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13 Oct 2008 : Column 928W—continued

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding he has made available to assist farmers to comply with nitrate vulnerable zones. [224649]

Jane Kennedy: There are a number of potential existing sources of financial support available to farmers which could help with implementation of the revised Action Programme for nitrate vulnerable zones. For example, the England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative is providing grants for farmers with land in a priority catchment for a range of capital items including roofs for slurry stores and improving yard drainage (clean and foul water separation). There have been two rounds of applications for these grants since April 2007. Subject to funding being available we expect there will be further rounds.

Funding is also available for a range of activities under the Rural Development Programme for England 2007-13. The socio-economic elements of this programme are the responsibility of the regional development agencies (RDAs). Individual regional implementation plans set out objectives and priorities for these socio-economic elements and may include support to help farmers meet the requirements of the Nitrates Action Programme.

As part of this funding we have also asked RDAs to use voluntary modulation receipts, amounting to £98 million at current exchange rates over the lifetime of the programme, specifically to address priorities in the livestock industry including providing support for farmers in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of on-farm management of nutrients.


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Furthermore, slurry storage facilities are eligible for plant and machinery allowances such as the new annual investment allowance, capped at £50,000 per year, included in this year’s Finance Bill. Slurry pits also qualify for allowances in their own right under the Capital Allowances Act 2001.

Office of Climate Change

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what work the Office of Climate Change has undertaken; and what further work is planned. [222405]

Joan Ruddock: I have been asked to reply.

The Office of Climate Change has undertaken work in the following areas:

Currently the Office of Climate Change is working in the following areas:

Further information about its work can be found on its website.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 26 July 2007, Official Report, column 1528W, on the Office of Climate Change, what progress the Office has made in (a) developing policy options for reducing emissions from heating and cooling of buildings, (b) its assessment of the UK’s institutional arrangements and their ability to support domestic climate change goals and (c) its assessment of the global carbon finance flows required to support developing countries in moving towards low carbon economies. [222518]

Joan Ruddock: I have been asked to reply.

(a) The heating and cooling project looked at how carbon emissions can be reduced from heating and cooling across industrial, commercial and domestic sectors. Following this, the Department for Business, Energy and Regulatory Reform, along with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities and Local Government, undertook a call for evidence from January 2008 to 31 March 2008 and analysis of the findings are now underway.

(b) The Office of Climate Change has established strengthened capacity for supporting the programme management across government of both domestic and international climate change goals.


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(c) The Office of Climate Change has made good progress with its model of global carbon finance flows. Some results were presented at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP 13 in Bali at a UK side event and the material can be found on the office’s website.

Plastic Bags: Voluntary Work

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, of 22 August, transferred from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (reference: CMS 101711), on charity shops re-using carrier bags. [225990]

Jane Kennedy: Policy officials have looked into the matter raised in this letter. A response is now being drafted and will be issued shortly.

Primates: Pets

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many pet primates have been recorded in the UK through licences issued under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 since 2000. [225077]

Huw Irranca-Davies: This information is not held centrally. The administration and enforcement of the licensing regime under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 is the responsibility of local authorities.

Recycling: South West

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes there have been to the levels of household recycling in (a) Devon, (b) Plymouth and (c) Torbay since 1997. [225372]

Jane Kennedy: The following table shows the percentage of household waste that was sent for recycling or composting by Devon county council, Plymouth city council and Torbay council since 1997.

These figures were reported to the Audit Commission by local authorities under the Best Value Performance regime. There have been some changes in the definitions of the waste indicators over time which affect the comparability of data, particularly prior to 2001.


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Devon county council Plymouth city council Torbay council

1997-98

17.00

(1)

(1)

1998-99

20.20

11.90

15.82

1999-2000

31.00

15.00

21.00

2000-01

19.79

21.17

(1)

2001-02

20.52

12.00

20.84

2002-03

22.18

13.65

20.11

2003-04

26.70

15.36

20.69

2004-05

32.70

16.09

21.93

2005-06

40.59

22.41

25.62

2006-07

45.80

26.86

26.06

2007-08(2)

47.06

31.18

28.08

(1 )No data available.
(2) Figures for 2007-08 are provisional and subject to audit.
Note:
From 2006-07 BVPIs have been reported via WasteDataFlow

Recycling: Waste Management

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage businesses to divert waste from landfill to recycling. [225011]

Jane Kennedy: The Government’s Waste Strategy Annual Progress Report, published on 10 July 2008, presents an overview of progress made in the last year on the actions set out in the Waste Strategy for England 2007. The report shows how the Government are taking forward actions to reduce waste, including encouraging businesses to divert waste from landfill to recycling. Furthermore, since the Waste Strategy was published, we have been engaging with key waste stakeholders on priorities for commercial and industrial waste reduction. We aim to publish a further statement of our strategic aims in this area in the new year.

