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Pollution: Liverpool Bay

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what total tonnage of sewage sludge was dumped in Liverpool Bay in each of the last 30 years; what assessment he has made of the long-term impact of sewage sludge dumping on the marine environment; and if he will make a statement. [146896]

Jonathan Shaw: My predecessor's reply to the hon. Member's similar question on 20 November 2003, Official Report, 1230W, estimated that a total of 40- 50 million tonnes of sewage sludge was deposited by water companies, and predecessor water authorities, in the north east Irish Sea/Liverpool Bay in the 30 years up to 31 December 1998. This practice was banned after that date.

The following table sets out the readily available information (1976 to 1998) on the annual quantities (tonnes) of sewage sludge disposed of in Liverpool Bay.

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Wet weight (tonnes)















































Monitoring of the historic sewage sludge disposal site in Liverpool Bay has continued since the end of disposal in 1998 under the auspices of the National Marine Monitoring Program, now the Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Program. I understand the disposal of sewage sludge in Liverpool Bay has appeared to have very little effect on the receiving marine benthic environment of the area.

A reduction in marine invertebrate community variability was observed during disposal activities and an increase in variability after the end of the activity. When reference and disposal site sediment samples were compared no statistical differences in sediment characteristics were identified.

Tin: Irish Sea

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effect of tribulyte tin from the bulk of ships on the marine environment in the Irish Sea; [146890]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the impact of nutrients discharged by rivers on (a) estuaries, (b) beaches adjacent to estuaries and (c) the Irish Sea; [146892]

(3) what pollution incidents involving more than 0.01 tonnes of spillage occurred in the Irish Sea in each year since 2003; on what date each occurred; what the size was of the spillage; and which company (a) reported and (b) was responsible for each; [146893]

(4) what the cost was of monitoring pollution levels in the Irish Sea in each of the last 30 years; [146895]

(5) which (a) statutory and (b) non-statutory bodies monitored pollution levels in the Irish Sea in each of the last 30 years; [146897]

(6) what assessment he has made of the effect of polychlorinated biophenyls on the marine environment in the Irish Sea over the last 30 years; [146898]

(7) if he will make a statement on the recent co-operation between the UK Government and the Irish Government on monitoring pollution in the Irish Sea; [146899]

(8) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Jonus project in environmental monitoring; [147223]

(9) what level of funding has been given to the Jonus project in each year of its existence; [146908]

(10) what estimate he has made of the quantities of (a) synthetic chemicals, (b) mercury, (c) cadmium, (d) lead, (e) zinc, (f) nickel and (g) arsenic released into the Irish Sea from establishments in the UK in each of the last 30 years; what recent changes there have been in the reduction targets in each case; and if he will make a statement. [146906]

Jonathan Shaw: England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic will all have their specific mechanisms for monitoring and reporting on pollution in the Irish sea.

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The main joint working on the state of the Irish sea is carried out within the framework of the Oslo and Paris (OSPAR) Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic to which the UK and the Republic of Ireland are contracting parties, where regular assessments are done, information gathered by the various organisations is brought together and assessments are made and published in the OSPAR Quality Status Report (QSR). The last QSR was published in the year 2000, and included a regional report on the Celtic seas. The next QSR will be published in 2010.

The UK has also recently published “Charting Progress” which provides the first integrated assessment of the state of the seas across the whole of the UK continental shelf. “Charting Progress” includes a feeder report on Marine Environment Quality which focuses on the impacts of human activities on the marine environment and its resources, and provides assessments of the status and trends based on current knowledge and information. Much of the information given below is derived from the OSPAR QSR and “Charting Progress”.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), together with colleagues in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland and the Fisheries Research Services in Scotland have carried out studies on the effects of tributyl tin (TBT) on dogwhelks in the seas around the UK, including the Irish sea. The results, based on surveys between 1994 and 2003, show that effects on reproduction only appear to be significant within a few hundred metres from point source discharges of TBT.

Regarding the impacts of nutrients, the UK completed an Assessment of the Eutrophication Status of UK Marine Waters in 2002 which found that the only eutrophication problem areas in the Irish sea were (a) the Inner Belfast Lough and tidal Lagan impoundment, and (b) Quoile Pondage in Strangford Lough. A further eutrophication assessment of UK marine waters, which is based on observations made between 2000 and 2005 and includes estuaries, is under way and will be published in 2008. The Environment Agency also monitors the eutrophication status of surface waters under the nitrates and urban wastewater treatment directives.

With regards to pollution incidents involving more than 0.01 tonnes of spillage which have occurred in the Irish sea, the Environment Agency's pollution incident database shows that there were 237 recorded incidents on or close to the Irish sea coast between 2004 and 2006. These cover a range of incident types and severities. Not all of these spillages or releases will have entered the waters of the Irish sea.

The monitoring of pollution in the Irish sea is carried out by a number of organisations in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Funds are generally allocated on a national basis and it is not possible to distinguish the specific amount of money allocated to monitoring pollution levels in the Irish sea.

