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More data on public sector food procurement are published on the PSFPI website at:

Fly Tipping

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many fly-tipping incidents were reported in England in 2007-08 according to the Flycapture database; what estimate he has made of the clearance costs of such incidents; and what proportion of such incidents involved the fly-tipping of household waste. [217854]

Joan Ruddock: Data for the period 2007-08 are not yet available. Local authorities were asked to submit complete annual data by the end of June 2008. We are currently quality checking the data submitted. Full data for 2007-08 will be published as soon as possible.

Food

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much was spent by his Department on (a) food and (b) food of British origin in each of the last five years; [214883]

(2) from which five countries of origin the greatest amount of food was procured by his Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the (a) cost and (b) quantity procured was in each case. [214884]

Jonathan Shaw: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost, but from information held centrally, it is estimated that the proportion of food supplied to DEFRA from UK sources since 2005 is as follows:

Percentage Value (£)

2005

65

629,244

2006

74

643,208

2007

85

606,606

2008(1)

85

250,130

(1) Six months.

I refer the hon. Member to the report published on the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative website at:


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DEFRA again proposes to publish data by the end of 2008 on the proportion of domestically produced food purchased by Departments.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to develop a comprehensive food policy; and if he will include in the policy measures to reduce (a) food waste and (b) food miles. [219035]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 15 July 2008]: As set out in the Cabinet Office’s recent report on food “Food Matters”, DEFRA, working with the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency will launch a process of engagement with stakeholders across the food chain to develop a vision for a sustainable food system. The vision will define the Government’s priorities and purpose across the food system and will consider issues such as food waste and sourcing alongside issues of nutrition and the environmental impacts of food consumption and production.

The Cabinet Office’s report also sets out how DEFRA will work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the food industry to reduce food waste both in the food supply chain and in the home.

Green Belt

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations Natural England has made to his Department on Green Belt (i) designation and (ii) protection. [219070]

Jonathan Shaw: Natural England has made no recent representations to DEFRA relating to green belt designation or protection. Natural England’s policy on housing growth (“Housing Growth and Green Infrastructure, June 2008”) sets out its views on green belt.

Housing: Low Incomes

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government on (a) increasing the availability of affordable housing in the Peak District National Park Authority area and (b) future funding for the provision of rural housing enablers; and if he will make a statement. [216567]

Jonathan Shaw: I refer the hon. Member for Macclesfield to the answer given in response to the same question that he asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 10 July 2008, Official Report, columns 1742-43W.

Insulation: Pollution

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the rate of natural leakage of ozone-depleting substances from plastic foam insulation. [219467]


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Mr. Woolas: The estimated emission rates from foam insulation in buildings and appliances have been documented by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel of the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

Although the annual emission rates vary by product type, they are typically very low. This is particularly the case from insulation foams and is because of their closed cell structure. This understanding has been substantiated by measurements made on aged refrigerators containing chlorofluorocarbons.

Joint Waste Authorities

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under what circumstances a local authority which joins a Joint Waste Authority (JWA) will be permitted to leave the JWA unilaterally. [217813]

Joan Ruddock: Joint waste authorities (JWAs) will be statutory bodies, established by Order. A local authority will not be able to leave a JWA unilaterally. JWAs can only be dissolved where all the constituent authorities agree to do so or where the Secretary of State considers it is necessary to do so. This will give them a structural stability that should appeal to the waste management industry and to potential investors.

Metals: Exports

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to reduce the amount of scrap metal exported from the UK; what discussions he has had with colleagues from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on this matter; and if he will meet representatives of industry to discuss the issue. [218169]

Joan Ruddock: Scrap metals are a valuable globally traded commodity and are exported to countries where there is demand. Many of the products we use are manufactured in Asia and it is environmentally beneficial to export our recyclables to markets where they will replace use of virgin material. Exports of waste from the UK must be in compliance with the requirements of the EC Waste Shipments Regulation which helps to ensure that strict environmental criteria are met and that exported metals are reprocessed in conditions that are considered broadly equivalent to those in force in the EU.

I am in regular contact with both colleagues from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and representatives from across industry on matters relating to the metals sector.

Microgeneration: Noise

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason the permitted noise level from domestic microgeneration equipment has been set at a level five decibels higher than that proposed in the consultation document. [219510]

Mr. Iain Wright: I have been asked to reply.


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My written statement of 13 March 2008, Official Report, columns 20-21WS, announced that secondary legislation had been laid before the House that would remove the need to apply for planning permission to install certain types of householder microgeneration. These permitted development rights now apply to solar, ground and water source heat pump, combined heat and power and biomass technologies.

The statement explained that good progress was being made in trying to resolve the issue of noise that prevented permitted development rights being extended to wind turbines and air source heat pumps at that time. It also indicated that a restriction would be imposed to ensure that habitable rooms of any neighbouring residential property are not exposed to an outside noise level exceeding 45 decibels. This figure seeks to balance the Government’s desire to encourage the take-up of microgeneration with the need to consider the potential impact on others. We have not yet concluded work on this issue and therefore permitted development rights do not currently apply to these technologies.

