|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
14 July 2008 : Column 25Wcontinued
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government has taken to (a) encourage other countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and (b) assist poor countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 10 July 2008]: The UK Government are happy with the decision taken at the UN climate change conference in Bali in December to begin negotiations on a global climate change agreement to reduce emissions. This will be agreed in Copenhagen in 2009.
A key part of the negotiation process will be to look at how all countries, developed and developing, could reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and how the developed world could support developing countries.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which (a) individuals and (b) organisations have been funded by his Department to conduct research on personal carbon trading in the last three years. 
Mr. Woolas: The Government have recently completed an initial assessment of the potential value of personal carbon trading, compared to other approaches to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The study explored some key issues highlighted by an initial scoping study produced for DEFRA by the Centre for Sustainable Energy in November 2006.
The following DEFRA-funded research was published in May:
the technical feasibility and potential cost of personal carbon trading, which was produced by Accenture;
the distributional impacts of personal carbon trading, by the Centre for Sustainable Energy; and
an assessment of the public acceptability of personal carbon trading, by Enviros and Opinion Leader.
In addition to this research, DEFRA provided a grant to the RSA (The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) which has been leading a three year project into this area.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) through what mechanism payments to the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund are made by individual Departments;
and whether the calculation of the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to be offset is made by the relevant Department or by the fund; 
(2) who administers the operation of the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund. 
Mr. Woolas: Individual Departments calculate their total air mileage, subdivided into domestic, short haul and long haul flights. From these figures, the emissions in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and the costs of offsetting them, are calculated using agreed formulae. This information is passed on to DEFRA, which then makes a formal request for payment into the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund holding account by the relevant Department.
EEA Fund Management administers the operation of the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from the Breaking the Climate Deadlock group on climate change. 
Mr. Woolas: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Hilary Benn) and myself have not received representations from the Breaking the Climate Deadlock group. However, DEFRA officials have recently met and maintain regular contact with the chief executive of the Climate Group, which has been working closely with Breaking the Climate Deadlock.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of household waste was recycled in each English local authority area in 2006-07. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 9 July 2008]: The household recycling and composting rates for all English local authorities are calculated from data submitted to WasteDataFlow by local authorities. Figures for 2006-07 and the most recent two quarters published are in a table which I will deposit in the House Library.
Recycling and composting rates are affected by seasonal variation in waste generation and therefore the rates for the financial year 2007-08 may be notably different to the figures given in the table.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 29 January 2008, Official Report, column 245W, on waste disposal: domestic waste, when the research reports on (a) bonfire smoke complaints and (b) emissions of dioxins will be placed in the Library. 
Joan Ruddock: I can confirm that the reports in question were deposited in the House Library on 30 January.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what procedures are in place for the Environment Agency to co-ordinate catchment flood management plans with river basin management and the EU Water Framework Directive, with particular reference to policy on land use changes. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency works to ensure that flood risk management and environmental protection are brought together in the River Basin Management Plans required under the Water Framework Directive.
Catchment Flood Management Plans set out the Environment Agencys flood risk management policies. These need to be incorporated in the River Basin Management Plans so that the plans complement each other. The teams working on both sets of plans liaise regularly on the issues.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of levels of provision of training of flood defence and drainage engineers to ensure sufficient trained engineers in the future. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 10 July 2008]: We commissioned a comprehensive report on Engineering Skills for Flood Risk Management from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), which was produced in October 2004. This followed the ICEs review floods of the autumn 2000 floods.
The Environment Agency has had a capacity plan since May 2004 and a three year strategy to address the civil engineering skills shortage since August 2005. The Environment Agency also operate a Foundation Degree in Science for River and Coastal Engineering and have a new Graduate Training Programme. These are both supported by national recruitment campaigns.
The Environment Agency is currently reviewing its skills and capacity strategy in the light of various reports following the summer 2007 floods.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will discuss with the Environment Agency the condition of the Glynbridge Gardens site of the River Chelt in Swindon village, Gloucestershire following the 2007 flooding; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: I am aware that the Glynbridge Gardens area of Cheltenham was badly affected by flooding last summer. The Environment Agency is currently repairing damage to the river banks and flood defences along George Readings Way. The agency is also excavating material from the river channel to improve the capacity of the River Chelt. This work will be completed by the end of August and will reduce the risk of flooding in the future.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what types of critical infrastructure were categorised as at risk of flooding by the Environment Agency in each of the last five years; and how many of each type were categorised in each year; 
(2) when the Environment Agencys list of critical infrastructure at risk of flooding was last updated; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency commissioned a major project in 2007 to map and improve its understanding of flood vulnerability at a national scale. The resulting database, which draws heavily on information held by other parties, provides a summary of vulnerability to flooding in each 100 metres of land in England and Wales.
