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Renewables

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role her Department intends to play in increasing the percentage of energy supplied from renewables in the United Kingdom by (a) 2010 and (b) 2040; and if she will make a statement. [3998]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 13 July 2001]: The Department works closely with the Department of Trade and Industry on delivering renewable energy generation objectives. The Government have set a target of 10 per cent. renewables electricity by 2010, subject to the cost being acceptable to the consumer. DEFRA promotes renewables through a variety of initiatives, including the Energy Crops Scheme to provide establishment grants for growers of energy crops and the Community Renewables initiative that will build community-based partnerships to develop renewable energy in their localities.

Longer-term policy will be considered in the light of the current Performance and Innovation Unit review. This will set out the objectives of energy policy and develop a strategy to ensure current policy commitments are consistent with longer-term goals. Targets for future decades will need to be developed in the light of this analysis.

Recycling

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the extent of availability of doorstep recycling and participation in such recycling; what timetable she has for introducing doorstep recycling to all households; and if she will make a statement. [3990]

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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 13 July 2001]: Results from the 1999–2000 Municipal Waste Management survey indicate that the proportion of households served by kerbside or doorstep collection schemes remained unchanged since 1998–99 at 43 per cent. However, the amount of waste collected for recycling through such schemes has increased by 18 per cent. since 1998–99 to 756,000 tonnes in 1999–2000.

The choice of waste facilities is a matter for local authorities to take in consultation with their local communities. The Government do not require authorities to introduce kerbside recycling, although it is expected that the setting of statutory targets for recycling is likely to lead to an increase in the availability of kerbside recycling.

Targets in the national waste strategy "Waste Strategy 2000" are based on the assumption that by 2020 up to 80 per cent. of households nationally can realistically be served by kerbside collections, and that 80 per cent. of households provided with the service will actually use it.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much household recycling was done in Great Britain in the last 12 months; what targets her Department has set for recycling of household waste by (a) 2005, (b) 2010 and (c) 2015; and if she will make a statement. [3999]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 13 July 2001]: In 1999–2000, the latest year for which data are available, 10.3 per cent. of household waste in England and Wales was recycled or composted. One of the key objectives in the Government's Waste Strategy, set out in "Waste Strategy 2000", is that where the creation of waste cannot be avoided, recycling and reuse should be maximised. The Government have set targets for England and Wales, for at least 25 per cent. of household waste to be recycled or composted by 2005, 30 per cent. by 2010 and 33 per cent. by 2015. These targets are not "ceilings" but realistic minima that will be revised upwards if experience indicates that higher levels are achievable. The National Assembly for Wales is currently consulting on revised targets for composting and recycling as part of a review of the waste strategy for Wales. Recycling in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive.

Pitsea Tip

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what investigations have been carried out regarding the deposit of poisonous or toxic waste at Pitsea tip; if he will list the agencies concerned; and when reports of these investigations will be available; [3890]

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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 13 July 2001]: I am advised that the waste management licence for the Pitsea landfill site authorises the disposal of both non-hazardous and hazardous waste—defined in our national legislation as "special waste". The Environment Agency has a legal duty to supervise and inspect all licensed sites. No investigation or inquiry separate from the fulfilment of this duty has been carried by the Agency in relation to the Pitsea landfill site.

The Environment Agency is required by section 64 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to maintain a public register of licences. The information which the Agency is required to keep on the public register is set out in section 64 of the 1990 Act and regulation 10 of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. It includes (a) the licence for each site; (b) reports produced by the Agency in the discharge of its functions under section 42 of the 1990 Act; and (c) any monitoring information relating to the carrying on of any activity under the licence. The consignment and disposal of special waste is also subject to the requirements of the Special Waste Regulations 1996.

The Environment Agency is carrying out a thorough investigation into the destinations of ash from municipal waste incinerators and a report will be published by the Agency on completion of its investigation. The Agency has no evidence that ash accepted at the Pitsea landfill site was subsequently consigned from the site for use elsewhere. However, the Agency will address this possibility in the context of its current investigation.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what action will be taken to clean up Pitsea tip and make the environment safer for residents of Castle Point; and if she will make a statement; [3886]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 13 July 2001]: Landfill sites operate under the terms of waste management licences and are subject to the controls set out in Part II of the Environment Protection Act 1990 and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. The purpose of licences is to ensure that waste is disposed of in ways which protect the environment and human health. Failure to comply with a licence condition, or the disposal of waste in a manner likely to cause environmental pollution or harm to human health, is a criminal offence.

The Environment Agency has a legal duty to inspect all licensed sites and section 42 of the 1990 Act requires the Agency to take the steps needed to ensure that (a) the activities authorised by a licence do not cause environmental pollution, harm to human health or serious detriment to local amenities; and (b) the conditions of a licence are complied with.

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It is the responsibility of the Environment Agency to assess whether any steps are needed to ensure compliance with these provisions; I am advised by the Environment Agency that the Pitsea landfill site is currently being operated within the terms of its licence; and that the Agency has no plans to take enforcement action under Part II of the 1990 Act either in relation to the disposal of waste, including poisonous waste, at the site or the implications of its disposal outside the site's boundaries (i.e. within any radius of the site).

The Environment Agency will continue to inspect and supervise the site under section 42 of the 1990 Act and will take any steps necessary to ensure that the licence conditions are fulfilled and that waste, including poisonous waste, is not disposed of in ways which cause environmental pollution or harm to the health of any communities living within any radius of the site.

Fishing

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the level of (a) black fish landed and (b) discards of over quota or otherwise unlandable fish for each (i) fishing area, (ii) sector and (iii) species in each of the last five years. [4359]

Mr. Morley: None. However, account is taken of undeclared landings and all forms of discards by scientists in the assessment of some fish stocks.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many fishing vessels were registered on 1 January. [4361]

Mr. Morley: There were 7,242 British fishing vessels registered in the UK by the Registry of Shipping and Seaman at 1 January 2001. In addition the authorities in the States of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man registered a further 578 British fishing vessels on that date.


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