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19 Feb 2007 : Column 177W—continued

Dairy Farming

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dairy
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farmers there are in England; and what the corresponding figure was in 1997. [120471]

Barry Gardiner: The number of holdings in England where dairy is the predominant farming activity are shown in the table. 2005 is currently the latest data available at this level of detail.

Number

1997

18,007

2005

12,918

Note: Figures prior to 2000 are for main holdings only. Figures from 2000 onwards include all holdings. Source: June Agricultural Survey.

Dairy Industry

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had, and with what groups, on the dairy industry. [118883]

Barry Gardiner: My noble Friend Lord Rooker and his officials meet with various organisations where dairy issues are raised and discussed.

Departmental Offices

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what area of office space his Department and its agencies used in central London in (a) 2004 and (b) 2006; and if he will make a statement. [112178]

Barry Gardiner: The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs confirms that the Department and its agencies used the area of office space in central London detailed as follows:

(a) 2004

(b) 2006

Domestic Wastes

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of total waste was household waste in the latest period for which figures are available. [119584]

Mr. Bradshaw: Household waste accounted for an estimated 9 per cent. of the total 335 million tonnes of waste produced in the UK in 2004.

The latest data for municipal waste show that the amount of waste collected from household sources decreased by 0.8 per cent. in 2005-06, from 25.7 million tonnes in 2004-05, to 25.5 million tonnes in 2005-06.


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Electronic Equipment: Recycling

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans his Department has to increase the proportion of (a) technological and (b) white goods recycled. [120771]

Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA is working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the implementation of the EU waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive. From July 2007, the directive makes producers financially responsible for the treatment and recycling of electronic equipment when it becomes waste.

The WEEE regulations apply to electrical and electronic equipment which fall within the 10 product categories listed in the WEEE directive. This includes both small and large household appliances (which will include white goods), IT and telecommunications equipment as well as other consumer equipment. In particular, the regulations transpose the treatment and permitting requirements of the directive, which are intended to improve the environmental performance of operators directly involved in the treatment of WEEE.

DEFRA has also worked with the DTI on the implementation of the EU RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment) directive. Since 1 July 2006, the RoHS regulations have restricted the use of six substances in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment, meaning that they will be easier to treat and recycle when they become waste.

Energy: Public buildings

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce energy consumption in public buildings. [118552]

Ian Pearson: Building owners, including the public sector, now face new responsibilities under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) of the Building Regulations to tackle energy efficiency in all new buildings and when refurbishing existing buildings. The revised legal framework and Approved Documents for Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) that came into effect on 6 April 2006, are expected to reduce carbon emissions introduced by up to 27 per cent. for non-domestic buildings.

The Energy Review, published on 11 July 2006, includes strengthened new targets for the Government Office estate. This commits us to go carbon neutral by 2012, and that we will reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent. by 2020.

To help achieve these targets, Carbon Management from the Carbon Trust provides a strategic view on how carbon impacts public sector organisations by identifying the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. There are specialist tailored programmes for local authorities, higher education and the NHS.

We have also provided funding of around £20 million for a new revolving fund for the whole of the public sector, to finance investment in energy efficiency.
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Salix, a company operated by the Carbon Trust, uses this funding to set up ring-fenced recycled loan funds in public sector organisations where funding is matched by the organisation and used to invest in cost-effective, long-term energy saving projects such as insulation, heating and lighting.

Energy; Conservation

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will allow smart meters to be included on the list of products that can be used by the Energy Saving Trust for the energy efficient commitment (EEC3); and when he will make a decision on which products may be allowed. [118577]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 5 February 2007]: We are considering smart meters as part of our consultation on energy billing and metering to take forward the measures in the 2006 Energy Review and the transposition of the European Community Directive on Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services. Responses from the consultation, ending on 6 February 2007, will help to formulate our position on billing and metering issues to be published in the Energy White Paper.

The statutory consultation on the third phase of the Energy Efficiency Commitment 2008-11 (EEC3), planned for spring 2007, will cover a range of measures that energy suppliers may promote to achieve carbon savings in the household sector. It will take account of possible developments on transposition of the Energy End Use and Energy Services Directive.

Envirowise

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been allocated to Envirowise for the year 2006-07. [119839]

Mr. Bradshaw: The total amount of funding allocated to the Envirowise programme for the year 2006-07 is £18,874,493.

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 768W, on Envirowise, what measurements are used to evaluate the effect of the Envirowise programme; and what the outcomes of the programme have been in relation to (a) increased business profits, (b) minimising business waste and (c) reducing environmental impact of businesses. [119865]

Mr. Bradshaw: Independent assessments of Envirowise's impact on UK business have been regularly undertaken since the programme's formation. These assessments measure the level of savings, both financial and in terms of various waste streams, that have been achieved from the programme's encouragement of waste minimisation and resource efficient practices. Types of waste streams measured include water, effluent, raw materials and solid waste.

