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|Regional Flood Defence Committee||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08|
Mr. Woolas: Ministerial colleagues and I have held several meetings with the Association of British Insurers and their members since the flooding last summer. At our most recent meeting on 10 July the insurers reported that, of their customers, they expected that fewer than 300 households would still be out of their homes by the end of July. At this meeting we also finalised an agreement to ensure that flood insurance remains widely available now and in the long term. I have placed a copy of the joint statement and supporting documents in the Libraries of the House.
Joan Ruddock: The Government have not made an assessment of the effect that the review of inert waste regulation has had on fly-tipping. The inert waste review considered a number of issues concerning inert waste recovery and disposal mainly linked to the implementation of the landfill directive. A consultation on inert waste regulation which sought views on possible improvements to address these issues closed in March 2008.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in identifying and engaging owners of undermanaged woodland since the publication of the England Woodfuel Strategy. 
Joan Ruddock: This work is being led by the Forestry Commission, which has taken on four new staff to co-ordinate activities at national and regional levels. The Forestry Commission is running regional pilot schemes to identify and engage woodland owners through its woodfuel initiative. The information gathered will be used to complete the England woodfuel strategy implementation plan within the next six months.
In addition the Forestry Commission is facilitating the formation of a supplier association and, with the Renewable Energy Association, is identifying and recording the location of wood fuelled boilers to help with the development of fuel supply from existing woodland in private ownership.
The Forestry Commission is also working with the Regional Development Agencies to deliver grants to the forestry sector under the Rural Development programme for England to support infrastructure for woodfuel supply.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps the Government have taken to regulate the activities of the Warm Front scheme to protect the consumer. 
[holding answer 15 July 2008]: DEFRA employs independent quality assessors who provide two audit reports per year on scheme performance. These
reports include large scale surveying of Warm Front clients to provide feedback on the standards of service provided, along with recommendations for Scheme improvements.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what requirements his Department imposes on the management of ash residues arising from pyrolysis of (a) biodegradable municipal waste and (b) other waste streams; 
Joan Ruddock: Incinerators, whether based on pyrolysis or other techniques, produce two main residues called Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) and Air Pollution Control (APC) residues. These waste residues may be recovered or disposed of in an appropriately permitted site or one that benefits from an exemption from the need for an environmental permit in a manner that prevents pollution of the environment or harm to human health. Management of waste residues is also subject to the Duty of Care and where appropriate the Hazardous Waste Regulations and must be transported by a registered waste carrier. Municipal waste incinerators, whether based on pyrolysis or otherwise, do not discharge their residues to sewage systems. Therefore, there are no figures on occasions when the residues were flushed into sewage systems in the last five years.
Sewerage companies have powers to control and reduce discharges of trade effluent into sewers. If they consider a discharge to constitute trade effluent, their consent is required under the provisions of the Water Industry Act 1991. The consent may set conditions and require the elimination or diminution of any specified constituent of the trade effluent before it enters the sewer. Such a discharge without the companys agreement is a criminal offence.
If the sewerage company does not classify the discharge as trade effluent, it is still an offence under section 111 of the 1991 Act, for a person to empty into a public sewer, any matter which is likely to injure the sewer, to interfere with the free flow of its contents or prejudice the treatment and disposal of its contents. Any person who is found guilty of an offence is liable to a fine or imprisonment, or both.
In general, APC residues are classed as hazardous waste. Most IBA is likely to be non-hazardous waste. However, IBA is listed in the European Waste Catalogue as a mirror entry. This means that IBA can be either
hazardous or non-hazardous waste. IBA that possesses any one of the 14 hazardous properties (H1-H14) is classified as a hazardous waste and hence subject to Hazardous Waste Regulations.
Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the (a) accessibility and (b) capacity of facilities to destroy through incineration products containing ozone-depleting substances, with particular reference to those contained within plastic foam insulation. 
DEFRA officials have met with industry representatives to discuss the recovery for destruction of ozone-depleting substances from plastic foam insulation in buildings but further work is needed to scope the practicality of recovery, likely volumes of waste and the necessary destruction capacity.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many landfill sites have been investigated as a result of suspected contamination with chemical waste by Monsanto. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency grants landfill permits, subject to conditions, authorising the types and quantities of waste that may be received. The permits do not normally authorise individual and specific sources of waste. The Environment Agency is therefore not able to state categorically which of 1,500-plus permitted operational and closed landfill sites in England and Wales have received waste from Monsanto.
The lead regulatory authorities for contaminated land in England and Wales under part 2A of Environmental Protection Act are local authorities. Local authorities inspect their areas for the presence of contaminated land, including former landfills, under part 2A. DEFRA does not hold data on how many former landfills have been subject to local authority inspection to date or particular companies that may have been involved.
Under the part 2A regime, the Environment Agency undertakes the inspection of a specific subset of sites known as special sites on behalf of the local authorities. The Environment Agency has so far been involved with the investigation of over 30 former landfill sites. This includes Brofiscin in South Wales, where it is alleged Monsanto historically disposed of hazardous chemical waste.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what representations his Department has received on the effects on horticulture of Aminopyralid in manure; 
Mr. Woolas: The first inquiry relating to the potential effects of Aminopyralid in manure was received by the Pesticides Safety Directorates helpline on 12 March 2008. Around 70 inquiries had been received up to 9 July 2008, primarily from amateur gardeners and allotment holders. It is not known how many reports of damage to crops are attributable to Aminopyralid.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the effects on agricultural production of the use of manure containing Aminopyralid; 
Mr. Woolas: Aminopyralid has been granted provisional authorisation for use as a herbicide on grassland, following an evaluation of relevant data by the Pesticides Safety Directorate. These data indicated that Aminopyralid may remain in plant material from treated land and pass into the manure of livestock which eat such material. Susceptible crops may be adversely affected by the residues in the plant material.
Labels of products which contain Aminopyralid therefore include warnings not to use manure from livestock which have eaten grass from treated land, or fodder derived from such grass, on susceptible crops or on land intended for growing such crops, until all plant material has fully decomposed. As with all plant protection products, users should always read and follow the label instructions; this is a statutory requirement. Some cases of damage to susceptible crops appear to have arisen because the label precautions on the use of manure may not always have been followed when manure has been supplied to allotment holders and gardeners.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the risk to (a) human and (b) animal health of consuming vegetables grown in manure which contains Aminopyralid. 
Mr. Woolas: Aminopyralid is a herbicide designed for selective broad-leaved weed control in grassland. It is of low toxicity to mammals. Damage to vegetables from Aminopyralid residues in manure has arisen in part because the substance can persist in grass, hay or silage, and passes through the mammalian digestive system largely unaffected into the resultant manure, rather than being broken down.
The Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) authorised the use of Aminopyralid on grassland on the basis of data which showed that there would be no unacceptable effects on animals fed on that grass, or on their meat or milk. PSD has now assessed additional information from the manufacturer that confirms that using manure which may contain residues of Aminopyralid in ground used to grow vegetables does not have implications for human or animal health. Even if manure were derived from animals fed only grass, or silage made from grass treated with Aminopyralid and plants took up all the aminopyralid present in that manure, the highest residues would not give rise to consumer health concerns and the vegetables should be safe to eat.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the Waste and Resources Action Programme document, Management of green waste at civic amenity sites: a good practice guide. 
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