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17 Dec 2007 : Column 1004Wcontinued
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research the Government have (a) commissioned and (b) assessed on the release of lead into the environment from land excavation. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 6 December 2007]: DEFRA has commissioned no recent research into the release of lead into the environment from land excavation.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the fallen stock disposal scheme as it applies to large animals; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Government are satisfied with the effectiveness of the arrangements for collecting and disposing of animals, of whatever size, under the national fallen stock scheme.
Separate arrangements apply for fallen cattle aged over 24 months that must be tested post-mortem for BSE. The effectiveness of these arrangements is also kept under review. Most cattle are collected within 24 hours of notification to the TSE Surveillance Helpline.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the average cost to dairy farmers of implementation of the proposed changes to the action programme for nitrate vulnerable zones. 
Mr. Woolas: Annex 2 of the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA), accompanying the consultation on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England, provides details of my Departments assessment of the likely impact of the average annual cost to dairy farmers of implementation of the possible changes to the Nitrates Action Programme.
The average annual cost to dairy farmers, depending on region and which of the options discussed in the RIA are taken forward, ranges from approximately £200 to £11,000 per farm.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will give consideration to removing the River Trent catchment area from the nitrate vulnerable zone on grounds of the long-term downward trend in nitrate content in the river. 
Mr. Woolas: My Department is considering under what circumstances removal of land from within a nitrate vulnerable zone may be possible in the future. The consultation on implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England, which closed on 13 December, invited stakeholder views on this issue.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many responses there have been to his Departments consultation on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England. 
Mr. Woolas: To date my Department has received approximately 470 responses to the consultation on implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England. The consultation closed on 13 December 2007.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff are employed in the Office of Climate Change, broken down by civil service grade. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 11 December 2007]: At 30 November 2007 the Office of Climate Change has a full-time equivalent of 48. It is our policy not to comment on staff grades where individuals could be identified.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 apply to companies who handle packaging in the UK for products which are sold in (a) other EU countries which have implemented the EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste 94/62/EC and (b) non-EU countries. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 15 November 2007]: The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 require that producers recover and recycle a proportion of all packaging handled.
When calculating an individual producers obligationthe amount of packaging they are obliged to recover and recyclepackaging and packaging materials that are exported from the UK are not included in the final calculation. Imported packaging carries a 100 per cent. obligation.
Any packaging exported to other EU countries would be subject to the provisions of Packaging Waste Directive through the local transposing legislation.
Packaging waste exported to non-EU countries would be subject to the regulations of the import country.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the merits of lifting the prohibitions on the use of certain rodenticides. 
As with other pesticides, approvals are only granted to rodenticides when there is evidence that the proposed use is safe for people and poses no unacceptable risk to the environment. Where necessary, restrictions are applied to ensure safe use. For example certain rodenticides are approved only for indoor use, because of an unacceptable risk to wildlife if they are placed outside. However, prohibitions and restrictions can be reviewed in response to an application, usually from the approval holder. In such cases it is the applicants responsibility to provide evidence in
support of the proposed amendment. In the case of rodenticides, application should be made to the Health and Safety Executive.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to encourage mixed plastic recycling; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: Mixed plastics is a term used within the recycling sector to refer to plastic packaging other than plastic bottles, which are the simplest part of the plastics waste stream to recycle.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is undertaking trials with a number of technologies with the aim of understanding the best ways to handle mixed plastics from an environmental, economical and technological perspective. The programme is investigating three main areas: collection, reprocessing, and end markets.
Different recycling and recovery options are being considered as part of this work, including reprocessing mixed plastics into new plastics, incineration, chemical treatment and even turning them into diesel.
WRAP'S focus on mixed plastics follows on from the successful uptake of plastic bottle recycling. Plastic bottle recycling has significantly increased in recent years, with around 132,000 tonnes of plastic bottles collected and recycled from UK households in 2006.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the recycling rates were for each London borough in each year since 1997. 
Joan Ruddock: Household recycling and composting rates achieved by each London borough for the period requested can be accessed at the Audit Commissions website at:
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) CITES and (b) non-CITES listed reptiles were imported into the EU in each year between 2000 and 2006. 
Joan Ruddock: The number of CITES listed reptiles imported into the EU between 2000 and 2006 was as follows:
The UK does not hold records on imports of non-CITES species into the EU.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) CITES and (b) non-CITES listed reptiles were imported into the UK from (i) inside and (ii) outside the EU in each year between 2000 and 2007. 
Joan Ruddock: CITES listed reptiles can be moved freely within the Community and no statistics are available of specimens moving within the free trade area.
The number of CITES listed reptiles imported into the UK from outside the EU between 2000 and 2007 was as follows:
|(1) No figures currently available|
(b) (i) and (ii) There are no records kept of the numbers of non-CITES listed reptiles moved into the UK from within or outside the EU.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 November 2007, Official Report, column 768W, on River Severn: floods, if the Secretary of State will place in the Library copies of the documents to which he referred. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 11 December 2007]: I will arrange for copies of these documents to be placed in the House Libraries.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many qualified sea fisheries officers there were in each year since 1997; how many are planned for each of the next 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The number of qualified British sea fishery officer posts in each year since 1997 is set out in the following table:
Information on actual numbers of staff in post throughout the period is not readily available as vacancies will arise and be filled at various times during each year.
We have no information on planned numbers of British sea fishery officers over the next 10 years.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the reasons were for not extending the powers of the Environment Agency to include flooding from drains and sewers by the end of 2006 as planned in 2004; and what progress is being made towards rationalising responsibilities for drains and sewers. 
Mr. Woolas: In 2005 the first Government response to the consultation on Making Space for Water' we announced an intention to extend the role of the Environment Agency to include strategic overview of management of flood risk from all sources (rivers, the sea, sewer, surface water and groundwater) and of coastal erosion risk, and that these changes would be implemented progressively by 2009. We have announced the detailed form this new role will take on the coast, to take effect from next April, and are considering how it should be applied inland. As with the coastal overview role, the inland changes will be informed by public consultation.
As part of the upcoming Government Water Strategy, Future Water, due to be published early in 2008, we will review approaches to urban drainage, taking account of recommendations from the independent review of the summer flooding being undertaken by Sir Michael Pitt. To support this work, the Government, along with UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) is spending £2 million on 15 integrated urban drainage pilot studies around the country to test new approaches to reduce the risk of urban drainage flooding. The pilots, to be completed in spring 2008, are intended to clarify responsibilities for urban drainage management.
Ms Hewitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the performance of Leicester city council on collection, recycling and disposal of household waste. 
Joan Ruddock: Local authority household waste performance is measured by adding together their recycling and composting rates under Best Value Performance Indicators 82a (household waste the local authority sends for recycling) and 82b (waste sent by the authority to composting or anaerobic digestion).
Leicester city council achieved a 27.2 per cent. household recycling and composting rate in 2006-07. The national average is 31 per cent.
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