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Departmental Spending

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of spending by her Department against budget in the current financial year. [31968]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 31 January 2002]: Spending against budget is monitored during the year. It is forecast that existing budgets will be fully utilised during the current financial year.

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Recycling

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding she is providing to (a) Gloucestershire and (b) local government in England to help with recycling projects; and if she will make a statement. [34638]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 8 February 2002]: The Government have increased funding for the Environmental Protective and Cultural Services (EPCS) block, which includes waste management, by £1.1 billion over the SR2000 period. There is also a ring-fenced fund of £140 million for local authority recycling and £220 million for waste private finance initiative projects over the same period. Councils will also benefit from the £40 million to the waste and resources action programme to overcome market barriers to reuse and recycling of waste.

The Department has just concluded a consultation on its proposals for the distribution of the £140 million fund. At this stage it is not possible to identify what funding Gloucestershire county council might receive from this source.

Refrigerators

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the expected cost to local authorities is of providing temporary storage for refrigerators. [30321]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 29 January 2002]: The estimated costs for dealing with waste fridges are in the range of £22 to £35. This figure will cover transport, handling, storage and processing. The storage element will vary according to the length of storage, location of the site, and whether the local authority own the storage site.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding her Department has allocated to (a) Buckinghamshire county council and (b) Aylesbury Vale district council to assist with the costs of storing and processing refrigerators and freezers; and what plans she has to make further funding available. [30043]

Mr. Meacher: £6 million has been added to the provisional local government finance settlement for 2002–03 for the costs of implementing the ozone depleting substances regulation relating to the period 1 January 2002 to 31 March 2002. This will be distributed to local authorities using Standard Spending Assessments (SSA). The extra money has been added to the upper tier sub-block of the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services SSA. We are continuing to assess the impacts of the regulation and will determine what further action is required beyond that.

Wye Navigation Order

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by what date she will announce her decision on the Wye Navigation Order. [34154]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 7 February 2002]: I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will be able to announce a decision by the end of June.

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Sellafield

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the summary of responses to the Sellafield MOX plant consultation 2001. [32724]

Margaret Beckett: A comprehensive summary of the responses to the consultation exercises on the Sellafield MOX plant formed one of three annexes to the Decision Document, published jointly by my Department and the Department of Health on 3 October 2001. The Decision Document and the annexes can be downloaded from my Department's website www.defra.gov.uk/environment/ radioactivity/mox/index.htm.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the names of respondents to the 2001 consultation on the Sellafield MOX plant who were (a) in favour and (b) against the SMP. [32726]

Margaret Beckett: Government Departments undertook two consultation exercises on the Sellafield MOX plant during 2001. Copies of all the responses (about 8,000), apart from those who asked for their responses to remain confidential, are available in my Department's library.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which SMP customers have specified that they want their separated plutonium back as MOX fuel and which have indicated that they do not want it immobilised as a waste. [32727]

Margaret Beckett: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 1097W.

Water Industry Act

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she intends to take to review the Water Industry Act 1991. [34069]

Mr. Meacher: The Government's draft Water Bill, published for public consultation on 6 November 2000, proposed amendments to existing water legislation including the Water Industry Act 1991. The Bill aims to give water consumers a better deal by creating a more open and accountable industry. The Bill will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Noise Act

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions by local authorities there have been in each of the last three years under the Noise Act 1996. [32899]

Mr. Meacher: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Available figures for all prosecutions against noise offences are collected by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) but figures are not held

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specifically for prosecutions under the Noise Act 1996. Figures for 2000–01 published by CIEH were announced by me on 20 December 2001. This information has been

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placed in the Libraries of both Houses but is also available on both the DEFRA and CIEH websites. A summary of the figures follows:

Category of noise nuisance
IndustrialCommercial/ leisureDomesticConstruction/ demolition sitesVehiclesEquipment in the street
1998–99
Complaints received11,39321,493114,2456,5433,7642,762
Complaints per million population4448364,330248146107
Notices served(15)3135493,47944225254
Prosecutions(15)121816822123
Convictions(15)1014156803
1999–2000
Complaints received12,73828,661155,8608,8294,6863,384
Complaints per million population4219605,149292156113
Notices served(15)3361,0005,14254753790
Prosecutions(15)645349802
Convictions(15)242304802
2000–01
Complaints received11,47534,745169,81010,8225,1726,501
Complaints per million population3461,0385,001325162209
Notices served(15)2831,3935,351808507236
Prosecutions(15)4783133924
Convictions(15)4492552802

(15) Figures grossed where incomplete.


Foot and Mouth

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 22 January 2002, Official Report, column 781W, if the improved ELISA test was used to diagnose those animals slaughtered after the last case of foot and mouth; and if she will make a statement. [35268]

Mr. Morley: The improved ELISA test was used as a screening test in the extensive serological testing programme that took place. Sera which gave positive ELISA tests were subject to a virus neutralisation test before any decision to cull animals was taken.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when MAFF (a) started and (b) concluded its investigation into whether pigs identified as suffering from foot and mouth disease on 19 February 2001 had been fed on illegally imported meat; and what their conclusion was. [33712]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 February 2002]: The State Veterinary Service started an epidemiological inquiry into the origins of the foot and mouth outbreak immediately the first case was confirmed. These investigations are still ongoing. There are related criminal proceedings currently under way and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what moneys are outstanding to Dumfries and Galloway council in respect of that region's foot and mouth disease containment activities in 2001. [34437]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 7 February 2002]: The Department has already paid the bulk of Dumfries and Galloway council's claim in respect of their disease control costs incurred during the foot and mouth outbreak. On 24 January 2002, my officials met with representatives of the council and SEERAD officials to resolve a number of outstanding issues relating to their claim. Agreement was reached on the payment process for the remaining £2,183,428.09. This should be paid in the next few weeks.

A claim for damages to roads has been submitted by the council and is being considered by the Department.


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