The following table sets out a summary of the Receptors Vulnerable to Flooding database. It shows the number of infrastructure assets, divided into sectors, that are at either a significant, moderate or low flood risk probability. Where the following definitions of flood risk probability are used:
Significant: the chance of flooding in any year is greater than 1.3 per cent. (1 in 75)
Moderate: the chance of flooding in any year is 1.3 per cent. (1 in 75) or less, but greater than 0.5 per cent. (1 in 200)
Low: the chance of flooding in any year is 0.5 per cent. (1 in 200) or less.
|Environment Agency study showing infrastructure overlain on flood risk maps (river and sea flood plains)|
|Number of sites in flood zone (flood risk probability)|
|Asset||Significant (1 in 75)||Moderate (1 in 75-200)||Low (1 in 200 or fewer)||Total in all three zones|
As the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stated in the House on 25 June, electricity and water providers are responsible for ensuring continuity of supply. The electricity industry has identified just over 1,000 grid and primary sites which are in flood zones, and is working with the Environment Agency to
see which of these might need additional protection. Every water company is reviewing how its critical assets may be at risk from flooding in order to prioritise investment plans. This information will be used as the basis of a planned nationwide programme to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure which Government will produce later this year.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to reduce food waste by (a) producers, (b) wholesalers, (c) processors, (d) retailers and (e) consumers. 
Joan Ruddock: The Government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is working with stakeholders across the food sectorproducers, wholesalers, processors, retailers and consumersto tackle the problem of food waste. For example:
The Courtauld Commitment between WRAP and major food and drink retailers and manufacturers aims to reduce packaging waste and to identify ways to tackle the problem of food waste.
WRAP will also be running a programme jointly with Envirowise to help the industry reduce packaging and food waste in the grocery supply chain.
WRAP provides an advisory service to local authorities on their waste collection arrangements, and has been involved in managing a series of food waste collection trials in 19 local authority areas. Where appropriate, WRAP is able to advise local authorities to consider opportunities for the co-collection of food waste from commercial premises with food waste from domestic properties.
WRAP is running a consumer-facing campaign, Love Food Hate Waste, to encourage behaviour change. The campaign is being delivered in partnership with stakeholders from across the food industry and retail sector, and organisations such as the Food Standards Agency and the womens institute. Its aim is to develop practical advice, to help people get the most from the food they buy, and to waste less of it.
DEFRA is also 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 15-20 per cent. by 2010. In responding to the targets outlined in the FISS Champions Group on Waste report to Ministers last May, the Food and Drink Federations Five Fold Environmental Ambition/Making a real difference document set themselves a target to send zero waste to landfill by 2015.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the environmental implications of the release of genetically-modified trees. 
Under European Union legislation, any proposed release of a genetically modified (GM) organism is subject to a case-by-case risk assessment, based on appropriate scientific evidence. This process considers all the conceivable risk factors, including the potential for gene transfer to other organisms. Approval for a
release will only be granted if the evidence indicates that it will not have any adverse effect on human health and the environment.
No releases of GM trees have been proposed in the UK in recent years. Trial releases in England of GM apple, eucalyptus and poplar plants were approved and completed in the 1990s.
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many instances of fly-tipping involving hazardous waste have been investigated by the Environment Agency in each of the last five years; and how many such investigations have resulted in convictions. 
Joan Ruddock: The following table shows hazardous waste fly-tipping incidents, investigations and convictions data that has been taken from the Environment Agencys National Incident Recording System.
The term investigated means that the incident has been attended or evidence has been provided by a trusted third party. Additionally not all incidents that are reported as being hazardous are ultimately confirmed as such. Cases can also take many months or even years to be brought to court.
Due to changes in Environment Agency data recording systems and methods, figures prior to 2004 are not comparable.
|Hazardous waste fly-tipping|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|