The UK statutory bodies which monitor or fund the monitoring of pollution levels in UK marine waters are as follows: Defra, the Department of the Environment Northern Ireland, Welsh Assembly Government, Scottish Executive, the Fisheries Research Services in Scotland, the Environment Agency, the Scottish
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Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland, the Department for Transport, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Marine Coastguard Agency. Most of these will deal with some aspects of monitoring in the Irish sea.

A number of non-statutory bodies will also monitor pollution levels in the Irish sea, including marine institutes, universities, industries, and non-governmental organisations, but Defra does not hold records on this.

We are not aware of any recent assessments of specific direct effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (CBs) on the marine environment in the Irish sea. However, CB concentrations in sediments were measured at a number of sites around the UK between 1999 and 2002, with a number of samples in estuaries exceeding the ecotoxicological assessment criteria for CBs. Work is continuing on possible effects on marine mammals.

The UK Government cooperate with the Irish Government in the framework of the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic through participation in its Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme. Regular joint assessments of the status of the various regions of the North East Atlantic are made and, in the year 2000, a Quality Status Report (QSR) on the Celtic seas was published by OSPAR, which involved sustained contact between officials and scientists from all countries bordering the Celtic seas in providing the various assessments. Preparations are under way for the next QSR in 2010, and the cooperation continues.

The Joint Nutrient Study (Jonus) was a research programme carried out in the 1990s, which ended in 1999. The first phase of the programme established the extent of loss of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon) from the water that passes through estuaries from the land to the sea. The programme established some general rules that could be applied in nutrient budgeting and how this knowledge could be used in the management of marine eutrophication. The second phase of the programme compared two sea areas in terms of the impact on aspects of marine biology associated with land based nutrient input. The programme established a basis for further understanding the need to manage nutrient inputs and the criteria that could be used to distinguish any undesirable disturbance resulting from anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. This knowledge has been deployed in support of assessments under the relevant EC directives and for the OSPAR Convention.

Information help by Defra on the funding for the JONUS programme (Joint Assessment of Nutrients Study) shows that between 1990 and 1995, for JONUS1, there were two main funding components with the Department of the Environment (DoE)/Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions (Detr) contributing approximately £0.5 million a year and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) contributing about £0.6 million a year. JONUS2 took place between 1996 and 1999. The broad levels of funding for each year were £0.8 million, £0.95 million and £0.25 million respectively.

Information on UK loads of lindane, mercury, cadmium, lead, zinc, lindane and PCBs is held centrally only for the period 1990 to 2005 and is reported to the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North
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East Atlantic. Defra does not hold information on loads of nickel and arsenic.

Between 1990 and 2005, the estimated riverine and direct loads of cadmium, mercury, lead, zinc, lindane and PCB to the Irish sea (based on an average of the upper and lower values reported) reduced as shown in the following table. The figures include both naturally occurring sources of the metals and anthropogenic releases from point and diffuse sources.

1990 2005

Cd (tonne)



Hg (tonne)



Pb (tonne)



Zn (tonne)



g-HCH (kg)



PCB (kg)



Urban Areas: Land Drainage

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding his Department allocated to (a) researching and (b) implementing sustainable urban drainage systems in each year since 2000. [148337]

Mr. Woolas: Since 2000, the Department has funded research relating to sustainable drainage systems as follows:








In addition, DEFRA is funding 15 pilot projects across England looking at integrated urban drainage issues in a broader context. Several of these include consideration of issues relating to sustainable drainage systems. The total project value is £1.7 million.

Waste Disposal

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice his Department has given on the content of core strategies for waste disposal and waste treatment. [146785]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 5 July 2007]: Waste Strategy for England 2007, published on 24 May, sets out a range of measures to achieve the key objectives of less waste, more recycling and recovery of energy from waste and better treatment of residual waste. The strategy and its annexes contain a wealth of information and advice that should inform the development of more local strategies on waste—by organisations in both the public and private sectors. The strategy is available at and in the Library of House.

The Government expects all local authorities to have in place a fit for purpose and up-to-date Municipal Waste Management Strategy. In some two-tier areas this is a statutory requirement. Local authorities can be exempt from this requirement where they have met their recycling targets and obligations under the
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Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS), or for achieving an excellent or four star rating in their Comprehensive Performance Assessment. The Government have published two guidance documents to assist local authorities, setting out what Government expect strategies to contain and providing advice on the production of a strategy. Both documents are available from the waste pages of the Defra website.

Advice and support on business resource efficiency, including on reducing waste and recovering value from waste that is produced, is provided through the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) programme. This programme funds organisations such as the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the Environment Agency, Envirowise, National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) and Business Links to support businesses in effectively reducing and managing their waste.

Waste Disposal: Domestic Wastes

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department will be taking to reduce the amount of household waste not re-used, recycled or composted by 29 per cent. by 2010 as set out in the Revised Waste Strategy; and if he will make a statement. [146505]

Joan Ruddock: “Waste Strategy for England 2007”, published on 24 May 2007 sets out a number of measures which will support the achievement of this target.

Examples of measures in the strategy that will drive waste reduction include:

Examples of measures that will increase the amount of waste re-used, recycled and composted include:

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