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15 May 2008 : Column 1748Wcontinued
Trends in global food prices are analysed annually in the Agricultural Outlook prepared jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Changes in G8 policies have not been identified as major drivers of recent developments, with the exception of support for biofuel crops. There is already a substantial economic literature on the wider question of G8 agricultural support. This shows that such support tends to increase
food output, reduce prices in the rest of the world, and increase the overall cost of food production by displacing production from low-cost to G8 countries.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support is being provided by his Department to promote food waste collection for the commercial sector. 
Joan Ruddock: The Government aim to reduce the amount of food waste created by businesses and consumers; and to encourage better management through environmentally friendly treatment of waste where prevention is not possible.
The Government funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has a target to divert 100,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill by March 2008. Retailers agreed in the Courtauld Commitment One Year On event, in November 2006, to work with WRAP to help deliver this target. In recent months they have been joined by many significant food manufacturers. This work will provide the evidence base as to how post-consumer food waste can be diverted and the Government will be expecting retailers and manufacturers to help tackle the climate change impacts of food waste.
Food waste collections from commercial businesses were promoted by WRAPs Recycle at Work programme from 2006-08. WRAP commissioned four commercial food waste trials during this time; they ran from October 2006 to June 2007. WRAP commissioned independent evaluation of the trials between October 2007 and March 2008. The Executive Summary of the evaluation will be made available on the WRAP website shortly. WRAPs Good Practice Guidance on providing recycling services to businesses is also available from the WRAP website, providing guidance on setting up and marketing recycling services to Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
WRAP advises local authorities on waste collection arrangements. Where appropriate, it advises them to consider opportunities for the co-collection of food waste from commercial premises with food waste from domestic properties, to help with the economics of household food waste collections.
DEFRA is working closely with the food industry to improve its environmental impact through the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS). The FISS targets a reduction in the food industrys own wastes of 15 to 20 per cent. by 2010.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many food waste trials he has (a) commissioned and (b) approved; and when the results of the trials are expected. 
Joan Ruddock: The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), with funding from DEFRA, has been running a programme of food waste collection trials involving 18 local authorities in England. Most of these trials have been operating since May 2007. Evaluation of the trials is under way and the results will be available in the summer.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the animal welfare standards for live horses and ponies being exported from the UK. 
Jonathan Shaw: There are continuous checks on the welfare of horses and ponies exported from the United Kingdom. There are fitness to travel checks carried out as part of export health certification and checks carried out at places of departure and ports and airports to ensure compliance with all the requirements of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005 on the welfare of animals during transport.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has recently (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated relating to (i) litter and (ii) fly-tipping in England. 
Joan Ruddock: My Department and the Environment Agency jointly commissioned ENCAMS in June 2007 to carry out a research project to explore the current perceptions among householders and tradespeople of the waste duty of care and the waste carrier registration regime. It specifically sought to understand:
awareness of the waste carrier register/duty of care among tradespeople and the general public;
triggers and barriers to registration on the part of tradespeople;
the usefulness of the register to the general public;
possible motivational messages/information to encourage tradespeople to register, and the public to use registered tradespeople.
ENCAMS delivered the results of this research in December 2007 and we will publish the results in due course. The results will inform any future DEFRA funded awareness raising work on fly-tipping, in particular, any campaign to support the new duty of care and waste carrier/broker registration regimes that is planned for adoption in April 2009.
ENCAMS was asked to look at what materials were collected alongside litter in public places and how they were dealt with and measured as part of the development of the Recycle on the Go Voluntary Code of Practice, shortly to be launched by DEFRA. This was carried out between January and March 2007 and was funded through ENCAMS DEFRA grant. It is not yet published but a summary is available.
The Annual Local Environmental Quality Survey of England measures littering (under different source types) and records incidences of fly-tipping and waste placed out. The latest report is 2006-07, published on both the DEFRA and ENCAMS websites. The detailed sources of fly-tipping and wastes placed out is collected but not published. It is available on request.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effects on (a) fish and (b) other marine creatures of thermal discharges from power plants to (i) rivers and (ii) coastal waters. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department obtains assessments of the potential effects of thermal discharges on fish and ecosystems at specific sites on an as-needs basis. These assessments are based on a variety of information, including knowledge of the thermal tolerances of fish and their ability to avoid unfavourable conditions, and the overall impacts on available habitat, much of which has been obtained from current and past research funded by DEFRA.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the role of co-operative enterprises in recycling and waste minimisation. 
