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This list represents our best understanding of LAs operating or implementing AWC schemes. However, due to the often rapid changes in this area, it is unlikely to be completely up to date.

Many schemes are currently being rolled out, so not all households in a LA area will receive the service. In addition, AWC is being trialled in some areas and no decision has been taken as to whether such schemes will be rolled out more widely.

WRAP estimate that there are around 140 LAs operating an AWC service, which represents about 40 per cent. of collection authorities. Around one third of all households receive an AWC service and this number is set to increase as schemes are rolled out borough-wide.

Domestic Wastes: Waste Management

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what guidance his Department and its agencies have issued to local authorities advocating a move to alternate weekly collection schemes for the collection of household rubbish; [130544]

(2) what estimate (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have made of the cost to local authorities of providing (i) weekly and (ii) alternate weekly collections of household rubbish; [130551]

(3) what funding (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have provided to local authorities for alternate weekly collection schemes for the collection of household rubbish. [130552]

Mr. Bradshaw: It is for each local authority (LA) to decide whether to implement alternate weekly collection, or any other waste management system. However, my Department has funded research and guidance to assist LAs in carrying out their operations in the most efficient and effective manner. This will ensure that such changes in collections do not impact negatively on residents.

Guidance published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in 2005 sets out the process councils need to go through if they are considering the introduction of an alternate week collection service. The guidance is based on the experiences of LAs that have already implemented such schemes. WRAP is currently revising its guidance to take account of the latest research, including recent householder and LA experiences. Suitability of an alternate weekly collection service often depends on local geography and housing stock. The guidance also emphasises that a key part of any successful change is following full consultation with local residents.

My Department has made some assumptions about the costs of alternate weekly collections in our modelling for the review of England’s Waste Strategy. Those assumptions were based on collection cost estimates from WRAP’s Kerbside Analysis Tool model and five consultants as part of a preliminary benchmarking project run by Be-Environmental and let by WRAP. A more complete study will follow later this year.

WRAP has not carried out a general assessment of cost savings associated with alternate weekly collection.
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The work that has been done has looked at particular LAs and how alternate weekly collection has been implemented in these cases. The general work that WRAP has been undertaking for Defra looks at different types of alternate weekly collection design and how this impacts on recycling performance and total quantities of household waste collected.

Alternate weekly collection covers a number of important design decisions in relation to residual household waste, recycling and composting collections and only one component of this is whether or not to collect household residual waste on alternate weeks. There are many systems where only elements of recycling and composting alternate with one another and the refuse is still collected on a weekly basis.

WRAP has carried out regular public attitude surveys since 2004 that have included ratings of how convenient the public find different LA collection systems to use. Only a minority of alternate weekly collection systems received poor convenience ratings and these related to systems where insufficient capacity has been provided to householders in the week that alternated with refuse collection.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he expects Joint Waste Authorities to be able to impose alternate weekly collection of domestic rubbish on individual councils within an authority. [130568]

Mr. Bradshaw: Under the proposals to allow creation of Joint Waste Authorities (JWA), it will be for groups of authorities to determine which powers they wish to pass to a JWA. If a group of authorities opted to pass waste collection responsibilities to a JWA, then the constituent authorities would no longer have a role in waste collection. The JWA would be responsible for making decisions such as whether to introduce alternate weekly collection. The JWA would be governed by elected members from the constituent local authorities. If a group of authorities chose to pass only waste disposal functions to the. JWA, and to retain waste collection responsibilities themselves, the JWA would not be able to make any decisions about alternate weekly collection.

Endangered Species

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which Ministers have represented the UK at each meeting of the (a) International Whaling Commission and (b) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in the last five years; and who the UK’s ministerial representatives at the next meetings of these bodies will be. [128787]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 23 March 2007 ] : At the 2002 annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) the UK was represented at ministerial level by my right hon. Friend the Member for Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley). In 2003 no Government Minister attended. In 2004, 2005 and 2006 I attended.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) also attended the 2002 and 2004 Conferences of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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The Minister with responsibility for biodiversity, my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Barry Gardiner) will be attending both this year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC59) and the 14th Conference of Parties to CITES (COP14).

