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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of household waste within the areas covered by (a) mid-Bedfordshire district council, (b) South Bedfordshire district council, (c) Luton borough council, (d) Bedford borough council and (e) Bedfordshire county council was recycled in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
Results from the municipal waste management survey giving individual local authority household recycling rates from 199899 to 200304 are published on the DEFRA web-site at: http://defraweb/environment/statistics/wastats/mwb0304/index.htm, Annex B. Due to unreliability of early survey data, individual authority recycling rates are not published prior to 199899. The 200405 Best Value Performance Indicator results for BV82a, percentage of household waste sent for recycling and BV82b, percentage of household waste sent for composting are available from the Audit Commission web-site at: http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/performance/dataprovision.asp
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Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department has conducted research into the effect on recycling rates of decreasing the (a) frequency of kerbside refuse collection and (b) volume of kerbside refuse collected. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Defra has not conducted research into the effects of introducing alternate weekly collection (AWC) of household waste. However, the Government funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), published guidance for local authorities on the introduction of AWC last year.
This guide draws on the experiences of the hundred or so local authorities that have introduced AWC and uses 12 case studies covering all aspects of implementing AWC by way of illustration. The guide states
The introduction of a borough-wide kerbside recycling scheme coinciding with a move to alternate weekly collections has helped us move from a 15 per cent. recycling rate in 200304 to a level of 40 per cent. in 200405".
I understand that the EA completed four modelling studies for the River Severn between 1995 and 2004. These models simulated flood events of varying magnitudes, and showed indicative flood levels and areas of inundation for different probabilities of flood event as follows:
Mr. Morley: There is no single definition of a small firm with terms such as 'small firm' and 'SME' (small and medium-sized enterprise) being used interchangeably. However, two of the most common definitions are those provided by the European Union and the Companies Act 1985. These definitions can be found at http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/enterprise_policy/sme_ definition/index_en.htm and http://www.dti.gov.uk/cld/audit.htm.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the possible (a) environmental and (b) health impact of waste incinerators; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 23 March 2006]: DEFRA has published an independent study, 'Review of the Environmental and Health Effects of Waste Management', which was peer reviewed by the Royal Society and concluded that on the evidence from studies so far the treatment of municipal solid wasteincluding by incinerationhas at most a minor effect on human health and the environment. The report is available on DEFRA's website at: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/research/health/index.htm. We have also just published a study, 'Impact of Energy from Waste and Recycling Policy on UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions', in support of the waste strategy review consultation.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health on the potential health impacts of waste incinerators. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 23 March 2006]: There have been no recent ministerial discussions about the potential health impacts of incinerators because, in 2004, an independent 'Review of the Environmental and Health Effects of Waste Management' concluded that on the evidence from studies so far the treatment of municipal solid wasteincluding by incinerationhas at most a minor effect on human health and the environment.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State forEnvironment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on the possible (a) environmental and (b) health impacts of waste incinerators. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 23 March 2006]: I have recently received several hundred letters from hon. Members and members of the public expressing either support for or concern about waste incineration. Most of them are the result of a campaign by Friends of the Earth and raise the concern that increased incineration will prevent higher levels of recycling, but make no reference to health impacts. These issues are addressed in the current waste strategy review consultation.
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 23 March 2006]: Incineration with energy recovery is principally a waste management solution for residual, post-recycling waste, which also provides a source of renewable energy. Energy recovered from residual municipal waste currently accounts for about 0.35 per cent. of electricity generation in the UK. At current rates of conversion efficiency, this could rise to about 1.5 per cent. by 2020 on the basis of anticipated increases in this waste management route.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she expects her Department's Waste Implementation Programme to meet all its targets and objectives within the published timetable for action; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Waste Implementation Programme has two overarching targets. The first is to work with stakeholders, particularly local authorities, to ensure that our national recycling and composting targets are met. The 200304 target of 17 per cent. was exceeded and we are confident that the 200506 target of 25 per cent. will be met, although figures are not yet available. WIP's second overarching target is to create the conditions in which the investment needed to meet our 2010, 2013 and 2020 landfill directive targets can take place. This remains a highly challenging objective but we are confident that good progress is being made towards achieving it.
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