Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the release of greenhouse gases from the disposal of fridges through fragmentisers in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 17 March 2008]: Fridges form a relatively small proportion of the material handled by fragmentisers and the associated emissions of green house gases are not routinely measured or recorded. However, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive requires that all greenhouse gases with a global warming potential above 15 must be extracted before items are sent through a fragmentiser.
Any fragmentiser handling separately collected waste electrical and electronic equipmentincluding fridgesmust be an approved authorised treatment facility and deal with WEEE in accordance with the guidance published by the environment agencies on best available treatment, recovery and recycling techniques.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice he has received from his Departmental chief scientific adviser on the review of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. 
The Review of the Indirect Impacts of Biofuels was commissioned by the Department for Transport, and will be led by the Renewable Fuels Agency, under Professor Ed Gallagher. The Gallagher Review is critical to assessing the social and environmental sustainability of biofuels, and DEFRAs chief scientific adviser, along with other Government chief scientific advisers, will peer review the findings of the review prior to its publication.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2007, Official Report, column 1278W, on seas and oceans: environmental protection, if he will list those sites not mentioned in the answer, but included in the figure of 180 sites reported in the Governments response to the Science and Technology Committees report, Investigating the Oceans 2006-07, HC470; and what the reasons are for each sites protection. 
As mentioned in the answer I gave to the hon. Member on 27 March 2008, Official Report, column 354W, the information provided to the Science and Technology Committee, of around 180 marine
protected areas in UK inshore waters (within 12 nautical miles), differs from the current figure of 151 marine protected areas as a result of ambiguity in the definition of what constitutes a marine site.
Work was completed by the Joint Nature Conservation Council (JNCC) in October 2007 to refine inter-agency definitions of special areas of conservation with marine components and special protection areas with marine components in agreement with the Marine Natura Project Group. Lists of these sites and their associated interest features were then produced.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Local Government Association on the future of local authority small holdings following the recent decision of Staffordshire county council to retain its stock. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Government have not recently had any specific discussions with the Local Government Association about the future of county farms, although they have regular discussions with interested stakeholders on this subject. We would always urge local authorities to think carefully when making decisions about the future of their smallholding estates. Therefore I am very pleased that as a result of its consultation exercise, Staffordshire county council has decided to retain a smallholding estate.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote the development of sustainable drainage systems within new and existing developments in the Thames Gateway growth area; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: Planning Policy Statement 25 on Development and Flood Risk (PPS25) advocates that regional planning bodies and local authorities incorporate policies for furthering the use of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) in their regional spatial strategies and development plan documents. They should also ensure that their policies and decisions on applications complement building regulations on sustainable rainwater drainage. This gives priority to the use of infiltration drainage systems over watercourses and then sewers. PPS25 also encourages local authorities to promote the use of SUDs by developers when they design their developments.
However, the principal obstacle to the increased take-up of SUDS is the lack of clarity over where responsibility for the ownership and long-term maintenance and renewal of SUDS infrastructure should lie. These issues are currently being addressed through a specific DEFRA work stream and have been the subject of informal consultation with the National SUDS Working Group. DEFRA is consulting on options for the responsibility for ownership and maintenance of SUDS as part of the current consultation on Improving Surface Water Drainage.
This consultation was launched alongside the Government's Water Strategy in February 2007 and will close on 30 April 2008.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 1180-1W, on waste management: fees and charges, what powers local authorities have to require payment for the provision of bin bags; and what steps local authorities may take in instances of non-payment; 
(2) whether residents may utilise bin bags from other sources without incurring the local authority charge in areas where local authorities charge for the provision of bin bags as waste receptacles. 
Joan Ruddock: As I stated in my reply of 30 October 2007, the Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 46, allows waste collection authorities to require occupiers to place waste for collection in receptacles of a kind and number specified. Bin bags are considered a receptacle under the Act. Waste collection authorities may:
(i) provide the receptacles free of charge;
(ii) provide the receptacles and ask the occupier to pay for them;
(iii) require the occupier to provide the receptacles himself if he does not agree to pay for them within a specified period; or
(iv) require the occupier to provide the receptacles himself from the outset.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 1180-1W, on Waste Management: Fees and Charges, what obligation there is upon the relevant waste collection authority to collect domestic waste put out in receptacles other than those provided by the local authority in those areas where local authorities make a charge for the provision of waste receptacles. 
Joan Ruddock: Under section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities (LAs) have a general duty to collect household waste. Section 46 of that Act gives LAs powers to determine arrangements for collection, such as the size, number and placing of receptacles for collection. As DEFRA advised in a letter of August 2005 to LAs, where an authority uses its section 46 powers to prescribe such arrangements and a resident does not comply with those requirements, an LA has no further duty to collect their waste, other than the duty to keep relevant land clear of litter and refuse.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which local authorities have (a) held discussions with and (b) expressed an interest to his Department on levying new charges for the collection of household waste. 
My Department is currently considering the appropriate process for waste collection authorities to express an interest in running a pilot waste incentive scheme. Timings for this process will be subject to
parliamentary progress on the Climate Change Bill. In the meantime, we continue to encourage and welcome authorities making inquiries on the implications of the legislation.
As is to be expected with any policy development, my officials and I have had a range of meetings with a variety of stakeholders on the powers provided in the Climate Change Bill for up to five local authorities to pilot waste incentive schemes.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether joint waste authorities will have powers to impose new charges for the collection of household rubbish. 
A joint waste authority (JWA) would be able to put forward a proposal to pilot a waste incentive scheme in its area if it had responsibility for waste collection. A JWA would only be set up following a unanimous request from member local authorities and a local public consultation. A consultation on draft regulations and draft guidance regarding proposals for JWAs was published on 17 March 2008.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which waste collection authorities have introduced alternate weekly collections and subsequently reinstated weekly collections of residual household rubbish. 
Joan Ruddock: The following table represents our best understanding of which waste collection authorities, having introduced alternate weekly collections, have subsequently reinstated weekly collections of residual household rubbish. However, due to the often rapid changes in this area, it is unlikely to be completely up to date.
|Local authorities that have reverted back to weekly collections
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what requirements there are on waste collection authorities to provide free waste collection services to prisons. 
Waste from all penal institutions falls under paragraph 16 of schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992, and it is therefore classified as a type of household waste for which a charge for collection may be made.
Mr. Woolas: Ofwat has powers to impose financial penalties on water and sewerage companies. These are set out in the Water Industry Act 1991, as amended by the Water Act 2003. The statutory provisions Ofwat operates under when considering financial penalties state that the money received from the companys fine must be paid to the Consolidated Fund operated by HM Treasury. This money is then spent on public services.
Jonathan Shaw: The Womens Land Army and Timber Corps Veterans Badge will be awarded to those members who were alive on the date the announcement was made (6 December 2007). They may also be awarded to the spouses and descendants of those who died on or after that date.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the reasons are for the length of time taken to provide Land Army badges to people who have applied for them through hon. Members. 
To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many and what percentage of staff in the Government Equalities Office have been making
additional voluntary contributions to their pension since the Office's inception. 
Barbara Follett: Since the formal establishment of the Government Equalities Office on 12 October 2007 one member of its staff (1.6 per cent. of the total employed by the Department) has made additional voluntary pension contributions.