The UK is one of only three members to have regular ministerial level representation at IWC meetings, the others being Australia and New Zealand. Similarly, the UK is among a minority of parties that have regularly had ministerial representation at CITES COPs.

Energy: Conservation

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many pensioner households in Tamworth constituency are eligible for (a) warm front grants to install energy efficient measures and (b) (i) free and (ii) reduced cost installation of central heating systems. [129992]

Ian Pearson: Information on the exact number of residents in Tamworth eligible for warm front is not available. However, on the basis of statistical modelling used by the warm front scheme manager, it is estimated that some 8,000 households in Tamworth could currently be eligible for assistance from the Scheme.

Since the start of the second phase of the warm front in June 2005, 491 households in Tamworth have received assistance from the scheme.

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will make a statement on the withdrawal of Energy Efficiency Commitment funding to Eaga discussions; [128946]

(2) what discussions he has had with Eaga on the shortfall in funding for Warm Front grants since the withdrawal of Energy Efficiency Commitment funding. [129811]

Ian Pearson: Energy Efficiency Commitment funding has not been withdrawn from the Warm Front scheme.

Eaga Plc continues to work closely with energy suppliers in meeting energy efficiency saving targets set by the Energy Efficiency Commitment.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of houses built since the introduction of energy efficiency regulations in 1985 met the required standards; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure compliance with these regulations. [129669]

Angela E. Smith: I have been asked to reply.

Enforcement of compliance with the Building Regulations is undertaken by local authorities and the data are not held centrally.

The Government have been aware of the concerns about non-compliance with the energy efficiency requirements for some time. They gave commitments in the 2003 Energy White Paper to raise performance standards and to work with local authorities on improving enforcement.

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The 2006 amendment to the Building Regulations followed consultations with stakeholders and adopted a number of measures to improve compliance with the energy efficiency requirements. We have since undertaken the most comprehensive information, education and dissemination programme ever in regard to these changes to ensure all stakeholders are aware of the importance of these measures, of their obligations to comply and of ways of doing so. Monitoring of implementation is proceeding with six monthly consultations with the enforcement authorities and regular contacts with the building industry.

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what alternative he recommends for use with (a) domestic and (b) commercial dimmer switches when incandescent light bulbs are phased out. [130732]

Ian Pearson: We are working with retailers, lighting manufacturers and trade associations to phase out inefficient light bulbs over the next four years. We will phase out only those bulbs for which an efficient alternative currently exists.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, an alternative to inefficient light bulbs, are now available for almost all household fittings. Dimmable compact fluorescent light bulbs, which work with both domestic and commercial dimmer switches, are already available and will be made increasingly available in the UK during the phase-out period.

Environment Agency: Finance

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for changes in the Environment Agency budget. [131223]

Ian Pearson: The operating grant-in-aid that Defra provides to the Environment Agency (EA) for 2007-08 was announced in December 2006 and totals £570.884 million.

Overall departmental funding for the financial years 2008-09 to 2010-11, of which grant-in-aid to the EA forms a part, is being considered in the Government’s 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). The outcome of the CSR will be announced in the autumn. We will continue to work with the EA in preparation for this.

Farm Inspections

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people are qualified to (a) lead farm inspections and (b) be part of farm inspection teams which are employed by (i) his Department and (ii) the Environment Agency. [130035]

Barry Gardiner: The Rural Payments Agency Inspectorate has around 200 inspectors who are fully competent to conduct farm inspections solo or as part of a team.

In England, Environment Agency officers generally undertake cross-compliance inspections alone (that is, not part of a ‘team’). The number of officers trained
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and competent to undertake cross-compliance inspections in England is in the order of 150.

In Wales, inspections are normally lead by the Rural Inspectorate Wales and the Environment Agency Wales has about 25 officers trained and competent to undertake inspections.

