Previous Section Index Home Page

Threshold Transfers

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of difficulties experienced by schools in going from Threshold 1 to Threshold 2; and if she will make a statement. [33055]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 4 February 2002]: Crossing the performance threshold promotes a teacher to point 1 of the upper pay scale. Further progress is by discretionary performance points recommended by heads and awarded by governing bodies. Teachers on point 1 since September 2000 will first become eligible for a performance point from September 2002. To make best use of these points, heads and governors will need to distinguish the most effective teachers from those who are doing a satisfactory job. I recognise that these decisions will sometimes be difficult, but I believe that heads and governors are fully capable of making them.


Nuclear Waste

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to announce the final disposal arrangements and plans for intermediate and high level nuclear waste; and what is the (a) quantity and (b) location of present (i) intermediate and (ii) high level waste in store. [29698]

Mr. Meacher: I refer my hon. Friend to my answers of 31 January 2002, Official Report, columns 470–71W. The Government and the devolved Administrations on 12 September launched a national debate in our consultation paper "Managing Radioactive Waste Safely". A copy of the paper is in the Library. Disposal is one of the several waste management options that, the paper proposes, we need to review. The consultation period closes on 12 March and we would welcome comments from all over the UK.

Radioactive Waste

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she set up the Radioactive Waste Management Information Needs Research Project; what arrangements are in place for its co-ordination; what resources have been made available, covering what time period, for the research project; who has been appointed to the Steering Committee of the Research Project; and what criteria were used in making the appointments. [19883]

Mr. Meacher: I announced on 12 September that the Government had commissioned Wilkinson Environmental Consulting to carry out a review of information needs in relation to options for managing radioactive waste. This will help to inform the national debate and research programme which we propose in our 12 September consultation paper "Managing Radioactive Waste Safely". A Steering Group has been established to assist the Department in the management of the project and consists of the following people:

5 Feb 2002 : Column 889W

Richard Wood (Chair)DEFRA Radioactive Substances Division
Peter BarlowBritish Nuclear Fuels Ltd.
Professor Geoffrey BoltonRoyal Society
Martin CourtisRadioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee
Fred DawsonMinistry of Defence
David GlazbrookNuclear Installations Inspectorate, Health and Safety Executive
Elizabeth GrayScottish Executive Environment and Radioactive Substances Division
Cllr. John HenneyCopeland borough council
Stewart KempNuclear Free Local Authorities
Ken LedgerwoodDepartment of the Environment, Northern Ireland
Peter McKayBritish Energy
Gordon McKerronSocial Policy Research Unit, Sussex University
Mike SquibbsDepartment of Trade and Industry
Harvard ProsserNational Assembly for Wales
Jonathan Selwyn United Kingdom Centre for Economic and Environmental Development
Julie TooleyScottish Environment Protection Agency
Rachel WesternFriends of the Earth
Clive WilliamsEnvironment Agency

The members of the group were chosen in order to bring together a wide range of expertise in relation to radioactive waste management, including waste producers, non- government organisations, regulators, scientists and academics, and officials from Government Departments and from the devolved Administrations. Membership of the group will be kept under review.

The membership, terms of reference, and minutes of meetings of the Steering Group are published on the Department's website at

The contract was let to Wilkinson Environmental Consulting on 28 July 2000 following competitive tender. The contract provides for a final report to be handed over at the end of May 2002 then provides for further work up to the end of November 2002. The estimated cost of the project is £146,441 excluding VAT. Further details of the project are on the website.


Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what basis she calculates how many hours of inspectors' time is appropriate for landfill sites, with particular reference to the amount of material dumped per week. [25379]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 9 January 2002]: Under the waste framework directive, waste operations are subject to appropriate periodic inspections by the Environment Agency. In carrying out inspections at licensed sites, including landfill sites, the agency must have a regard to the guidance provided in Waste Management Paper No. 4, which provides a system of risk-based inspections, known as the Operator Pollution Risk Appraisal (OPRA). OPRA takes into account the performance of the operator and the environmental risks of the waste operation in determining how often a site is inspected, with a minimum inspection frequency of one every three months. The environmental risks include the type of waste operation and the amounts of waste involved.

The period of time of each inspection will vary and will depend on a number of factors, including the nature and size of the landfill, the terms and conditions of the licence, and any issues arising during the inspection.

5 Feb 2002 : Column 890W

The agency has issued guidance on an appropriate inspection methodology for use by their inspectors and is available at commondata/105385/methodology.pdf.

Fisheries Policy

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she next intends to meet the Fishermen's Association Ltd. to discuss their concerns on proposed changes in the enforcement of fisheries policy; and if she will make a statement. [28649]

Mr. Morley: The enforcement of fisheries policy in Scottish waters is a matter for the Scottish Executive.

Livestock Movements

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations govern the transport of live animals; and what penalties can be imposed upon those who do not comply with them. [28847]

Mr. Morley: The principal regulations governing the transport of live animals are: The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997, which makes general and specific provisions for the welfare of animals during transport—a breach of the Order is punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding £5,000 (or £1,000 per animal if more than 10 animals are involved)—and The Transport of Animals (Cleansing and Disinfection) (England) (No.2) Order 2000, which requires vehicles to be cleansed and disinfected after the journey is completed. A breach of the Order is punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding £5,000. A transporter's authorisation to transport live animals under WATO can also be suspended or revoked.

Sheep Industry

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the European Commission's decision on the levels of (a) the sheep annual premium and (b) the less favoured area supplement on the future viability of the UK sheep industry; and if she will make a statement. [31520]

5 Feb 2002 : Column 891W

Mr. Morley: At the Sheepmeat Management Committee on 18 January it was agreed to set the final rate of the Sheep Annual Premium (SAP) for 2001 at 9.086 euros (£5.62). The Less Favoured Area supplement remained at 6.641 euros (£4.11).

A number of factors depressed returns to sheep farmers in 2001, in particular the closing of export markets because of foot and mouth disease. We expect returns to improve in 2002, with the reopening of export markets and the introduction of a fixed rate Sheep Annual Premium set significantly above the final rate of the premium for 2001.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the level of the sheep annual premium that would be payable to United Kingdom sheep producers if the British market price for lamb were used in the calculation of the sheep premium in place of the average European Union price; and if she will make a statement. [31521]

Mr. Morley: The calculation of the rate of the Sheep Annual Premium prior to the changes agreed in December 2001 was based on several factors related to sheep production in the European Union, not only on the

5 Feb 2002 : Column 892W

average market price; for this reason it is not possible simply to substitute the British average market price for the European Union one. However, in 2001 the average market price for sheepmeat in Great Britain was some 24 per cent. below the European Union average price, and calculating the rate of the Sheep Annual Premium separately for Great Britain and for the rest of the European Union would have increased the rate in Great Britain and reduced it elsewhere.

From 2002 the Sheep Annual Premium will be at a fixed rate of 21 euros per eligible animal, and will not be affected by fluctuations in market prices.

Next Section Index Home Page