The Waste Strategy announced an increase in the landfill tax escalator to provide greater incentives to business to reduce, re-use and recycle waste. The scheduled £8 per tonne landfill tax escalator came into effect from April 2008.

In order to help businesses reduce waste and disposal and other costs, the Government are funding a range of business support. The aim is to change behaviours amongst businesses by raising awareness and understanding of the value and importance of recycling and waste prevention, and to develop solutions. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) and other delivery bodies aim to achieve significant amounts of business waste recycling and reduction. For example in 2008-09, NISP is looking to help divert 750 kilotons of waste from landfill, in addition to a number of other important environmental and business benefits.

The Government are simplifying the regulatory system through waste protocols to clarify when waste ceases to be waste, and so is no longer subject to regulation. As a result, businesses are increasingly able to recycle materials that would previously have been sent to landfill. Early indications suggest that over the next 10 years, Waste Protocols could encourage the recovery and reuse of 17 million tonnes of materials, potentially adding close to £700 million to the economy and reducing CO2 emissions by 1.5 million tonnes.

Additionally, the London Waste and Recycling Board is a new statutory Board which has been set up to bring together the Mayor, the boroughs and others involved in managing the capital's waste, with the key aims of boosting London’s recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill. The board is funded by £60 million from DEFRA (for three years) and £24 million from the LDA (for four years). The
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board is chaired by Boris Johnson and he has reiterated how he wants London’s recycling rates, both in the business and domestic sector, to increase dramatically.

Finally, the Waste Strategy set out the vital role of local government and regional bodies in providing advice and services to businesses and developing partnership working. The Government are supporting the development of this wider role by funding pilot initiatives by local authorities and supporting the provision and dissemination of guidance and best practice. Furthermore, the Government are encouraging local authorities to consider non-municipal waste when planning facilities for municipal waste.

River Lymington: Ferries

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what measures he is taking to ensure that regulators involved in determining Wightlink's application for shore works on the Lymington River co-ordinate their separate responsibilities to ensure full compliance with the EU Habitats Directive is achieved; and if he will make a statement; [225981]

(2) when he plans to respond to the letters of (a) 5 September and (b) 19 September from the hon. Member for New Forest West on the future of the Lymington River; [225982]

(3) what assessment he has made of the request by New Forest District Council that the application by Wightlink for shore works in the Lymington River be the subject of a full environmental impact assessment; and if he will make a statement. [226574]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The Marine and Fisheries Agency is responsible for determining the application for shore works on the Lymington river under the Food and Environment Protection Act. However, its focus is the deposition of materials in the sea. The delays in determining the decision are as a result of ongoing discussions over the environmental impacts of the ferry operations. There are many regulators involved in this wider project, including Lymington Harbour Commissioners, New Forest district council, Natural England and the Environment Agency. DEFRA is one of the parties involved in the process of establishing who is responsible for regulating the ferry operations in this area, and is aware that a number of related environmental issues need to be considered, potentially with an environmental impact assessment. The Government office south-east will also be expected to play an independent role in resolving the situation.

The Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs plans to respond to previous letters sent in September as soon as possible.

Rural Payments Agency

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions legal proceedings resulting in a court hearing have been initiated against the Rural Payments Agency since the Agency's establishment; and if he will make a statement. [225008]


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Jane Kennedy: There have been eight cases brought against the Rural Payments Agency resulting in a court decision, of which three were judicial review claims and five were civil claims.

Sewers

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timescale is for the transfer of all private sewers and lateral drains that drain to the public sewer to the ownership and responsibility of water and sewerage companies; and if he will make a statement. [225317]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend (Mr. Woolas) on 10 September 2008, Official Report, column 1942W.

Sewers: Lancashire

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with United Utilities on sewage works in Fleetwood and Wyre. [224650]

Jane Kennedy: None.


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