Nappies: Waste Disposal

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 Environment Agency's research report, WR0705-Updated Lifecycle Study on Reusable and Disposable Nappies. [218882]

Joan Ruddock: The Lifecycle study on re-useable and disposable nappies is due to be published in August. We will launch the publication and arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.

Noise

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to publish a noise strategy for England. [219509]

Jonathan Shaw: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) on 1 July 2008, Official Report, columns 777-78W.

Noise: Pollution

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what remedies are available to people disturbed by persistent amplified noise in public places made (a) in the cause of political protest and (b) for other reasons; and if he will make a statement; [219034]

(2) what his policy is on the prevention of disturbance to others by people persistently making amplified noise in public places without the permission of the relevant local authorities; and if he will make a statement. [219033]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 15 July 2008]: Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, provides that noise, other than traffic noise, emitted from vehicles, machinery or equipment in a street can be a statutory nuisance, if it does, has or is likely to interfere with the quiet enjoyment of a person’s land or is prejudicial to
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their health. Local authorities have a duty to investigate complaints about statutory nuisances, and may serve abatement notices. Failure to comply with an abatement notice can be a criminal offence.

These provisions do not however apply to political demonstrations or a demonstration supporting or opposing a cause or campaign.

Section 62 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 bans the use of a loud speaker in a street at night (i.e. between 9 pm and 8 am), and restricts the use of loudspeakers for advertising at any time subject to limited exemptions.

Section 137 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 bans the use of loudspeakers in the area around Parliament at any time and for any purpose (subject to a number of exceptions—including where consent of local authority has been granted). The Government have however announced their intention to repeal these provisions.

There are in addition byelaws which govern the use of amplification equipment in certain areas such as Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square Garden. There may be similar local byelaws in other parts of the country.

Pandas

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many giant pandas have been presented by the Government of China to the UK Government since 1979; and if he will make a statement. [218257]

Joan Ruddock: Animal health records show there has been one giant panda entering the UK from China since 1979. Ming Ming arrived in 1991 on a breeding loan to London Zoo and was subsequently returned in 1994.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to encourage the breeding of giant pandas in English zoos; and if he will make a statement. [218258]

Joan Ruddock: The Government have neither encouraged nor discouraged the breeding of giant pandas in English zoos. Keeping giant pandas is a matter for individual zoos, and would be subject to strict legislative provisions including the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 (as amended), the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations (governing the import and export of endangered species). We are not aware that there are any giant pandas in English zoos at present.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of China on its export of giant pandas; and if he will make a statement. [218259]

Joan Ruddock: There have been no recent discussions between my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment and China over the export of giant pandas. The UK Government are committed to working with other countries to promote the conservation of the world's wildlife, such as the giant panda, through our membership of agreements such as the Convention on
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International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Any export of pandas from China would need to comply with CITES' provisions.

Pigs: Animal Welfare

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will meet representatives of the British pig industry to discuss the animal welfare standards adhered to by pig breeders. [217556]

Jonathan Shaw: When the rules regarding pig welfare requirements were last revised in 2003, DEFRA conducted a full public consultation and officials met with pig industry representatives.

If representatives of the British pig industry would like to write to me outlining their concerns on this important issue, I will be happy to respond and equally to consider any request for a meeting.

Ports: Security

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent meetings he has had with officials and Ministers from the French Government on blockades at ports and port security. [218085]

Jonathan Shaw: I have not held direct talks with either French officials or Ministers on recent blockades. However, the UK Government have been in close contact with national and local authorities in Spain and France, and affected UK nationals. Working through our embassy in Paris, we have expressed strong concerns to the French authorities about the difficulties caused to the UK, in particular the fishing industry, by this action. In addition the European Commission has been formally notified of the disruption under the free movement of goods regulation. I also raised this as an important issue at last month's Fisheries Council, and called on support from all member states to ensure that the trade of fish and fisheries products can continue without hindrance.

I have also been in close contact with my colleagues in the devolved Administrations to ensure that the concerns of the whole UK fishing industry are understood and raised with the French Government.

Recycling

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average rejection rate of recycled materials at material recycling facilities was in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many tonnes of material sent for recycling were disposed of in a non-recycled manner in the latest year for which figures are available. [218900]

Joan Ruddock: Based on local authority responses to WasteDataFlow during 2006-07, the average reject rate reported by local authorities in England for collected municipal recyclate waste being sent to a material recycling facility was 7 per cent. With regard to material sent for recycling, but disposed of in a non-recycled manner, tonnages are not available as local authorities only have
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a duty to report recycling rejects up to the gate of the reprocessor, at which point it is deemed to be sent for recycling.


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