Previous Section Index Home Page

18 Feb 2008 : Column 274W—continued

Meat Products: Imports

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of imported meat that was processed in the UK and subsequently labelled as British in the last 12 months. [185979]

Jonathan Shaw: It would not be practical to collect such statistics. Under the Food Safety Act 1990, the Food Labelling Regulations (1996), and the Trades Descriptions Act 1968 any labelling that provides information on the origin of meat must not mislead consumers. Where meat has been processed, provided it is a substantial change, it is permissible to describe as its origin the country where that change took place. If the absence of information might mislead consumers, then guidance produced by the Food Standards Agency confirms that both the origin of the meat and the country where the processing takes place should be declared in order to facilitate informed consumer choice. More restrictive rules apply to beef and poultry meat that has not been processed.

At the end of January, the European Commission published its proposals, for a food information regulation which brings together a number of general food labelling directives and includes provisions governing the labelling of the origin of a product and its ingredients. Within this draft regulation there is a proposal for amending the rules on country of origin labelling. This proposal will be the subject of widespread consultation by the Food Standards Agency, which leads on food labelling issues.

Nature Conservation: Lyme Bay

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to protect the marine biodiversity of Lyme Bay. [186008]

Jonathan Shaw: We have recently consulted on proposals to protect the biodiversity of Lyme bay. The consultation sought the views of all interested parties on three proposed options to deliver protection for marine biodiversity in the bay. It also invited respondents to suggest further options to provide protection for the bay's marine biodiversity and raised a number of specific questions concerning related conservation and economic matters.

Consultation closed on 21 December 2007 and we are now urgently considering people's responses. Once this process has concluded, and a summary of consultation responses has been published, an announcement will be made concerning any further measures to protect marine biodiversity at Lyme bay.

18 Feb 2008 : Column 275W

Nitrates: Water

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the EU (a) Nitrates and (b) Water Framework Directives on water management. [184867]

Mr. Woolas: The Nitrates Directive aims to improve water quality by reducing pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources. It focuses upon improving agricultural land management practices, in particular the use of manure and fertiliser, through implementation of an action programme. The recent consultation on implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England, included an assessment of the effectiveness of the current and proposed action programme at reducing nitrate losses.

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires us to achieve good status in all water bodies by 2015, subject to a range of exceptions related to technical feasibility and disproportionate cost. The WFD accommodates essential uses of the water environment such as for flood defence, power generation and abstraction.

Achievement of the environmental objectives of the WFD is likely to require action by a range of operations that put pressure on the environmental quality of water including water and sewerage services and land management. The requirements of individual operators will depend on the Environment Agency’s assessment, using WFD criteria, of the current condition of water bodies and the measures identified as necessary to achieve the relevant environmental objectives.

Draft river basin management plans, outlining the current status of the water environment in each river basin district and proposals for measures to achieve the environmental objectives, will be published for a six month consultation in December 2008.

DEFRA has carried out impact assessments of the costs and benefits of the WFD. Each river basin management plan will, in turn, be subject to an impact assessment, which will take account of specific measures in the way that the higher level assessments carried out to date have been unable to do.

Noise: Health Hazards

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2008, Official Report, column 1940W, on noise: health hazards, whether the Noise Strategy for England will have regard to the results of the Salford University study into Research into Aerodynamic Modulation of Wind Turbine Noise commissioned by his Department. [186045]

Jonathan Shaw: The Noise Strategy for England will be a high level document that sets out the Government’s policy on neighbourhood and environmental noise. It would be premature to state whether the strategy will single out the aerodynamic modulation of noise from wind turbines. The Government have stated that they will keep the issue of aerodynamic modulation of noise from wind turbines under review.

18 Feb 2008 : Column 276W

Packaging: Waste Disposal

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities of recovering non-reusable bags (a) in household refuse and (b) from streets. [186734]

Joan Ruddock: No such estimates have been made.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department takes to ensure that recycled materials which are exported for reprocessing are not diverted to (a) landfill and (b) other disposal facilities. [186260]

Joan Ruddock: It is the responsibility of producers of waste, including local authorities and their waste management contractors, to ensure that waste is dealt with in an environmentally sound manner throughout the recycling chain, including at its final destination.

Waste that is being exported should be recovered or recycled under environmentally sound conditions, and exporters should reassure themselves that this is taking place.

In England and Wales, the Environment Agency helps to detect and prevent the illegal export of waste through intelligence-led, targeted inspections at ports and other facilities. Enforcement action is taken as appropriate where evidence of illegal activity is found. The Environment Agency cooperates with regulators overseas to help ensure that controls are met.

Renewable Energy: Wood

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding he has allocated to his Department's wood fuel strategy in each of the next three years. [186057]

Mr. Woolas: The Forestry Commission is currently carrying out its business planning for the next three years. Decisions on funding for their England Woodfuel Strategy will be made within that process.

