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Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been conducted for (a) her Department and (b) the Environment Agency on progress towards meeting the EU Incinerator Directive; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Meacher: On 20 June 2002, I announced in a written answer, Official Report, column 489W, the publication by the Department of a consultation paper setting out how the Government intend to implement Directive 2000/76/EC on the incineration of waste. This followed consideration of the directive's requirements and the refinement of a regulatory impact assessment (which is included as Annexe 1 to the consultation paper). Responses to consultation are requested by 9 September, in the light of which the Department will finalise draft secondary legislation to put before the House.
Detailed guidance on the interpretation of the directive has been drafted in order to help agency staff to apply the directive's requirements in a consistent and transparent manner.
A technical guidance note on waste incineration techniques and their associated emissions has been drafted and placed on the agency's website.
Mr. Meacher: The former Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions conducted extensive consultations with these organisations during negotiations of the draft directive on the incineration of waste. The Department announced on 20 June 2002 the publication of a consultation paper setting out how the Government intend to implement the resulting directive (2000/76/EC) and inviting, by 9 September, responses from regulators, trade associations, industry and any other organisations or individuals with an interest. At this early point in the consultation period, no response has been received.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions she had had with (a) the European Commission and (b) others regarding the Waste Acceptance Criteria; what the status of the timetable for implementation is; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Meacher: The waste acceptance criteria have been discussed at length with the Commission and other member states at a series of regular meetings of the Landfill Sub-Committee of the Committee for the Adaption to Scientific and Technical Progress of EC Legislation on Waste held since 1999.
These negotiations have been shadowed by a consultation group comprising representatives of the Environment Agency. Government Departments, the devolved Administrations, the waste management industry and waste producers. The representations made by
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members of the group have formed a valuable input into the development of the UK's negotiating position on the waste acceptance criteria.
The Commission have now finalised and circulated a draft decision setting out criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste at landfills. This will be voted on at a meeting of the Committee for the Adaption to Scientific and Technical Progress of EC Legislation on Waste in Brussels on 23 July 2002. The draft decision document requires the waste acceptance criteria to be transposed into domestic legislation by July 2004 and implemented by July 2005.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research (a) has been conducted and (b) is planned for her Department on the (i) healthy, (ii) environmental and (iii) other impacts of (A) emissions from incinerators and (B) dioxins in incinerator ash; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: Emissions: The Environment Agency is currently conducting a 'Human Health Review of Incineration and Combustion Techniques' which is looking at the health impacts of emissions and a number of combustion processes including incineration.
Dioxins in incinerator ash: The Environment Agency has conducted an investigation into the composition, destination and use of residues from the 11 Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators in England. This includes analyses of dioxin levels in the residues, and assessments as to the environmental and health risks involved. The Agency's report has now been published and copies will be placed in the Library of the House.
Planned research: With the involvement of the Department of Health and the devolved Administrations, my Department recently hosted a seminar to identify the research needs of all waste management options, including incineration.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who is responsible for (a) testing and (b) monitoring (i) incinerator ash and (ii) incinerator emissions; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: Operators are responsible for testing and monitoring incinerator emissions (including incinerator ash) and demonstrating compliance with assessment criteria specified by the regulator. The Environment Agency regulates all municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) with a capacity of 1 tonne per hour or greater. Local authorities regulate MWIs with a capacity less than 1 tonne per hour.
Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education and Skills to ensure that sufficient numbers of environmental health officers are being trained to oversee food safety. 
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Food safety is the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency. I am advised by the agency that its board has expressed concern about the recruitment and retention problems being faced by local authorities. It requested officials to discuss the issues with other relevant stakeholders to look for ways to improve the situation and to help ensure continued provision of effective food law enforcement services. The matter is to be considered again in detail at the board's meeting on 11 July 2002.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to commission an audit of the uses of sheep and goat products in (a) food and (b) non-food products. 
I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that the board of the agency endorsed a report on BSE and sheep from a group of stakeholders at its meeting on 13 June in Armagh. It contained a recommendation that the agency, with other Government Departments, should commission a full audit of the uses of sheep and goat products in food and non-food products. The agency will now take forward its share of the work and approach the other Departments involved.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures have been taken since the foot and mouth epidemic to ensure that if another outbreak were to occur it could be efficiently dealt with. 
Mr. Morley: DEFRA has produced an interim contingency plan for foot and mouth disease in consultation with some key stakeholders and operational partners. The interim contingency plan builds on the existing plan (which is required by EC Directive 90/423) and codifies experiences and lessons learned from the recent outbreak. However, it does not seek to pre-judge the results of the official inquiries into the last outbreak. All plans will be comprehensively reviewed as a result of any recommendations made by the official inquiries.
A number of restrictions on animal movements remain in place as a means of helping protect against the rapid spread of any new incursion of disease, and measures have been taken to improve standards of biosecurity in livestock markets and shows. These arrangements also will be reviewed in the light of the recommendations of the official inquiries.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to implement the NAO recommendation on the continued close environmental monitoring and inspection of foot and mouth disposal sites and the publication and reflection in her Department's contingency plans of the results. 
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Mr. Morley: The Department is working closely with the Environment Agency (EA) to ensure that FMD disposal sites are effectively monitored. Up until the end of March 2002, the EA managed a programme of environmental monitoring in the areas worst affected by the outbreak. DEFRA has now taken over responsibility for this interim monitoring programme and has recently issued a tender for the sampling and analysis of selected sites throughout England and Wales.
The Department also intends to commission individual site-specific risk assessments for each carcase and ash disposal site. These assessments will be made available to the EA, who will review the environmental risk and Groundwater Authorisations. Based on the results of these risk assessments, the Department will then commission a targeted monitoring programme to ensure that any potential longer-term environmental impacts are identified.
In addition to this monitoring programme, each of the mass burial sites has its own comprehensive monitoring programme with regular reporting to DEFRA and the EA. The agency also carries out audit monitoring. Watchtree has 68 monitoring boreholes, Tow Law 32, Throckmorton 28 and Widdrington six. These boreholes are at varying distances from the cells and samples are taken, in some cases at several different depths. The Environment Agency is sampling stream springs and watercourses in the vicinity of the mass burial sites. No pollution from carcase disposal has been detected to date.
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