of Trade and Industry on the Natural Environment and Research Council's assessment of table 5a of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology business plan. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has had no discussions with the Department for Trade and Industry regarding the
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Natural Environment Research Council's assessment of table 5a of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology business plan.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare will reply to letters on the matter of cetacean by-catch in fisheries received from (a) the By-catch Working Group of Wildlife and Countryside Link dated 11 July 2005 and 18 November 2005 and (b) the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society dated 4 March 2005 and 28 October 2005; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to make a decision on whether compost material should be defined as a product rather than waste. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The definition of waste in force in the United Kingdom is the definition in article 1 (a) of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD). Whether or not a substance is discarded as waste, and when waste ceases to be waste, are matters which must be determined on the facts of the case and the interpretation of the law is a matter for the courts. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has issued several judgments on the definition of waste which are binding on member states and their competent authorities".
The composting of waste is classified as a waste recovery operation under the WFD. This means that composting must be carried out under the terms of a waste management licence issued by, or a waste management licensing exemption registered with, the Environment Agency (England and Wales).
Whether [a substance] is waste, must be determined in the light of all the circumstances, regard being had to the aim of the directive and the need to ensure that its effectiveness is not undermined."
In practice, this means that waste does not cease to be waste until it has undergone a complete recovery operation and has been fully recovered within the meaning of the WFD. A complete recovery operation is one which has the effect of transforming waste into a product which is wholly interchangeable with another product and requires no additional regulation or supervision beyond that applicable to the product which it is replacing. Waste has not undergone a complete recovery operation if, after the operation has been carried out, it continues to present a danger typical of waste (e.g. it continues to be contaminated).
The Environment Agency considers that (a) source-segregated waste which, after composting meets the relevant tests, including the achievement of a recognised and suitable quality standard (e.g. BSI PAS 100),
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certainty of use and no risk of pollution of the environment or harm to human health, is likely to be fully recovered within the meaning of the WFD; and (b) mixed waste which is composted is likely to remain waste until it is used in a further recovery operation (e.g. land treatment resulting in agricultural benefit or ecological improvement) subject to control by the Agency under a licence or registered licensing exemption. These considerations are being taken into account in work currently being undertaken by the Environment Agency and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) on the development of a quality protocol for waste composting.
There is also now the prospect of similar work being undertaken at a European Union level following the publication, on 21 December 2005, of the European Commission's Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste" together with a proposed revision of the WFD. The proposals are available on the Commission's website at http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/waste/strategv.htm and include, in the draft revised WFD, a provision which would enable the adoption of environmental and quality criteria for specified waste streams. Where these criteria are met, the effect would be to deem that the recovery of the specified waste had been completed and that it had ceased to be waste. The Commission's Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste" proposes that the waste streams addressed by this system should include compost.
The Department supports the development of protocols at national level and advocates the development of similar work at a European Union level. A key objective of our doing so is to enable our competent authorities, and those engaged in the recovery of waste, to determine with a high degree of certainty the point at which waste has been fully recovered for the purposes of the WFD and has ceased to be waste.
Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA's Environmental Permitting Programme will shortly be consulting on options for creating a streamlined environmental permitting and compliance system. The Waste Management Licensing regime will fall within the scope of this consultation.
The waste framework directive gives member states discretion to provide exemptions from the requirement for a permit and DEFRA has exercised this discretion to encourage the recovery of waste with the provision of a number of exemptions under regulation 17 and schedule 3 to the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994, including one for the composting of waste. Establishments and undertakings composting biodegradable waste should obtain either a waste management licence or can benefit from an exemption from waste management licensing providing they satisfy a number of general rules.
A taskforce has been established to consider the current exemption from waste management licensing for some composting operations. The taskforce will re-assess the current conditions relating to licensing of
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composting and if agreed necessary, a proportionate, risk-based, approach to the regulation of non-domestic composting will be developed.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to issue further guidance relating to the Government's strategy on composting; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Composting is high up the waste hierarchy and supported by a range of policies that promote sustainable waste management. It is likely to play an increasingly important role in diverting biodegradable waste from landfill in line with the Government's waste strategy objectives.
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