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17 Dec 2002 : Column 688W—continued


Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans there are to fluoridate water supplies in the UK; and what health risks have been identified with fluoridation. [86305]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

We consider that decisions to fluoridate a water supply should be taken locally. We are seeking to ensure that, where a local community wishes to consider this option, they have easily accessible and reliable information on the effects of fluoridation. The only risk that has been identified is that of dental fluorosis or flecking or mottling of the teeth which, where it is judged to be cosmetically unacceptable, can be treated by dental polishing or, in extreme cases, by veneers.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultation has taken place with relevant groups regarding the fluoridation of water supplies in the UK; and if she will make a statement on her assessment of the impact of fluoridation on oral health. [86307]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

We funded research projects undertaken by the University of York in 1999–2000 and the Medical Research Council in 2001–02, aimed at strengthening the evidence base on fluoridation. Steering groups including consumers, people sceptical about the benefits of fluoridation, doctors, toxicologists and dentists contributed to these projects. The reports concluded that fluoridation achieves a 14.6 per cent. reduction in dental decay and that further research is needed to improve our understanding of this beneficial effect.

Illegal Food Imports

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what quantities of illegal imports of food were found in each of the last three years, broken down by port of entry. [86931]

Mr. Morley : A central database of illegal animal product seizures notified to Defra was set up in April 2001. The database holds details of seizures of illegal imports of products of animal origin, including foodstuffs.

Port of entryWeight (kg)
From April 2001 to March 2002
Belfast City Airport11
Belfast International17
Birmingham Airport240
Bristol Airport1
Cardiff Airport13
Coventry Sorting Office238
Edinburgh Airport13
Gatwick Airport18,461
Glasgow Airport15
Heathrow Airport12,534
London City Airport1,106
Luton Airport207
Manchester Airport276
Mersey Port14
Mount Pleasant Sorting Office155
Newcastle Airport21
Stansted Airport65
Teesside Airport15
Waterloo International3
From March 2002 to date
Belfast City Airport1,061
Belfast International327
Birmingham Airport802
Bristol Airport41
Coventry Sorting Office69
Edinburgh Airport482
Gatwick Airport6,828
Heathrow Airport13,365
Leeds/Bradford Airport118
Liverpool Airport241
London City Airport1,551
Luton Airport27
Manchester Airport441
Mersey Port34
Mount Pleasant Sorting Office22
Newcastle Airport14
Norwich Airport1
Southampton Port259
Stansted Airport128
Teesside Airport1
Waterloo International6

17 Dec 2002 : Column 689W

Import Controls

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) airports and (b) seaports there are, broken down by region at which her Department has responsibility for import controls. [86576]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 December 2002]: Responsibility for setting policy on import controls at all airports and seaports for animals and plants and their products, and live fish from non-EU countries, lies with Defra and the devolved administrations.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in the House on 6 November, responsibility for anti-smuggling controls is to transfer to Her

17 Dec 2002 : Column 690W

Majesty's Customs and Excise, as soon as is practicable. Currently the responsibilities for execution and enforcement of import controls are as set out below.

The State Veterinary Service, part of Defra, is responsible for executing checks and enforcement of the rules at border inspection posts (BIPs) through which only those products referred to in Annex I of Council Directive 92/118/EEC which are not intended for human consumption; or live animals are introduced into the UK. There are 16 BIPs approved for this purpose—five airports and six seaports in England, and two airports and three seaports in Scotland.

Each local authority is responsible for executing the import checks rules within its area for products of animal origin other than those products mentioned above. These are carried out at approved BIPs as set out below:

Local authorities are also responsible for enforcing the import rules in their areas, whether they include BIPs or not.

Responsibility for checks to protect plant health of imported plants and plant produce lies with Defra's Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate at all airports and seaports in England and Wales.


Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations prevent gardeners from manufacturing home-made insecticides for use in their own gardens; and if she will make a statement. [86487]

Mr. Morley: All pesticides used in this country, including those used in domestic gardens, must first be approved by Ministers. Approval is then only granted provided thorough scientific evaluation shows that they can be used safely.

I am, however, aware that there are some gardeners who like to use home garden remedies to protect their plants. The Department does not however condone the promotion of such use either by individuals, organisations or the media.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) number and (b) total size is of planned landfill sites in the United Kingdom; and when each is expected to begin operations, broken down by region. [85893]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 11 December 2002]: Waste Strategy 2000 recognises that landfill will still have a role to play in any sustainable waste management system, but that it will be a much smaller role.

Local authorities should take into account the landfill diversion targets required by the landfill directive to reduce the landfilling of biodegradable waste across the United Kingdom by around two-thirds in line with the

17 Dec 2002 : Column 691W

timetable set out in the directive (i.e. by 2016, should the UK decide not to take advantage of the final four-year derogation) and the recycling and recovery targets set out in WS2000.

