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Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to introduce tougher controls on emissions from existing municipal incinerators; and if she will make a statement. [7751]

Mr. Meacher: The recently adopted Waste Incineration Directive 2000/76/EC sets minimum standards for a variety of plants that burn waste, including municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWIs). The UK Government are committed to transposing the EU Waste Incineration Directive, into UK law by 28 December 2002. Its provisions will apply to all new incinerators by this date, and to existing plant by 28 December 2005. This directive tightens dioxin limits to 0.1 ng/m 3 (0.1 billionth of a gram). This standard will be the maximum amount of dioxin permitted to be emitted from MSWIs.

There is no dioxin limit in the Municipal Waste Incineration Directives (89/429/EEC and 89/369/EEC). In 1996 the Environment Agency chose to implement a 1.0 ng/m 3 emission limit as achievable using the best available technique not entailing excessive cost (BATNEEC). In 2000 the Agency took a similar decision on BATNEEC and MSWIs were required to either (i) reduce dioxin limits to 0.1 ng/m 3 (that is 10 times lower than the earlier limit); or (ii) on plant which could immediately achieve that level, to report on how they would achieve it. As a result, we estimate that dioxin emissions from incinerators in the UK have fallen several hundred-fold.

The Environment Agency intends to review the performance of existing MSWIs before the Waste Incineration Directive applies.


Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the total number of sheep in the national flock possessing the genotype susceptible to scrapie. [11213]

Mr. Morley: There is currently only very limited information available on the distribution in the national flock of the 15 known genotypes that determine levels of susceptibility and resistance to scrapie. It is not therefore possible at this stage to produce reliable estimates. However, the limited data available suggest that about one

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quarter of the breeding ram population may be resistant to scrapie, and about two thirds of the slaughter population may be at least semi-resistant. There will be significant variation between different sheep breeds. It should be possible to produce more reliable estimates as an increasing number of breeding sheep come to be genotyped under the national scrapie plan.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures her Department is implementing to eradicate scrapie from the national sheep flock; and if she will list the number of livestock culled by county in each year since May 1997. [11212]

Mr. Morley: The Government launched a national scrapie plan for Great Britain in July. This will breed resistance to scrapie into the national flock.

The plan has initially been targeted at producers of purebred, pedigree breeding sheep registered with a recognised breed society. We are currently consulting about rapid extension of the plan to the remainder of the pure breeding flock, including special action for scrapie-infected flocks. We are considering other ways of speeding up implementation of the plan and on 31 October we published a Bill that would allow the Government to take powers to remove from the breeding flock, on a compulsory basis, sheep with genotypes that make them susceptible to scrapie.

We are also consulting on ways to encourage the reporting of scrapie when it occurs, and next year we will be undertaking a survey to gain more knowledge of the incidence of scrapie, using rapid testing methods.

The figures for the number of confirmed scrapie cases by county in each year since May 1997 are presented in the table provided.

Cases of scrapie confirmed in sheep, by county, since May 1997

Leicestershire and Rutland371751
Lincolnshire excluding North21100
Cleveland and Darlington3232280
East Sussex03401
Isle of Wight85122
West Sussex24421
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly26132316
Gloucestershire excluding South03330
Northern Somerset and South Gloucestershire10020
Somerset excluding North2238121
East Riding and Northern Lincoln02110
North Yorkshire1520364612
South Yorkshire03100
West Yorkshire11100
Clyde Valley10000
Dunfries and Galloway28020
North East Scotland11352
Scottish borders00740
North East Wales1116335111
North West Wales1626132
South Wales31010

(24) May to December

(25) January to September


Confirmation is by pathological tests (normally at least two types)

Figures for 2001 exclude pending cases awaiting a test result, and will be lower for the same period in the previous year because of the foot and mouth outbreak

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Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department has taken to establish a scheme for the valuation of sheep flocks and the payment of compensation for livestock to be destroyed under her proposed special measures for the elimination of scrapie from the national flock. [11214]

Mr. Morley: The Animal Health Bill was published on 31 October and includes an enabling power allowing Ministers to pay compensation for losses or costs incurred as a result of the provisions relating to scrapie in the Bill. If the scrapie provisions were activated, a decision would need to be taken at the time on whether compensation was appropriate. If a decision to pay compensation were taken, the details would be set out in supplementary regulations.


Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the potential for recovery in the beef export market; and if she will calculate the percentage take-up of British beef exports in individual (a) European Union countries and (b) countries outside the European Union. [11418]

Mr. Morley: It is not possible to make a realistic assessment because recovery of our beef exports to EU and other countries depends on many factors including the number of plants which seek approval to export under

2 Nov 2001 : Column: 921W

the Date-Based Export Scheme (DBES); the conditions of DBES; the results of our testing programme, access to markets in France and other countries which currently ban British beef; consumer confidence in target countries and currency values. The Government will continue to work closely with the industry and others to facilitate exports as far as possible.

British Waterways

Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers she has to remove the (a) Chief Executive and (b) Chair of the British Waterways Board from their positions. [11458]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 30 October 2001]: The Chairman of the British Waterways Board is appointed by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, after consultation with Scottish Ministers under section 1 of the Transport Act 1962. The appointment is subject to standard terms and conditions allowing the Secretary of State by written notice to terminate the appointment. The Chief Executive of the British Waterways Board is appointed by, and is responsible to, the Board.

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