Joan Ruddock: Our Waste Strategy, published in 2007, acknowledges the strengths which third sector organisations can bring to waste and recycling. We have encouraged the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which is partly funded by my Department, to bring forward a new programme to build their capacity.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that waste from projects on construction sites with an estimated cost of less than £300,000 is disposed of properly; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) are mandatory for all construction projects in England costing £300,000 or more.
In addition, implementation of a SWMP is a mandatory minimum requirement under the Department for Communities and Local Governments (CLG) Code for Sustainable Homes. From 1 May 2008, a mandatory rating against the Code is required for all new home build developments, regardless of cost.
Moreover, local authorities are empowered to make SWMPs mandatory within the conditions of their planning permission for any construction project.
Duty of care requirements and waste transfer controls apply to waste from all construction projects, regardless of cost. My Department will shortly be consulting on a review of the waste duty of care and waste carrier and broker registration regimes. The aim of this review is to reduce levels of waste crime by simplifying and modernising these regimes, making them easier to comply with and enforce while tackling low levels of awareness. A main target audience for this review will be tradespeople involved in construction projects of less than £300,000.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many local authorities have received private finance initiative finance from his Department for waste schemes; how much has been paid over the last three years; and for what purposes. 
Joan Ruddock: To date, 27 projects have been approved for private finance initiative (PFI) credits for sustainable waste management facilities. 21 have been proposed by individual authorities and six by partnerships of neighbouring authorities.
In most cases PFI credits are paid to authorities on an annuity basis, this means that credits are paid over the lifetime of the contract as a revenue payment to support the capital cost of the infrastructure being delivered.
Over the last three years, six of these projects have become eligible to claim credits, the amount they have claimed is:
|(1) Payments made to Reading borough council|
Other PFI projects that started claiming prior to April 2005 have also been in receipt of grant over the last three years. These figures are not available at this time.
The specific details on each project can be found on the DEFRA website.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with UBS on the sale of British Energy. 
Malcolm Wicks: UBS has been engaged by BERR to advise on the process of new nuclear build in the UK, including acting as financial adviser on the Government's strategy in relation to its stake in British Energy. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the details of discussions.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many projects the Low Carbon Buildings Programme funded in each year since 2006; and what the cost was of each project. 
Malcolm Wicks: Since 2006, there have been 5,083 successfully completed installations funded through the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP). The breakdown by year is shown as follows.
|Phase 1||Phase 2|
To provide a breakdown of these figures for each project could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has made to the US in respect of attempts by US law enforcement authorities to undertake retrospective prosecutions of UK businesses and individuals. 
Mr. Thomas: Officials have made representations when suitable opportunities arise, and will continue to do so.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his policy is on the investigation by the European Commission into allegations of violation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) obligation by the US in seeking to enforce laws against businesses and individuals for past activity undertaken within valid WTO commitments. 
Mr. Thomas: The Government are aware that the Commission have agreed to investigate the TBR complaint by the gambling industry. We welcome the Commission examining the issues raised by the complaint in more detail and await their conclusions with interest.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received from United Kingdom (a) businesses, (b) business organisations and (c) legal bodies on the extraterritorial application of US law to UK businesses and individuals. 
Mr. Thomas: We are aware of the concerns of industry with regard to US extra-territorial legislation, which are raised by representatives of industry and their legal advisors on a regular basis.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has made to the US administration in respect of the extraterritorial application of US law and the effect on UK businesses and individuals. 
Mr. Thomas: The UK opposes the excessive use of extra-territorial legislation, and we regularly express our concerns when Washington embassy officials meet relevant US officials.
In addition, the UK has made two recent formal representations in a demarche to the State Department and in a letter from Sir Nigel Sheinwald to Secretary of State Rice concerning an Alien Tort Statute case being considered by the Supreme Court against companies dealing with South Africa in the apartheid era.
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