Information on the number of planned landfill sites is not available centrally.

Packaging Waste

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the viability of enforcing greater use of (a) biodegradable plastic bottles and (b) plastic bottles which can be crushed down once empty. [86022]

Mr. Meacher: Substitutes for plastic made from potato starch have been developed and are being used for some types of packaging by some retailers. Such material is entirely biodegradable and can be composted.

A number of companies are marketing degradable plastics technology and products manufactured from these materials. These new materials are based on modified plastics manufactured from mineral oil and still have to be sent for recycling after use. We do strongly support the development of biodegradable plastics made from non-fossil sources, providing these will actually be composted and not sent to landfill.

Plastic bottles which can be crushed down once empty are useful, particularly in terms of saving space in household bins. We are looking at ways to encourage this.

Ministerial Speeches

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what speeches (a) she and (b) Departmental ministerial colleagues have made since 23rd July to external organisations, stating in each case whether the speech is publicly available; and if she will place in the Library copies of those speeches not hitherto publicly available. [82852]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 27 November 2002]: All Defra Ministers make a number of speeches every week and so it would only be at disproportionate cost that a fully comprehensive list could be assembled. However a list has previously been placed in the library of the House which shows the principal keynote speeches made by DEFRA Ministers from 7 June 2001 to 1 June 2002. Some of these are available on the DEFRA website (as are other, more minor speeches) and, where possible, the others are available upon request although generally not in an 'as delivered' format.

Secretary of State

12 September 2002European Parliament Temporary Committee
17 September 2002Launch of the Plant Atlas
18 September 2002Environmental Services Association third Environmental Conference
20 September 2002Ribble Valley Millennium Link
21 October 2002Meat and Livestock Commission Dinner, SIAL
23 October 2002 2002 Silver Lapwing Award
24 October 2002Launch of England Biodiversity Strategy
6 November 2002Foreign Policy CentreCAP reform
14 November 2002Combined Heat and Power Association National Conference
19 November 2002Darwin Initiative Phase II Launch
20 November 2002Speech to Parliament Press Gallery
25 November 2002Outcome of Johannesburg Summit
26 November 2002Warm Homes Week

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Michael Meacher

17 September 2002UCL Conference
19 September 2002Water UK
25 September 2002Defra Conference
26 September 2002ENVEC (recorded)
10 October 2002European Environment Bureau
14 October 2002Soil Association Conference
18 October 2002Nuclear Free Local Authorities Conference
4 November 2002RIIA Seminar
5 November 2002LARAC Conference
6 November 2002DEMOS Seminar
14 November 2002Defra Conference
15 November 2002Country Land and Business Association Conference
20 November 2002Magistrates Association Conference

Elliot Morley

2 September 2002Wildlife Trust Conference
18 September 2002Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers Dairy Show
19 September 2002Timber Trade Federation Annual Conference
11 October 2002Open Wash Banks Flood Alleviation
16 October 2002Economist Water Conference
17 October 2002Launch of CAWC Report
24 October 2002Cold Water Prawn Forum
28 October 2002National Flood Forum
4 November 2002Abbots Hall Farm
6 November 2002Launch of Pets for North America

Lord Whitty

31 July 2002Sheep 2002
2 September 2002Dorset Chamber of Commerce
12 September 2002Learning to last Conference by Learning Skills and Development Agency
19 September 2002Congress of European Agriculture
21 October 2002TGWU Food and Agriculture Conference
25 October 2002Food From Britain Reception
29 October 2002Association of Parliamentary Food and Health Forum Conference
30 October 2002David Black Awards
31 October 2002Women's Food and Farming Union
31 October 2002Meat and Livestock Commission Catering Sector Conference
12 November 2002National Food Assurance Conference

Alun Michael

23 July 2002Countryside Agency Launch
24 July 2002Sustainable Development evening
25 July 2002Launch of Defra-led Magic Project
26 July 2002Shooting Seminar CLA Game Fair
5 September 2002National Conference on Rural Stress
12 September 2002Launch of the National Training Strategy for Town and Parish Councils
18 September 2002Association of National Park Authorities' Annual Conference
30 October 2002Climbing Mountains
31 October 2002Urban Summit-Rural Urban Linkages
5 November 2002National Village Halls Forum AGM
6 November 2002British Horse Society Awards
8 November 2002Visit to Groundwork Project
8 November 2002Fourth Rural Affairs Forum
9 November 2002Rural Affairs Conference
12 November 2002Second National Angling Summit
15 November 2002Launch of the Institute of Air Quality Management

17 Dec 2002 : Column 693W

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