The programme has, since its inception in 1994, helped business make over £1.3 billion in cumulative
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savings while at the same time reducing business waste to landfill by 8.5 million tonnes.

Fisheries: Quotas

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to change the way in which fishing quotas are allocated; and if he will make a statement. [119570]

Mr. Bradshaw: In the light of the “Net Benefits” report by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, DEFRA and the devolved fisheries administrations have embarked upon a programme of change to the UK’s quota management arrangements. Work on this programme has been taken forward in association with interested parties. Options are being developed which will be subject to full public consultation during 2007. The overall objective of the programme is to achieve a quota management system which is capable of meeting the current and future needs of all sectors of the fishing industry.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list those who have been in receipt of the UK allocation of fishing quota in each year since 1997. [119571]

Mr. Bradshaw: Under the UK’s quota management rules, quota allocations are issued annually by fisheries administrations to the following groups:

The FPOs currently in receipt of quota allocations are the Aberdeen FPO, the Anglo-North Irish FPO, the Anglo-Scottish FPO, the Cornish FPO, the Eastern England (formerly the Grimsby) FPO, the Fife FPO, the Fish Producers’ Organisation Ltd., the Fleetwood FPO, the Lowestoft FPO, the North East of Scotland FPO, the Northern PO, the Northern Ireland FPO, the North Sea Fishermen’s Organisation, the Orkney FPO, the Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation, the Shetland FPO, the South Western FPO, the Wales and West Coast FPO, and the West of Scotland FPO.

The changes in the recipients of quota allocations since 1997 have been:

Flood Control

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contingency plans have been drawn up in the event of Bournemouth flooding. [119925]


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Ian Pearson: DEFRA has lead responsibility for national preparedness for flooding in England and is working, as part of the Cabinet Office-led Capabilities Programme, to build the capability of all key players across the country. Regionally, the lead planning role falls to the Government offices for the regions working with local authorities, the Environment Agency and emergency services. The police will lead the response during an actual emergency. The Environment Agency has a role in forecasting and warning of potential flooding from rivers and the sea.

I understand Bournemouth borough council has an incident plan which includes flooding. The Environment Agency has worked closely with the council and emergency services to ensure they have an understanding of the risks within Bournemouth, including the vulnerable nature of some communities such as residents of mobile homes. The agency has worked with these communities and the council to increase public awareness of the risks and to improve resilience, for example, through residents’ flood plans and emergency exercises at locations such as Iford Bridge.

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans there are to improve flood defences at Sunderland Point, Morecambe. [118549]

Ian Pearson: Sunderland Point is an exposed low-lying headland at the mouth of the River Lune. Lancaster City council is carefully monitoring erosion of the Point, which is taking place at an average rate of approximately 0.5 to 1m a year. The nearest properties in the area are more than 200 m from the Point.

The Environment Agency has warning systems in place in relation to high tides and storm surge conditions, and is involved in ongoing discussions with Lancaster City council, Natural England and local landowners about flood risks.

Flowers: Imports

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what controls are placed on the import of flowers into the UK in relation to the use of (a) pesticides and (b) environmentally unsustainable practices; and if he will make a statement. [118699]

Ian Pearson: We do not monitor imported flowers for pesticide residues nor do we have any power to insist that the material is produced in an environmentally sustainable way. However, EU common quality standards require that marketed cut flowers must be free of pesticide residues that affect the visual quality of the product and the Plant Health Order requires that they must also be free from certain plant pests, which do not normally occur in the UK.

The Pesticides Safety Directorate has provided technical assistance to Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Uganda as part of the EC-funded Pesticides Initiative Programme, which covers the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of states. Activities include visits to assist the regulatory authorities with capacity building of their structures
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and processes, and delivering training programmes covering the technical, policy and procedural requirements of pesticides regulation.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions his Department has had on the involvement of UK companies in the import or production of flowers produced overseas using chemicals banned in the EU; and if he will make a statement. [118700]

Ian Pearson: There have been no discussions on this issue with my Department.

Freedom of Information

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether his Department proposes to amend the Environmental Information regulations analogously to its proposed amendments to Freedom of Information provisions; [119486]

(2) what plans he has to amend the provisions for the calculation of fees and the fees-ceiling for requests made under the Environmental Information Regulations. [119488]

Barry Gardiner: There are no plans for changing the Regulations. The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 transpose the EU Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information into UK Law.

The Environmental Information Regulations have no provision for the calculation of fees. They stipulate that any charge should not exceed an amount which a public authority is satisfied is a reasonable amount which reflects both the Aarhus Convention and the EU Directive from which they derive. However DEFRA will make changes to the guidance on the Environmental Information Regulations in the light of any changes to the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to help the general public and public authorities deal with the two distinct information access regimes.


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