Fish: River Don

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps were taken to ensure that the River Don was stocked with fish appropriate to the local area in the restocking that took place in January and March 2007; [130310]

(2) what steps are being taken to ensure the recovery of the River Don fishery. [130311]

Mr. Bradshaw: According to earliest available records (pre-1850), species such as grayling, roach, dace, chub, gudgeon, barbel, common bream, eel and perch are native to the River Don. We have utilised these records, together with the topography of the river, throughout our stocking programmes to stock species appropriate to the location. Fishery surveys were also undertaken after the recent pollution incident, and the data compared to that from previous surveys to help evaluate suitable species for stocking. Stocking needs for 2007-08 will be based upon future monitoring to ensure it meets the demands of the river following this incident.

Stocking is a useful fisheries management tool for developing and recovering rivers, but only one part of the recovery process. The river will slowly recover naturally as fish from upstream and downstream re-distribute, but we are considering what the river needs to improve fish stocks now and protect against possible future storm sewage incidents. Fish passes, for example, may be installed, according to need, in order to allow stocks unaffected by the pollution to migrate upstream. A recovery plan for the river is being finalised.

The Environment Agency has committed to work with angling clubs, British Waterways and Yorkshire Water to ensure the recovery and future protection of the river. Meetings have already taken place and discussions are ongoing.


Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures he is taking to ensure sustainable fisheries management; and if he will make a statement. [130943]

Mr. Bradshaw: The UK Government continues to play an active role in negotiating improvements to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) designed to provide more sustainable long-term fisheries management. We are working to ensure depleted stocks are recovered and subsequently conserved, while at the same time delivering a viable future for our fishing industry, in order to optimise long-term benefits to the nation from fisheries. We are currently consulting the public on our 20-year Strategic vision for marine fisheries in England and English waters. We aim to arrive at a “contract” for
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marine fisheries recognising that everyone with an interest in fisheries has a role to play in achieving sustainability.

The November 2006 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) discussion on a Sustainable Fisheries Resolution took a significant step forward, putting in place an agreed international framework for phasing out high seas bottom trawling over the next two years. This was possible because of the strong position taken by the UK and our EU partners. We continue to press for effective worldwide action and, with the EU, we will seek to ensure that everybody meets their responsibility to prevent this unregulated form of fishing from destroying so many marine creatures and habitats.

Fisheries: Quotas

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely economic impact on fishermen of the quota swap of UK prawns for German sole; and if he will make a statement. [131321]

Mr. Bradshaw: In 2006, the UK under-fished its North Sea nephrops quota by some 3,429 tonnes, 2,443 tonnes of which has been carried over to 2007. This takes this year’s UK quota for this stock to 25,087 tonnes, which is 4,084 tonnes above the level of its actual landings in 2006.

In view of this, we concluded that “top-slicing” 375 tonnes from the UK’s North Sea nephrops quota to pay for the quota swap with Germany would not have a significant impact on those groups targeting nephrops. Any disadvantage would be greatly outweighed by the benefit to the inshore fleet of securing 150 tonnes of North Sea sole. Without this quantity of sole, there was a real possibility of a significant number of small fishing enterprises going out of business, with a knock-on effect for shore-based companies and the viability of small fishing ports in South East England.

Fisheries Administrations will be consulting the catching industry on the apportionment of the 375 tonne reduction in North Sea nephrops quota.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that there is sufficient quota for the under 10 metre fishing fleet for 2008. [130945]

Mr. Bradshaw: Fisheries Administrations are considering the future management arrangements for the under 10 metre fleet as part of the Quota Management Change Programme. Work on this has already begun in the light of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit report “Net Benefits”. In this context, we are examining a range of issues, including:

We expect to go out to consultation on proposals in the second half of 2007, with a view to introducing any
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changes (possibly on a phased basis) from next year. In the meantime, Fisheries Administrations will continue to enhance the fishing opportunities for the under 10 metre fleet wherever possible. This will be done through existing mechanisms such as the facility for quota “swaps” with other groups within the UK and with other member states.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has plans to swap fish quota with other countries; and if he will make a statement. [130981]

Mr. Bradshaw: Fisheries administrations swap fish quotas with other EU member states on a regular basis. Quota swaps are undertaken in order to maximise fishing opportunities for the UK fleet. In 2006, some 95 quota swaps were undertaken between the UK and other member states.

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