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These costs are based on current prices and there is an expectation that they will reduce considerably as technology improves and economies of scale are exploited.

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average size of a flock of sheep is in each European Union member state. [116072]

Mr. Bradshaw: In the UK in 2005, a total of just under 24 million sheep and lambs were farmed on 88,990 holdings, giving an average flock size of 270.

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.

Figures are available for total sheep populations for each country and these are as follows:


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Member state 2005 sheep population

Belgium

146,000

Czech Republic

189,000

Denmark

84,000

Germany

2,036,000

Estonia

49,000

Greece

9,176,000

Spain

22,514,000

France

8,760,000

Irish Republic

4,257,000

Italy

7,954,000

Cyprus

268,000

Latvia

42,000

Lithuania

29,000

Luxembourg

9,000

Hungary

1,405,000

Malta

15,000

Netherlands

1,725,000

Austria

326,000

Poland

318,000

Portugal

3,580,000

Slovenia

129,000

Slovakia

320,000

Finland

84,000

Sweden

480,000

United Kingdom

23,933,000

EU 25 total

87,828,000


Nappy Waste

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. [115146]

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.

Pollution

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) homes and (b) gardens were flooded with sewage in each of the last five years. [114224]

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 one sets out the number of properties affected by internal sewer flooding in each of the last five years. This includes both household and non-household properties.

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,
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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

2001-02

4,957

2002-03

5,327

2003-04

3,358

2004-05

4,942

2005-06

4,922


Table 2: External flooding
Number of areas

2003-04

20,571

2004-05

24,370

2005-06

24,561


Producer Responsibility

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. [115147]

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.

Rabies

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. [114522]

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 UK’s own review of national rabies import controls is nearing completion and I expect to consider its conclusions shortly.

Rat Population

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the rat population in England and Wales. [116155]


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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:

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action the Government are taking to control the rat population. [116197]

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.

Recycling

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. [114189]

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.

It is likely that WRAP will prioritise additional work on paper in its 2007-08 work plans and their future business plan.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the effects of the increased
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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; [114191]

(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of increased export of UK recovered paper to China on companies who have already switched from using virgin pulp to recovered fibre; [114192]

(3) what steps are being taken to encourage the collection of high grade recovered paper from (a) offices and (b) schools and universities. [114198]

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 WRAP’s future work in this area. However, increased exports of recovered paper to China are unlikely to have a significant impact on WRAP’s 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 mill—enough 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.

WRAP’s 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’.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what tonnage of recovered paper was exported to China in each year since 2000. [114199]


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Mr. Bradshaw: The data requested are not available.

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. [114236]

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.

Further trials, including a postal return scheme for remote rural areas, and a number of community drop-off/bring schemes, should be started shortly.

To date, it is estimated that the trials have collected over three to four million batteries (18.6 tonnes). Initial results from the trials can be found on the WRAP website at:

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. [115936]

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.

The winter interim report for phase one of the study has been published and is available from DEFRA’s Local Authority Support website at:


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