Previous Section Index Home Page

2 Feb 2007 : Column 616W—continued

2 Feb 2007 : Column 617W

On 12 October last year, the Scottish Minister, Ross Finnie, and I jointly chaired a meeting with major UK retailers, to discuss a proposed voluntary code of practice on reducing the use of paper and plastic carrier bags. Defra is working closely with the devolved administrations, the Waste Resources Action Programme, the British Retail Consortium, retailers and the plastics industry to develop a voluntary approach for reducing the environmental impact of carrier bags. This is looking at ways of encouraging consumers to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ carrier bags. We intend to announce a programme of joint activity shortly.

In addition, the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005 require that 60 per cent. of packaging is recovered by 2008 and that a minimum of 55 per cent. is recycled. The regulations have succeeded so far in raising the recycling rate in the UK for packaging waste from around 27 per cent. in 1997 to 54.4 per cent. in 2005.

Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the sustainability of markets for recycled materials. [117980]

Mr. Bradshaw: Rising energy costs are encouraging industry to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and consider greater use of recycled materials, especially in the glass and plastic sectors. This, and a range of other factors such as Government interventions, have caused a period of unprecedented growth in recycling.

We can expect recycling to increase further, and it will be important to continue to progress market development (the development of sustainable markets for recycled materials) in the UK. Defra’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has been established with this role. WRAP’s work is focusing on materials where barriers need to be tackled to improve the sustainability of the markets concerned. These include paper, plastics, glass, wood and compost.

Broadly, challenges in these and other markets include:

The current WRAP business plan outlines how these market development challenges are being addressed.

WRAP has also started to produce public market situation reports for key recyclable materials. The first of these, on glass, was published in January 2007. This identified that a particular challenge for glass market development will be increasing the quantity of high
2 Feb 2007 : Column 618W
quality colour-separated cullet. WRAP plans that a report on paper will follow in spring 2007 and another on plastic in summer 2007.

Seas and Oceans: Bournemouth

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the change in average sea levels in the Bournemouth area has been over the last 25 years; and what change is forecasted over the next 25 years. [117931]

Ian Pearson: It is difficult to give a precise estimate of past sea level rise at specific locations because of the relative short length of most tide gauge records and the significant inter-annual variation, including a 19 year lunar cycle. However, it is generally accepted that sea levels along the south coast have been rising by between 1 and 2 mm per year over recent decades.

Defra published revised guidance for operating authorities on future rates of sea level rise to be taken into account in flood and coastal erosion risk management decisions in November 2006. This recommended that, including the effects of vertical land movement in the south west, an allowance of 3.5 mm rise per year should be made from the baseline of nominal 1990 levels to 2025 (that is, that levels in 2025 could be 122.5 mm higher than in 1990).

From 2025 to 2050, it is recommended that an 8.0 mm rise per year is assumed, to give a total rise of 178.5 mm by 2032, relative to 1990 levels. These are not predictions but are intended to be reasonably precautionary working allowances. The assumptions and qualifications on which these recommendations are based are included in the guidance which is published on the Defra website.

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans there are to improve sea defences at Hengistbury Head in Bournemouth. [117935]

Ian Pearson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 22 November 2006, Official Report, column 135W.

Warm Front Scheme

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made in encouraging Cornwall-based installers onto the Warm Front Scheme; and if he will make a statement. [117754]

Ian Pearson: A series of meetings have been held between officials and representatives from a variety of organisations and authorities in Cornwall regarding the Warm Front Scheme. Discussions have included consideration of how to encourage local installers to work on the scheme and a further meeting is scheduled for late February to take these discussions forward and to investigate possible solutions.

    Index Home Page