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1 Sept 2004 : Column 819W—continued


Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies the Department has commissioned into the (a) health and (b) environmental effects of incineration; and how much each study cost. [186152]

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Mr. Morley: Defra commissioned the independent 'Review of Environmental and Health Effects of Waste Management: Municipal Solid Waste and Similar Wastes', which was published on 6 May. The review, which was carried out by Enviros consulting, and peer reviewed by The Royal Society brings together the available evidence of the health and environmental effects of the main different kinds of waste management facility, including incineration.

Defra estimates that the final cost of the report will be in the region of £175,000 (excluding VAT).


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received on the EU Landfill Directive; and if she will make a statement on progress in its implementation. [184400]

Mr. Morley: In the course of six consultation exercises and the many formal and informal meetings with stakeholders, the Government has received a large number of representations on all aspects of the Landfill Directive. The Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002, as amended by the Landfill (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2004, implement the technical and regulatory aspects of the Directive in England and Wales.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many landfill sites have applied for permits under the provisions of the Directive; when they will be in a position to accept and process the waste; and what the length of time is for (a) permits to be granted and (b) planning permission to be given. [183041]

Mr. Morley: For hazardous waste, the Environment Agency has received 18 applications for permits to operate merchant landfills post July 2004, and a further applications to operate in-house landfills. Of these 30 applications, permits have been issued for seven sites, five applications have been refused, two have planning issues to resolve and the remainder are under consideration. The aim has been to complete the consideration process for as many sites as possible before 16 July. However where that date is not met, sites with a current waste management licence to accept hazardous waste can continue to accept only that waste after 16 July.

In addition to the above, the Environment Agency has received 39 applications to operate separate cells for stable, non-reactive hazardous waste at non-hazardous waste landfills; six permits have been issued, two applications have been refused and the remainder are under consideration.

Further details on all these applications is available on the Environment Agency website (

Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the detail of the change to the Landfill Regulation 2002 regarding the management of landfill sites was published; and how many days this was before implementation. [184627]

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Mr. Morley: The Landfill (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2004 came into force on 15 June 2004. These amend the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 in order to implement Council Decision 2003/33/EC on criteria and procedures for accepting waste at landfill. This met the deadline of 16 July 2004 set out by the Council Decision for the requirements to be transposed. A formal consultation on the Amendment Regulations was held from September to December 2003.

The Amendment Regulations were published on 18 June 2004, some 392 days before the Waste Acceptance Criteria come into force on 16 July 2005.

The co-disposal of hazardous wastes with non-hazardous wastes in the same landfill (with some specified exceptions) will be banned from 16 July 2004. This ban is a requirement of the 1999 Landfill Directive. Implementing the Directive was the subject of two formal consultations by Defra, in October 2000 and August 2001. The co-disposal ban was a provision in the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002. These Regulations came into force and were published on 15 June 2002, some 731 days before the implementation of the ban.

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the outcome was of the negotiations between her Department, the Environment Agency and the non-ferrous metal industry over the impact that the Landfill Directive and Landfill Regulations 2004 will have on the industry; and if she will make a statement. [185265]

Mr. Morley: The aim of the Landfill Directive is to provide for measures, procedures and guidance to prevent or reduce as far as possible, negative effects on the environment, including on groundwater pollution and global warming, as well as any resulting risk to human health, from landfilling waste. The Government are totally committed to this aim, as well as believing that landfilling waste is a lost opportunity to obtain economic value from discarded materials. While there is no doubt that one consequence of the Landfill Directive is to increase costs, it is true to say that in the past, the cost of landfill has not reflected its adverse environmental impact. In the many meetings with the non-ferrous metal industry, the Government have been encouraging it to reduce as far as possible the waste output from its operations, look at alternative treatments to landfill, see how the industry can still dispose of waste to landfill when there is no alternative disposal option currently available and encourage it to come forward with research proposals to achieve those above aims that may be able to draw on landfill tax funding.

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultations took place between members of the non-ferrous metals industry and the Environment Agency concerning the requirements of the Landfill Directive Regulations 2004, with particular reference to waste categorised as H12; and if she will make a statement. [185266]

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Mr. Morley: The non-ferrous metals industry is in regular contact with the Environment Agency via its trade association, the Non-Ferrous Alliance (NFA). Both organisations are also members of the Hazardous Waste Forum.

The agency has discussed the requirements of the Landfill Directive implementation at liaison meetings with the NFA, and made presentations on waste classification at the NFA's recent Environment Forum.

The Government's intention is that the agency should regulate the requirements of the Landfill Regulations during the period July 2004-July 2005 via the application of site-specific assessments. The agency is actively undertaking this work in order to provide for an appropriate level of environmental protection, conscious of any potential implications for hazardous waste capacity. This includes ensuring consideration of wastes that display hazard category H12 (substances and preparations which release toxic or very toxic gases in contact with water, air or an acid).

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her assessment is of the impact on the non-ferrous metal industry of the change in the number of landfill sites to take hazardous waste; what guidance was given to the non-ferrous metal industry before 18 July; when the new requirements were introduced; and if she will make a statement. [185267]

Mr. Morley: The cost of landfill disposal for the non-ferrous metal industry, as for other industries, is likely to rise. This will act as an encouragement to waste producers to examine their processes to see if waste arisings can be reduced and to consider other treatment and disposal options that may be more environmentally and economically sustainable than landfill. Defra and Environment Agency officials have met with representatives of the non-ferrous metal industry on a number of occasions in the past year to help them understand their obligations and to discuss any issues that arise. In addition, the Non-Ferrous Alliance is a member of the Hazardous Waste Forum, a group that consists of waste producers, waste managers, central and local government and regulators and looks at issues surrounding hazardous waste.


Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of the increasing number of magpies on the small bird population of the UK; and if she will make a statement. [182367]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Magpie is known to take songbirds although the available evidence suggests that this does not have a significant adverse effect on their population levels. Defra issues a general licence allowing year round control of Magpies, and a small number of other species, to conserve wild birds. This licence may be used by authorised persons only and the landowners' permission must be obtained. This licence is among a number of general licences relating to birds that is currently the subject of a consultation exercise.
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The decline in farmland birds has come to prominence during the last 10 years, but long term data on bird numbers indicates that many of these declines began over 25 years ago. The precise reason for the declines in different species varies, but in the majority of cases can be attributed to an intensification of farming practices during recent decades. This is demonstrated by the fact that population declines have been more marked in intensively managed arable farmland habitats compared with other habitats. The population status of songbird and farmland bird species are monitored and Defra is aware of declines in certain species.

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