Examination of witnesses (Questions 311
WEDNESDAY 8 JULY 1998
AND Mr Bob Barker
311. First of all, may I say thank you very
much for coming along today. I realise you have not put in a direct
report on this but obviously this is an area which must concern
you in some way or other. Before I start, is there anything you
would like to say as an overview?
(Dr Leinster) Not really. I can introduce the
members here if that would be of assistance. My name is Dr Paul
Leinster; I am Director of Environmental Protection at the Environment
Agency. On my right is Paul Tempany, who is a policy manager within
the waste function at head office. On my left is Bob Barker, who
is environmental protection manager from the north east region.
Both of them have been personally involved in projects within
Russia so that is why they are here. They will be able to give
personal insight into the workings.
312. Thank you very much indeed. Perhaps
we could start, if we may, by just asking you to give us a general
picture of the extent to which the Agency has been involved in
technology and know-how transfer with the New Independent States.
I think we would especially like you to talk about Russia and
the Ukraine. Have you any experience of projects funded by the
European TACIS programme?
(Dr Leinster) To begin with Bob will talk about
a project in Tomsk and then Paul about a project in Moscow.
(Mr Barker) The project in Tomsk, which is in
Siberia, is a project to develop an environment management MSc
course for fifth year students at Tomsk University and the environmental
regulators in the Ecological Committee. It is a TACIS-Tempus project
run jointly by Sheffield University and Utrecht University with
connections with Oxford University and ourselves, and a member
of the Agency sits on the management team of that project. Really
the project is very much about ensuring that there is an appropriate
training for the long term regulation of the particular Tomsk
Oblast. The project is very much about training for the future
regulators of the Tomsk Oblast to ensure there is appropriate
environmental regulation. In addition, there is a second project
connected to the first one which is funded from the Know-How Fund
where we are involved in looking at how improving the environment
can also improve the profitability of various industries and a
member of the Agency has recently visited Siberia to give a two
day seminar on that. There is a series of visits between the regulators
and Tomsk University and the Dutch and English universities and
the Agency, exchange visits, to ensure that the project is progressing
and the course is developed.
313. This is exchange at what level?
(Mr Barker) Exchange at director of the Ecological
Committee in Tomsk level and officer level and university and
director and lecturer level, so all the appropriate levels within
the projects to ensure that there is both management and on-the-ground
implementation, and that people fully understand what is happening
and that it is co-ordinated.
(Mr Tempany) The project I have led is slightly
different. We were invited two years ago by ERM to input into
a World Bank project. There are five major World Bank projects
on environmental improvement projects in Russia totalling $56
million. The project we were asked to input into was hazardous
waste management. As it turned out, it was a broader term than
our definition of hazardous waste might beperhaps industrial
waste might be more appropriate. The ERM project is in two parts.
Firstly, to come up with a hazardous waste classification system
to be used and, secondly, to develop the classification system
within an oblast. This is a demonstration project so it could
be taken up by the State and used throughout Russia. We provided
a team to go over to Moscow to do two days of intensive work shops
with managers and directors from both the oblast and from Moscow
and then a team of ten Russians came back to the UK and we took
them up to the north east region so they could meet regulators
and managers in the field, and managers of systems which they
were particularly interested in. Also we could then demonstrate
to them our practices and how we have solved problems, and the
problems we still face.
314. Do you feel, in general terms, the
Russian situation is vastly different and that the problems you
are having to deal with there are significantly different, say,
than problems in the European Union?
(Mr Tempany) Yes. The size of Russia is absolutely
astonishing. We went to Moscow and the people from the oblast
flew into meet us which was almost just about halfway. That just
gives you a slight indication. The oblast we were dealing with
was about ten times the size of the UK with a population of five
or ten million but had an area that had been extensively mined;
there were lots of problems with abandoned mines, mining waste
and smelting residues. I think an area at least the size of the
Netherlands concerned with just that problem. We had one example
where they asked us about how we would model a pollution incident
100 kilometres downstream of river and that put us somewhere in
the North Sea! They were talking about rivers 2,000 kilometres
long. The size of their sources is large and the country is very
large but in the UK we have a much higher population density and
although perhaps the problem might be smaller, the impact on the
environment becomes as high and this is important.
Lord Mackie of Benshie
315. Were the people you were dealing ignorant
of the problems, or did they know as much as you about them?
(Mr Tempany) They were very well educated and
very well aware of the problems they were dealing with. They were
technically competent and very well qualified. They were concerned
about the differences in management systems and how to implement
and put that knowledge into practice and into practical regulation
in the field.
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
316. I would like to ask exactly what is
the Centre for Preparation of Implementation of International
Projects on Technical Assistance, and how does it relate to the
UK Environmental Know-How Fund?
(Mr Tempany) The CPPI is a wholly State sponsored
organisation. They report to the Ministry of the Environment.
They are responsible for overseeing, certainly, these five major
World Bank projects and other environmental inputs but they do
not have any direct links to our Know-How Fund as suchor
not that we are aware of.
317. But could they possibly apply for Know-How
funding in the future? Is there an institutional divide or, at
the present moment, is it that there is no relationship suitable?
(Mr Tempany) That is right. There does not appear
to be a relationship at the moment. They may well apply and within
the UK will have future contact with the Environment Agency, yes.
318. Would you say they consider it easier
to go for Know-How funding in this country or, perhaps, straight
to Germany or America rather than going through Brussels, in other
(Mr Tempany) I could not really comment on that
I am afraid. My project was part of a World Bank funded project
but we had Know-How funding for our expenses to take part in that.
How easy they found it to access funds, I am not sure.
Lord Mackie of Benshie
319. How long did it take them to set up
(Mr Tempany) From the first invitation, two years.