Retail Trade: Packaging

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward legislative proposals to reduce the use of non-reusable bags in the retail trade. [186730]

Joan Ruddock: The Government pledged in the ‘Waste Strategy for England 2007’ to phase out free single-use carrier bags. We are actively working to establish the best ways of achieving this objective.

Seas and Oceans: Legislation

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons a draft Marine Bill was not presented to Parliament in (a) the 2005-06 Session and (b) the 2006-07 Session; and if he will make a statement. [186007]

18 Feb 2008 : Column 277W

Jonathan Shaw: The Government are firmly focused on meeting its commitment to introduce a comprehensive Marine Bill in this Parliament. Proposals have been developed for a Bill that covers a broad and complex set of marine issues spanning many different interests and which, in some cases, break completely new ground.

Extensive consultation has been essential with a broad range of stakeholders to ensure that this legislation is right. To this end, we undertook a broad public consultation exercise in 2006. We further developed our proposals in a White Paper which was published for consultation in 2007.

The Government's draft legislative programme states that we are considering publishing a draft Marine Bill in this session of Parliament. We are working to do this in early 2008. Publishing the Marine Bill in draft will allow us to get the legislation right and lead to a better Bill.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Standards

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made towards its public service agreement target to bring 95 per cent. of sites of special scientific interest into favourable condition by 2010; and if he will make a statement. [181505]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 24 January 2008]: At 30 January 2008, 80.1 per cent. of sites of special interest (SSSI) by area was in favourable or recovering condition (target condition). We anticipate that the figure by the end of March 2008 will be around 81.5 per cent.. This falls slightly short of the milestone of 83 per cent. but compares with a baseline of 56.9 per cent. in 2003 and represents good progress towards delivering the target of 95 per cent. by December 2010.

Trade Unions

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether (a) his Department and (b) the Carbon Trust has provided funding to trades unions in the last 36 months. [186182]

Mr. Woolas: DEFRA has provided £16,000 to support Trade Union activities on sustainable development in the last 36 months.

The Carbon Trust has supported the Trades Union Congress (TUC) with funding through the Networks Initiative in 2006 and 2007. The Initiative provides financial support to projects that help members reduce their carbon emissions. The specific projects supported were Green Workplaces in 2006 and the Carbon Partnership Project in 2007. Each received £140,000 from the Carbon Trust.

As well as engaging the TUC’s affiliated members through these projects, the Carbon Trust has supported a number of individual trade unions with free carbon surveys, customer advice and information. The Carbon Trust are also reviewing the findings of the Green Workplaces project to allow a wider roll out in the future.

18 Feb 2008 : Column 278W

Waste Disposal

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the factual briefing note on pilot waste reduction schemes referred to by the Minister of State for Sustainable Farming, Food and Animal Welfare on 30 January 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column 664. [185787]

Joan Ruddock: I am arranging for the information requested to be placed in the House Library.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) paper and cardboard, (b) metal, (c) glass, (d) plastic and (e) other material was (i) collected for recycling and (ii) exported for reprocessing in each of the last three years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. [186258]

Joan Ruddock: The tonnages of materials collected from household sources sent for recycling and composting by local authorities in England in the last three years for which figures are available, are shown in the following table(1). This information is available on the DEFRA website. Tonnages of recyclable materials from non-household sources are not available.

Thousand tonnes
Household waste 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

Paper and card












Scrap metals and white goods




























Where non-hazardous wastes (such as separated recyclables) are exported, they are generally subject only to commercial controls and not to the prior notification and consent procedures which apply to exports of hazardous wastes. Precise data on the amounts and destinations of exported recyclables are not, therefore, available.

However, based on HM Revenue and Customs figures, it is estimated that in 2006 (the last year for which figures are available), the UK exported some eight million tonnes of metal scrap, four million tonnes of paper, 441,000 tonnes of plastic and 136,000 tonnes of glass cullet. These figures will include recyclable materials collected from all sources including households, commerce and industry.

18 Feb 2008 : Column 279W

Waste Disposal: Compost

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government have taken to encourage homeowners to compost their kitchen and garden waste since 1997. [177321]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 7 February 2008]: Increasing the rate of composting of kitchen and garden waste is an important way to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste being sent to landfill and should help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is working with local authorities and other partners to improve the uptake of home composting and has distributed over one million home composting bins to households across the country through local authorities. Practical advice on home composting is available on the Recycle Now website.

WRAP is also working to encourage composting more generally and is providing support and advice to local authorities on collecting dry recyclable and organic wastes through its Recycling and Organics Technical Advisory Team (ROTATE).

Next Section Index Home Page