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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): All institutions in receipt of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) are required to enter into a Financial Memorandum with the council. It sets out the duties on the institution to properly account for and deploy public funds, and where necessary for the council to provide additional help to institutions encountering financial problems. The University of Cumbria is going through a period of restructuring at present. HEFCE is providing assistance to the university through this process. We have no reason to lack confidence in either the institution or in HEFCE's handling of the situation. A further inquiry is not therefore required at this stage.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will undertake not to grant a visa or permission to enter the United Kingdom to any individual accused by the United Nations of war crimes, rape, or human rights violations in the Congo or Rwanda. [HL3109]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is government policy that the UK should not be a safe haven for war criminals or those who commit crimes against humanity. Any named individual accused of war crimes would normally be refused entry clearance under paragraph 320(19) of the Immigration Rules on the grounds that their presence in the United Kingdom would not be conducive to the public good.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Environment Agency at closing waste facilities that are not permitted or registered as exempt facilities. [HL3132]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The Government provide the Environment Agency with powers to secure compliance with legislation or to take appropriate enforcement action where this cannot be achieved.
The Environment Agency has an ongoing programme to tackle illegal waste sites and is committed to tackling sites according to the risk they pose. Since April 2008, the Environment Agency has closed 1,467 illegal waste sites in England and Wales, 305 of which were categorised as higher risk.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Environment Agency concluded that the minimum safe distance from biological treatment facilities of residential properties or workplaces was 250 metres. [HL3133]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Environment Agency believes that the 250 metres limit is sufficiently precautionary, based on currently available knowledge. It will continue to keep under review its policy on composting and health effects and amend it, if necessary, in the light of any relevant new research or evidence.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): In October 2007, the Environment Agency issued a revised policy statement entitled Our position on composting and potential health effects from bioaerosols. This document clarified the requirement for a site-specific bioaerosol risk assessment if there is a workplace or dwelling within 250 metres of the composting site boundary. A financial impact assessment was not deemed to be appropriate as the document did not alter the original 2001 position.
To ask Her Majesty's Government who would meet the cost of relocating any previously identified open windrow compost site that is within 250 metres of a receptor and which does not have an environmental permit. [HL3135]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many small-scale compost sites on farms have not met the requirements for a standard permit, in light of the Environmental Agency policy statement regarding the 250-metre rule. [HL3136]
When registering such sites, the Environment Agency is not required to ask for any information beyond its regulatory remit and therefore does not hold information on whether an exempt site is a farm or not.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Environment Agency has considered the environmental impact of moving compost sites further away from the waste arisings in considering the 250-metre rule. [HL3137]
To ask Her Majesty's Government where low-level radioactive waste storage sites are located; how many successful and unsuccessful applications for low-level radioactive waste storage have been made in the past five years at each location; and how
6 Apr 2010 : Column WA424
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Low level radioactive waste (LLW) generally has a low potential hazard and can consist of contaminated equipment and protective clothing from facilities that handle nuclear material, or contaminated materials such as concrete rubble.
Storage of radioactive materials and waste on licensed nuclear sites in the UK is regulated by the HSE's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. Waste quantities and sources are set out in the UK Radioactive Waste Inventory (www.nda.gov.uk/ukinventory/sites/). Most LLW is generated on nuclear sites but is only routinely stored for short periods before being sent to the LLW repository in west Cumbria. One new nuclear installation has been licensed to store LLW in the past five years-that for a metal recycling facility operated by Studsvik UK in west Cumbria. There have been no unsuccessful applications to store LLW at nuclear licensed sites and no applications are outstanding.
Radioactive waste is also generated in smaller quantities by non-nuclear industry activities such as the health, education and wider industrial sectors and is regulated by the environment agencies. If authorised by the environment agencies, LLW can be stored on these non-nuclear sites. In England and Wales, 775 non-nuclear premises are authorised by the Environment Agency and most of these will involve storage of small amounts of LLW, pending disposal. Most of the applications for authorisations in the past five years were approved. In Scotland, over 300 non-nuclear premises are currently authorised by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
In Northern Ireland, there are 25 non-nuclear premises that hold authorisations for the storage of LLW. Four of these have been authorised in the past five years, no unsuccessful applications have been made and there are no applications pending.
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