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Due to the varying levels of sheep meat production across the European Union, and the fact that several member states farm sheep at a barely commercial level, there are no readily available records of average flock sizes for all member states.
|Member state||2005 sheep population|
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings officials of his Department have had with representatives from (a) the disposable nappy industry and (b) the Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacture Association on diverting nappy waste from landfill. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Officials from my Department met with representatives from the Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacture Association on 18 January and 21 November 2006. No recent meetings have been held with representatives from the disposable nappy industry.
Ian Pearson: Ofwat is the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales. It collects information from companies on internal sewer flooding each year. Ofwat began collecting information on external sewer flooding in 2003-04.
Table two sets out the number of areas experiencing external flooding in each year since 2003-04. This includes highways, curtilages (i.e. gardens, outbuildings, driveways,
garages, pathways etc.) and other areas such as car parks and public open spaces. Ofwat does not collect information which specifically relates to the number of gardens experiencing sewer flooding.
|Table 1: Internal flooding|
|Number of properties|
|Table 2: External flooding|
|Number of areas|
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans his Department has to extend existing producer responsibility schemes to producers of single use products. 
Mr. Bradshaw: At present, DEFRA has no plans to extend existing producer responsibility schemes specifically to producers of single use products. However, the existing producer responsibility schemes (which cover products such as vehicles, packaging, electrical and electronic equipment, newspapers, magazines and direct mail) do already, in many cases, cover single use products.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what evidence he will present to support the extension of the UK derogations from the EU Rabies Directive; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Council Regulation 998/2003, on the non-commercial movement of pet animals, requires the European Commission to submit a report based on experience gained and risk evaluation. The report must be submitted to the European Parliament and Council, together with proposals for the future rabies regime for pets, by February 2007. The UK has submitted scientific and field information to contribute to the European Union review. The UKs own review of national rabies import controls is nearing completion and I expect to consider its conclusions shortly.
Mr. Bradshaw: The most recent estimate of the common rat ( Rattus norvegicus) population in England and Wales was a minimum of 5,240,000 individuals in England and 680,000 in Wales. These figures were established by a review that assessed the population and conservation status of all British mammals, published in 1995 and is also quoted in the UK Mammals Species Status and Population Trends report by the Tracking Mammals Partnership in 2005. A copy of the report can be found at the following weblink:
The only recent objective national survey of rat presence in England is within the English House Condition Survey (EHCS). The 2001 survey revealed that 0.3 per cent. of properties had rats indoors and 2.9 per cent. had rats present outside. A copy of the report can be found at the following weblink:
Mr. Bradshaw: Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that their districts are kept, as far as is practicable, free of rats and mice. To enable them to do so, the Act empowers local authorities to serve a notice on landowners or occupiers requiring them to take such steps as may be specified in the notice to destroy rodents on their land.
The local authority has the power to enforce the duties of the owner or occupier and can use default powers to take those steps specified in a notice and recover any expenses reasonably incurred in doing so.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what incentives are provided by his Department to encourage manufacturing companies to switch from virgin pulp to recovered paper. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not provide specific incentives for manufacturers to switch from virgin pulp to recovered paper. However, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is working to create stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products by removing the barriers to waste minimisation, re-use and recycling. WRAP'S recycled paper advocacy team is also working to increase demand for recycled paper which will help encourage manufacturing companies to move towards using recovered paper.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the effects of the increased
export of UK recovered paper to China on the WRAP target for an additional 220,000 tonnes a year of increased recyclate use by the UK manufacturing sector by March 2008; 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is commissioning a risk assessment report on the future of paper exports, which will outline the opportunities and risks associated with the export of paper, as well as future predictions and recommendations. This report will help inform WRAPs future work in this area. However, increased exports of recovered paper to China are unlikely to have a significant impact on WRAPs 2008 target to increase the use of all recyclates by the UK manufacturing sector by an additional 220,000 tonnes a year.
In 2005, paper manufacturers within the UK used 4.5 million tonnes of recovered paper, while 1.5 million tonnes were exported to China. Since 2001, work by the WRAP has led to an extra 3 million tonnes of new recycling capacity, with at least another 1 million in the pipeline. It is also increasing demand for recycled materials across the public and private sectors. Capital funding from WRAP has provided an additional 320,000 tonnes of newsprint reprocessing capacity at the UPM Shotton paper millenough to recycle the newspapers and magazines from an extra 4 million households in the UK. In addition, manufactured newsprint in the UK is now made from 100 per cent. recycled fibre.
WRAPs Recycled Paper Advocacy Team, launched in September 2006, is already working with a number of large companies and Government Departments to help them switch to using high quality recycled paper for their office requirements and printed publications. This includes work with a large number of blue chip companies with the potential to increase the use of recycled paper by up to 2,000 tonnes per week.
WRAP is working to increase the levels of paper and other recyclates recovered from all sources (including businesses, schools and universities) and is due to launch the Schools Recycling Awareness Programme on 23 January.
The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) recently held a consultation on a sustainable schools strategy and Defra will be working with DfES and other partners, including WRAP, following the consultation to help schools minimise, reuse, recycle and compost their waste. It is our intention as part of this work to issue guidance to schools to include issues around the definition of waste from schools and top ten tips.
Since recovered paper is classed as non-hazardous waste, or green material, it is not subject to the prior written notification and consent procedures which apply to exports of hazardous waste. Therefore the UK competent authorities, who are responsible for the controls that apply to exports of waste, do not have access to specific data on the tonnage of green materials exported from the UK.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made with the work of the Waste and Resources Action Programme on the collection and recycling of batteries; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is piloting portable waste battery collection schemes by working in partnership with a range of local authorities and not-for-profit organisations that already run recycling collection services. WRAP began trials of kerbside collection schemes in April 2006, initially covering over 350,000 households in a mixture of high-rise, urban and rural areas across the UK.
A second set of collection trials started at the end of October 2006, where householders in two trial areas are now able to return their unwanted batteries to a range of participating retailers, where special collection containers have been provided.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to assess the relationship between increases in household recycling, reduced numbers of weekly refuse collection rounds by local authorities and increases in the rat population in urban areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: An independent, DEFRA-funded research study, carried out by Enviros Consulting and Cranfield University in 2006, concluded that there was no evidence of rises in rat populations resulting from alternate weekly collection of household refuse designed to increase levels of recycling.
The study found that the influence of domestic waste management arrangements on rats is likely to be insignificant in comparison to other factors, such as the age of the property, the area (urban or rural), and the adequate upkeep of drains.
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