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Food Standards Agency

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the advice that she received from the Food Standards Agency in respect of the implementation of Regulation (EC) No. 999/2001. [61575]

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Mr. Morley: The Food Standards Agency has a clear interest in many of the areas covered by Regulation (EC) 999/2001 laying down the rules on the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and was consulted throughout the creation of a Statutory Instrument for the enforcement and administration of the Regulation.

The Chairman of the Food Standards Agency has also advised Lord Whitty on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No. 999/2001. Information about his advice is available on the following web site:


Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many successful prosecutions there were in (a) England and Wales, (b) Greater London and (c) Enfield for fly-tipping in each of the last five years; what steps she is taking to strengthen protection against this activity; and if she will make a statement. [57853]

Mr. Meacher: Local authorities and the Environment Agency may prosecute for fly-tipping offences. Between 1996 and 2001, the Agency recorded prosecutions for general waste offences on a financial year basis. The data do not distinguish fly-tipping offences from other waste offences. From 1 April 1999, the Agency recorded, on a regional basis, whether an incident involves the unlawful deposit of waste, and whether prosecutions led to convictions or acquittals. This information is given below, but is not broken down within a region. No central register is kept of local authorities' prosecutions.

Prosecutions (England & Wales)

General waste offencesUnlawful deposit of waste

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Convictions (England & Wales)

Unlawful deposit of waste 1

Convictions (Thames Region)

Unlawful deposit of waste1

1 Prosecutions under section 33(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

There are stringent controls in place to deal with fly tipping, which is a criminal offence. In the event of a conviction, severe penalties are available to the courts, including an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years. The Environment Agency or the local authority have powers to remove fly-tipped waste and to recover their costs from those responsible.

The Agency is currently working to establish a central unit to co-ordinate its approach to environmental crime. This unit will work with other key enforcement bodies, such as local authorities, the Police and HM Customs and Excise, and will target particular environmental and economic threats such as fly tipping.

Radioactive Waste

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Royal Society's report on developing UK policy for the management of radioactive waste. [58900]

Margaret Beckett: The Royal Society's response is one of 330 replies to the consultation paper Managing radioactive waste safely published last September by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We are evaluating the responses, and we shall shortly publish a summary as well as announcing what we plan to do next.

Waste Management

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which organisations are responsible for clearing (a) hazardous and (b) non-hazardous items left through fly-tipping; what ability local councils have to charge organisations for the removal of items; and if she will make a statement. [60099]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 10 June 2002]: Section 59 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides local authorities, as waste collection authorities, and the Environment Agency, as the waste regulation authority, with certain powers to require the removal of hazardous and non-hazardous fly tipped waste, or to remove it themselves. Under this section, local authorities and the Agency have the power to recover their costs incurred in removing any such waste from the occupier of the land

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in question, unless the occupier proves that he neither made, not knowingly caused, nor knowingly permitted the deposit of the waste. In any case the authorities may recover their costs from the person who deposited the waste.

World Summit on Sustainable Development

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role she played in ensuring the views of women's organisations are heard at the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development. [58252]

Mr. Meacher: The Government are working to engage all stakeholders as part of the preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Women are one of the nine key stakeholder groups identified in Agenda 21 and we have been in consultation with womens' groups to involve them in the preparations for the Summit.

DEFRA officials have met with representatives from Women's Institute to discuss their postcard campaign XWhat Women Want" which is featured on the Government's sustainable development website ( Margaret Beckett has agreed to meet Baroness Crawley, chairwomen of the Women's National Commission, to discuss with her how the groups she represents can become more closely involved with the preparations for the Summit.

DEFRA officials have also been working closely with colleagues from the Cabinet Office Women's and Equality Unit to identify ways to raise awareness of the Summit specifically across womens' groups.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) median, (b) upper and (c) lower decile times taken to reply fully to letters received (i) from hon. Members and (ii) from all sources were in each month since June 2001. [58117]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 21 May 2002]: The information requested for part (i) is in the table below (in days):

MonthMedianLower DecileUpper Decile
June 200140.512.3182.0
July 200172.021.0168.0
August 200179.029.0151.0
September 200145.018.0116.0
October 200140.016.0102.4
November 200141.016.01
December 200143.020.01
January 200223.08.01
February 200218.03.01
March 200214.03.01
April 200219.55.01

1 It is not yet possible to calculate the upper (90 per cent) decile for these months.

Figures are not available for part (ii), as there is no information held centrally for the time taken to answer letters from all sources and its assembly would incur disproportionate cost.

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Age Discrimination

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will list for each NDPB or agency sponsored by her Department (a) the maximum retirement age adopted for most employees, and that age and (b) whether they have a policy of not considering applications for employment by persons over a particular age, and that age; [59583]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 June 2002]: The Department and the Agencies it sponsors have a common policy on retirement age. The normal retirement age is 60 although staff in Administrative Officer and Administrative Assistant grades may stay on until the age of 65, no age bar is set on applications for employment beyond the retirement age for the grade in question.

The normal retirement age for members of the Senior Civil Service is determined by the Cabinet Office and is currently 60. Heads of Departments and Agency Chief Executives have some flexibility to retain members of the Senior Civil Service beyond the age of 60 in exceptional circumstances subject to the approval of the Head of the Home Civil Service for the Senior Appointments Selection Committee (SASC) Group.

It is for individual Non Departmental Public Bodies to determine their own policies about the age limits of those they employ, in accordance with existing equal opportunities legislation and good practice guidelines.

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