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Radioactive Materials

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the European Council Resolution 2002/C119/05 on the establishment of national systems for surveillance and control of the presence of radioactive materials in the recycling of metallic materials in member states, in respect of its application to the United Kingdom. [73555]

Mr. Meacher: Most of the Resolution's proposals are already covered by existing UK legislation, including the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (as amended) and the lonising Radiations Regulations 1999. Many of the measures proposed in the Resolution are mirrored in the draft Euratom High Activity Sealed Sources Directive, which is currently being negotiated.

The UK INTERPOL Environmental Crime (Radioactive Substances) Sub-Group (UKIECG), which is chaired by the Environment Agency, addresses the issue of illicit trafficking of ''orphan'' radioactive sources. The Environment Agency is also working closely with the metals recycling industry and with regulators in other countries on the issues covered by the Resolution.

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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) low level, (b) intermediate level and (c) high level radioactive material was in storage in each year from 1973 to date. [73947]

Mr. Meacher: The information requested requires the interrogation of several past UK Radioactive Waste Inventories and I will write to the hon. Member with the details in due course.

Nuclear Waste

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with (a) the nuclear industry and (b) other departments regarding the safe disposal of nuclear waste. [74593]

Mr. Meacher: In a letter sent to all MPs on 29 July, my right hon. Friend, announced the results of the recent consultation on radioactive waste management and set out the next steps of the programme, including a review of all management options for intermediate and high level waste.

With this in mind, the Department plans to continue its frequent meetings with relevant stakeholders and interested parties, including the NGO's, technical and scientific experts, public engagement specialists and industry representatives, to discuss the issues at hand. This continual input, together with the information gathered from the four research projects that were run during the consultation period (which all involved a wide range of contacts, including stakeholders and the general public), should help formulate a successful programme.

The Department is also in daily contact with other Government Departments and the devolved administrations on this issue.

Carcase Burial Site, Petrockstowe

Mr. Burnett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will state, in relation to the carcass burial site at Ash Moor, Petrockstowe, (a) what the level of water table is below the surface of the land and (b) whether a microbiological study has been conducted into the use of the land for the burial of animal carcasses; if she will publish the environmental impact and risk assessments for the site and list the recommendations they made; which legal requirements were complied with before construction of the site started; what has been (i) the cost of work to date and (ii) the continuing cost of upkeep; what additional cost will be incurred if the site is brought into use for the burial of animal carcasses; and if she will make a statement. [10735]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 29 October 2001]: pursuant to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Torridge & West Devon on 7 November 2001, Official Report, column 301W. My answer referred to EA authorisation under regulation 18(3)(a) of the Groundwater Regulations 1998 granted on 12 April 2001. (construction at Ash Moor started on 20 April 2001). This was incorrect. The construction at Ash Moor started on 9 April 2001. The rest of the Answer remains correct.

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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Totnes of 12 June, concerning drugs and the broiler chicken. [71274]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 July 2002]: I responded to the honourable member on 15 September.



Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a progress report on the Customs and Excise interactive data input and editing system for traders and if he will make a statement. [74780]

John Healey: The business requirement for an interactive data input and editing system has been included within the scope of the HM Customs and Excise e-Business Programme, to simplify the current technology and business processes. It represents better value for money for government while ensuring that businesses, including those involved in intra-Community trade, are offered simpler and more convenient ways to transact.

Intrastat Supplementary Returns can already be filed electronically and the new, flexible infrastructure will include technology to improve risk-based assurance of data and reduce the costs of compliance to a whole range of businesses. This will ensure that Customs and Excise is more responsive, agile and better able to meet its customers' needs.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish outturn figures for the pilot system for VAT declarations over the Internet; and if he will make a statement. [74777]

John Healey: The pilot system for making VAT declarations over the Internet ran from March 2000 to April 2001. Around 1,100 businesses used the service out of 2,500 businesses invited to do so.

The electronic VAT return (EVR) system went live in April 2001. Around 400 of those on the pilot system joined the live system. There are currently 4,250 businesses registered to use EVR. Of these approximately 2,700 actually use it.

Bank of Credit and Commerce International

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what evidence was presented by Customs and Excise officials to the Bank of England on 19 September 1988 that Manuel Noriega had been using the Bank of Credit and Commerce International to launder money; [74516]

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John Healey: Information relating to matters which are currently the subject of, or directly connected with, court proceedings are exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4 (Law enforcement and legal proceedings) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Global Poverty

Mrs. Irene Adams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what progress was made on tackling global poverty at the recent G8 summit; [73665]

John Healey: At the G8 Summit, in June, progress was made towards a more coherent approach to tackling global poverty. In particular, members welcomed the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The G8 undertook to establish enhanced partnerships with African countries whose performance reflects the NEPAD commitments. This will focus efforts on countries that demonstrate a political and financial commitment to good governance and the rule of law, investing in their people, and pursuing policies that spur economic growth and alleviate poverty. The G8 will match African countries' commitment by promoting peace and security in Africa, boosting expertise and capacity, encouraging trade and direct growth-oriented investment, and providing more effective official development assistance. In addition, the G7 agreed in June to contribute their share of an extra $1 billion to finance the shortfall in the HIPC initiative.

At the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in September, further progress was made. In particular, the IMF reaffirmed its role in helping poor countries address the challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals by supporting economic reforms aimed at accelerating growth and reducing poverty. The Fund recognised that there may be a need to consider mobilising new resources if high demand for concessional financing continues, and stressed the importance of sound macroeconomic frameworks that can respond flexibly to changes in the external environment; identifying ways to encourage higher and sustainable growth; good governance; improving public expenditure and financial management systems; and using poverty and social impact analysis more systematically, and building country capacity in this area. In addition, the Bank and Fund reaffirmed the commitment to implement the HIPC initiative and finance it fully to help countries overcome the burden of unsustainable debt.

At the Development Committee meeting of the World Bank, commitments were made towards better coordination and cooperation amongst development partners and by effective alignment of donor support with country strategies. Members recognised the need for more intensified efforts to harmonise operational policies and procedures of bilateral and multilateral agencies, at both institutional and country levels, to enhance aid effectiveness and promote greater ownership by developing countries. The Bank and other donors committed to further action in streamlining their policies, procedures and requirements over the period

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leading to the high-level forum scheduled in Rome in February 2003 and beyond. Members also requested the Bank and Fund to report back to them at next year's Spring Meetings on pragmatic and innovative ways to enhance the participation of developing countries in international institutions, and thereby to strengthen international dialogue.

Improving tenure security and access to land through appropriate land reform is a key element of the World Bank's Rural Development Strategy. Secure tenure and shelter for the poor are also important components of the Bank's urban programmes. The Bank is supporting land reforms in Latin America; throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union; and in Asia, efforts appear to have been generally most effective in relation to poverty reduction. The Bank is preparing to re-engage with land reform in Africa (Ghana, Malawi, Niger, South Africa and Uganda).

The Department for International Development (DFID) is actively engaged with the World Bank in Africa to improve the effectiveness of Bank operations in land reform. In the other regions DFID seeks to support and improve the impact of World Bank interventions at policy level and through complementary support to development partners. The Bank is in the final stages of completing a major review of its work on land reform, to be captured in a Policy Research Report. DFID have contributed to the process, seeking to strengthen the linkage of Bank lending for land reform with improved livelihood opportunities for the poor and with nationally owned poverty reduction strategies.

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