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Rural Enterprise Scheme

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the annual administration costs of the Rural Enterprise Scheme are. [30647]

Margaret Beckett: The Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES) is one of the new grant schemes in the England Rural Development Programme which was launched in October 2000. It is delivered on a regional basis by DEFRA's Rural Development Service (RDS). Expenditure on the development and administration of the scheme in 2001–02 was forecast to be around £2 million. The final outturn figure is likely to be lower because a significant number of RDS staff were diverted temporarily on to foot and mouth disease work.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many bids have been received by the Rural Enterprise Scheme since it began; what (a) the aggregate value of bids, (b) the number of successful bids and (c) their aggregate value was; and if she will make a statement. [30648]

Margaret Beckett: Between October 2000, when the Rural Enterprise Scheme was launched, and the end of December 2001, 867 applications were received. The aggregate value of applications (ie grant sought) is some £54 million. Of the total number of applications received, 207 applications have been successful, with an aggregate value of £5.6 million in grant. A further 346 applications are currently being processed.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 25 January 2002, Official Report, column 1171W, on zoos, how many zoos failed to meet required standards in (a) health and safety and (b) animal welfare requirements in each year since 1990 for which figures are available. [31967]

Mr. Morley: The information is not held centrally. The administration of both the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 falls to local authorities, and there is no requirement for them to report this information to central Government.

Environmental Appraisal

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many officials from her Department have attended the environmental appraisal and integration into policy training course run by the civil service college; [28993]

31 Jan 2002 : Column 465W

Margaret Beckett: As my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment indicated in his answer to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on 21 January 2002, Official Report, column 610W, my Department has published two free-standing environmental appraisals since its creation in June 2001. These are: an economic analysis to inform the review of the Air Quality Strategy Objectives for particles, September 2001, and the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, August 2001.

The need to show any significant costs and benefits to the environment of all major policy proposals is a Cabinet Committee requirement. To this end, my Department is responsible for the cross-Government guidance, "Policy Appraisal and the Environment", which gives advice to Departments on how and when to carry out environmental appraisal. This guidance is incorporated in the Policy Makers' Checklist published by the Cabinet Office to improve policy making within government and I would expect the requirements of environmental appraisal to have been met, as appropriate, by the time major policy proposals are put to me, or other DEFRA Ministers, for decision.

No officials from my Department attended the one environmental appraisal and integration into policy training course which the college has held since June 2001—although my officials regularly provide advice and speakers to the college for the course.

All the proposals that will make up the Department's Spending Review submission to the Treasury are being considered against the 15 headline indicators of sustainable development. Those proposals that are likely to have a significant impact in terms of sustainable development are being subjected to an integrated policy appraisal.

Water Services

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many invoices for the provision of water services have not been paid for over one year; what their total value is; what the same figures were in each of the last four years; and if she will make a statement. [30116]

Margaret Beckett: The Office of Water Services have centrally gathered data on debt from water and sewerage companies only in respect of the years since 1998–99, and only for households. The number of households in England and Wales who had debt outstanding for over a year and the total value of that debt was as follows:

Number of households with debt outstanding for more than one year1,308,1761,409,4971,581,620
Household debts outstanding for more than one year(3)289(3)326(3)362

(3) £ million


2000–01 prices: excluding debt outstanding for more than 48 months

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Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what studies her Department has completed on the impact of cross-subsidy in the water industry; and what future studies are planned; [31510]

Mr. Meacher: Following my announcement to the House on 30 March 2001, Official Report, column 831W, the Department has been examining in further detail the scope for extending competition in the water industry. This work includes careful consideration of the implications for all customers, including those in rural areas and on low incomes, and the possible effects on existing cross subsidies. DEFRA will be publishing a consultation paper, setting out the issues and proposals later this year.

Nuclear Waste

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will list the (a) quantities, (b) radioactive components and (c) location of intermediate and high level waste in the UK in the last 12 months; [25887]

Mr. Meacher: By the end of the century there will be half a million tonnes of radioactive waste. Some of it will be potentially dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. Deciding the best way to manage it is one of the greatest environmental challenges we have ever faced. The Government and the devolved Administrations published the consultation paper "Managing radioactive waste safely" on 12 September. We propose a programme of national debate and research, leading to scientifically sound decisions on the long-term management of radioactive waste which inspire public confidence across the UK. In the meantime radioactive waste is safely stored, and rigorously controlled by regulators including the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

I gave further details of our policy in oral evidence to the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs inquiry into radioactive waste management at its hearing on 17 December. The consultation closes on 12 March and we hope that people all over the UK will let us have their views.

Information on the quantity, radioactive components and location of high, intermediate and low level radioactive waste in the UK is published in the "United Kingdom radioactive waste inventory". A copy of the most recent inventory, for 1998, was placed in the Library of the House and I have sent a copy on CD to the hon. Member. The latest inventory, for 2001, is being completed by Electrowatt-Ekono (UK) under contract to my Department and to UK Nirex Ltd., and will be published later this year. I shall place a copy in the Library.

31 Jan 2002 : Column 467W

Data have not been collected in such a way as to give the quantities of intermediate and high level waste produced in the last 12 months. However, the 1998 inventory gives the total likely arising of the wastes (when expressed in conditioned form) over the 10-year period 2000–09 as 30,815 and 799 cubic metres respectively. Assuming a uniform rate of arising, then the arisings of high and intermediate level waste in the last 12 months would have been about 3,100 and 80 cubic metres respectively. Intermediate level waste is produced at locations too numerous to list; they are predominantly nuclear licensed sites but also include many hospitals and small users of radioactive sources. High level waste is only produced at Sellafield.

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