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Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the methodology of the work conducted by M. Cremieux in Canada on the economic impact of the introduction of controls on smoking in workplaces. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the process for claiming rate relief for those businesses affected by foot and mouth disease. 
Mr. Meacher: Businesses should direct applications for hardship relief to their local authority who have discretionary powers to grant rate relief of up to 100 per cent. to any ratepayer who is suffering hardship, for whatever reason, provided it is in the interest of the wider local community to do so. We have extended the central Government contribution to the cost of this relief from 75 per cent. to 95 per cent. in cases where the business is seriously affected by foot and mouth disease, is located in one of the 151 eligible rural districts and has a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what advice he is giving to local authorities on how they should approach (a) businesses that apply for rateable value revaluations and (b) businesses that apply for hardship relief in relation to foot and mouth disease. 
Local authorities have discretionary powers to grant rate relief of up to 100 per cent. to any ratepayer who is suffering hardship, for whatever reason, provided it is in the interest of the wider local community to do so. We have extended the central Government contribution to the cost of this relief from 75 per cent. to 95 per cent. in cases where the business is seriously affected by foot and mouth disease, is located in one of the 151 eligible rural districts and has a rateable value of £12,000 or less. Full details of the arrangements for providing this relief were set out in Special Grant Report No. 80, which was approved by Parliament on 2 April 2001.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) for what reason liquid animal waste from animal carcases was dumped in the Irish sea in the period 1 February to 30 April as a result of the foot and mouth disease outbreak; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what action he is taking to prevent the further dumping of liquid waste from animal carcases into the Irish sea; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Meacher: The waste effluent in question has arisen from two sources, the Great Orton mass burial site in Cumbria and the Birkshaw mass burial site, near Lockerbie in Dumfriesshire. The waste effluent consists of the natural breakdown products which occur as the carcases decompose, primarily blood, fats, grease etc.
Both the mass disposal sites in question are operated on the "containment principle". As a result, it is an essential part of the site operation that effluents are removed from the disposal cells in order to prevent pollution of local surface and groundwaters, and to be treated at appropriate facilities.
In the case of the Great Orton waste effluent, it is removed from the disposal cells and is then treated on site by means of ph adjustment to ensure that no active foot and mouth virus remains before being sent to Workington Wastewater Treatment Works (WTW). Like abattoir waste, this effluent is a readily biodegradable material and as such ideal for treatment at the WTW facilities. On discharge to the WTW it receives a dilution equivalent to 1 in 400 with the sewage already at the works for treatment. At the point of the consented discharge from the WTW to the Irish Sea, via a long sea outfall, it is estimated that a further dilution rate of 1 in 10,000 occurs and a dilution rate of 1 in 100,000 upon reaching the
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coastline. At this point that would equate to a total dilution rate of 1 in 40 million. This represents zero impact on human health.
The Environment Agency has made it clear to both MAFF, who operate the Great Orton site, and to United Utilities, who operate the Workington WTW, that the use of this works as a means of effluent disposal could only be considered as a short-term disposal option. In the medium to long term more sophisticated and robust treatment facilities must be developed on the Great Orton site in order to pre-treat the effluents and reduce their biological strength before they leave the site. This combined with the natural reduction in effluent strength as the rate of decomposition slows in the site will greatly increase the available range of off-site treatment options as an alternative to discharging to the Irish Sea.
Effluent from the Birkshaw mass burial site in Dumfriesshire is removed from the site for the same reasons as at Great Orton. It is also subject to the same virus control measures which ensures that no active virus leaves the site. In this case the effluent is taken to a licensed waste management facility near Workington, operated by ALCO Waste Management Ltd. The site is licensed to receive such wastes under the terms of its waste management licence conditions. The effluent is deposited into the landfill site where the natural biological processes taking place within the site begin the treatment of the effluent. All effluents from the site are then subject to further treatment, in the site's purpose built effluent treatment facility, before being discharged to foul sewer under and in accordance with the terms of a trade effluent consent issued by United Utilities.
The Environment Agency has undertaken monitoring of the effluents, sampling at the marine outfalls, carried out coastal surveys and arranged for aerial photographs to be taken of the discharges. To date, no environmental impact has been observed but the position will be kept under observation.
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Department into the track and environmental costs of cars and light duty vehicles; and when he will publish the full report. 
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if the review of the Central Railway proposal which he has requested from the SRA will include an appraisal of the financial viability of the project. 
Mr. Hill: It is for local authorities to decide how to deliver their local casualty reduction targets. However, well resourced road safety units can provide an important focus to this work, helping to ensure that targets are achieved. It is vital that local authorities keep to their targets to ensure delivery of the national targets to be achieved by 2010.
Herefordshire council's Local Transport Plan includes some safety improvements in Bromyard. The council is also in the early stages of considering the need for a bypass for Pembridge. If they conclude there is a need they will be able to bid for funds in their next Local Transport Plan submission.
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