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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what percentage of households broken down by (a) government region and (b) constituency have doorstep collections of recyclable waste; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what percentage of household waste is recycled in the UK broken down by (a) government region and (b) constituency; which materials are most commonly and least commonly recycled within each of these areas; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The following table shows, for each Government region, the percentage of households that have some form of doorstep (kerbside) collections of recyclable waste and the percentage of household waste recycled.
|Region||Households served by kerbside||Household waste recycled|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||32||6|
The estimates in the table are based on information from the DEFRA annual survey of municipal waste management. The information is not available by constituency. The most commonly recycled material in all English regions, by all forms of household recyclable collections is paper and card, which constitutes over 60 per cent. of total recyclable materials. It is not possible to accurately quantify the least commonly recycled material.The Government have set a challenging target to increase the recycling of municipal waste to 25 per cent. of household waste by 2005. To ensure that all local authorities contribute to achieving this target, the Government have set each authority in England statutory performance standards for recycling and composting of household waste. They have also encouraged best value networks and issued guidance on joint municipal waste management strategies.
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We are helping councils deliver their statutory performance standards for recycling and composting through major extra funding from the Spending Review 2000. By 200304 revenue support will have risen by £1.1 billion over current provision; there is £220 million for PFI waste schemes over the spending review period; and there is a £140 million ring-fenced fund for waste and recycling over the next two years. £50 million of New Opportunities Fund moneys will also be available over the next two years to support community sector work on recycling in the UK.
The EC directive on packaging and packaging waste (94/62/EC) has been implemented in the UK by the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997. The directive requires that 50 per cent. of packaging waste, by weight, be recovered by 2001 half of which must be recycled, with a 15 per cent. recycling minimum per material. Much of the material to date has come from the industrial and commercial waste stream.
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings her officials have had since 1 October 2001 with European Union institutions concerning the establishment of the European Food Safety Authority; and what subjects were discussed. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has had on holding an independent public inquiry into her Department's handling of the foot and mouth crisis. 
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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 24 January 2002]: Liability in respect of any damage from GM crops, including that to organic status, is being addressed at both European and UK levels. The European Commission is developing proposals for an environmental liability regime covering a range of activities, including the release of GMOs.
In order to minimise any impact from GM crops in the Farm Scale Evaluations (FSEs) on nearby conventional or organic farms, separation distances are used to help ensure that cross-pollination does not exceed 1 per cent. In many cases it will be much lower. We are working with organic sector bodies and the biotechnology and farming industry body, SCIMAC, to ensure that this situation continues in the final year of the evaluations.
I am also considering whether domestic liability provisions for GM crops might be needed in the light of the Commission's wider proposals. The benefits of a domestic regime might include increased reassurance for the public and nearby farmers, an effective mechanism for correcting environmental damage, and ensuring that producers of GM seeds and growers of GM crops take proper account of their potential impact on non-GM production. In the meantime, an individual who feels they have suffered a loss due to the release of a GMO may be able to commence an action in the courts.
Mr. Morley: We plan to reduce the impact of coastal erosion by investing in coastal defences in the highest risk areas. However as the bulk of expenditure is ultimately met by taxpayers, both DEFRA and the coast protection authorities have a responsibility to ensure that value for money is obtained when funding works.
This Department provides grants for flood defence and coast protection capital works, and associated studies, which meet essential technical, economic and environmental criteria and achieve an appropriate priority score (based on departmental priorities, urgency and benefit:cost ratio). Further to increases in the last two Spending Reviews, additional funding of £51 million over the four years from 200001 was announced in November 2000 following the severe flooding. In all DEFRA flood and coastal defence funding is set to increase from £66 million in 200001 to £114 million in 200304. Funding for future years will be considered in the Spending Review process. Responsibility for deciding which projects to promote and their timing rests with the operating authorities. The operating authority for each area draws on its local knowledge to decide what needs to be done.
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Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost of the effects of coastal erosion in the UK in each of the last seven years. 
Mr. Morley: This Department has policy responsibility for coastal erosion in England. No estimates have been made of the cost of the effects of coastal erosion for each of the last seven years. However DEFRA commissioned research into a National Appraisal of Assets at Risk from Flooding and Coastal Erosion and the outcome was published in September 2001. This research estimated that the "do nothing" annual average damage was £84.3 million per annum but investment to date had reduced this to £16.6 million per annum.
Mrs. Shephard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many responses were received in the consultation on the future of rhizomania-protected zones which ended on 14 January; and what representations her Ministers have made to the Council of Ministers about rhizomania- protected zones. 
Mr. Morley: 459 responses were received. No representations on this issue have been made to the Council of Ministers because, when the rules for protected zones were adopted in 1993, the council gave the Standing Committee on Plant Health the powers to amend the annexes to the plant health directive which provide for protected zone status.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will reintroduce the duty under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 for local authorities to notify her Department annually of their activities to control rats and mice; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the value of the rodent control industry in (a) England and (b) Wales, with reference to (i) the manufacturing of rodenticides and (ii) the activities of servicing companies in the last five years. 
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