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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 July 2001]: The Countryside Agency is responsible for designating National Parks in England, subject to the confirmation of a designation order by the Secretary of State. In September 1999 the Government asked the Countryside Agency to consider designating two National Parks in the South Downs and the New Forest and we await their recommendations.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies have been undertaken by the Environment Agency to establish whether radioactive isotypes and toxins have leached into watercourses surrounding the Rolls Royce waste disposal site in Crich, Derbyshire; and if she will publish the results. 
Mr. Meacher: The Environment Agency and its predecessor bodies has sampled water and silt in watercourses around Hilts Quarry, Crich over many years and the analysis results are available on the Agency's public registers. As part of its determination of two applications for revised radioactive waste disposal authorisations submitted by Rolls Royce Marine Power Operations Limited, the Agency has asked for further information and analysis to be undertaken. In particular the Agency asked Rolls Royce on 18 May 2001 to conduct a detailed analysis of the site under Regulation 15 of
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the Waste Management Licence Regulations 1994 (The Protection of Groundwater with Respect to Landfill). The assessment is likely to take six to 12 months, depending on the complexity of the investigation.
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 July 2001]: Waste disposal sites operate under the terms of waste management licences and are subject to the controls set out in Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. The purpose of licences is to ensure that waste is disposed of in ways which protect the environment and human health. Failure to comply with a licence condition, or the disposal of waste in a manner likely to cause environmental pollution or harm to human health, is a criminal offence.
The Environment Agency has a legal duty to inspect all licensed sites and section 42 of the 1990 Act requires the Agency to take the steps needed to ensure that (a) the activities authorised by a licence do not cause environmental pollution, harm to human health or serious detriment to local amenities; and (b) the conditions of a licence are complied with. It is the responsibility of the Environment Agency to assess whether any steps are needed to ensure compliance with these provisions.
The Environment Agency may suspend or revoke a licence in the circumstances set out in section 38 of the 1990 Act. I understand that, on the basis of the evidence currently available to it, the Agency has no plans to serve a notice of suspension or revocation in relation to the licence for the Crich site.
However, I understand that the Environment Agency has initiated a review of the licence for the Crich site under regulation 15 of the 1994 Regulations. The aim of this review is to assess the impact, if any, of the disposal of waste on groundwater and to ensure its protection by the use, so far as may be necessary, of the Agency's powers under sections 37 and 38 of the 1990 Act (variation, suspension or revocation of licences). I am also advised that the current licence conditions for the Crich site require the licence holder to provide and maintain sites gates and boundary fencing in a manner which prohibits unauthorised access; and that the gates must be securely locked when the site is unmanned.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent measurements have been taken of levels of radioactivity in (a) water and (b) air at the Rolls Royce waste disposal site at Crich, Derbyshire. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 July 2001]: The Environment Agency took samples of water and silt in surrounding watercourses on 19 June 2001, and the analysis results were placed on the public register on 9 July 2001. This sampling exercise did not detect any
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radioactivity above background levels. No air analysis is carried out in the Crich area, as the material from the Rolls Royce site in Derby is buried at the site.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of emissions from the Rolls Royce site at Crich, Derbyshire, on (a) local residential properties and (b) schools. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 July 2001]: The Environment Agency and its predecessor bodies has carried out assessments of the impact of emissions from the landfill site at Hilts Quarry, Crich, since the first authorisation was granted to Rolls Royce to dispose of very low level radioactive waste there in the 1960s. In the context of applications that Rolls Royce Marine Power Operations Ltd. made last year for the disposal of limited quantities of very low level radioactive waste, the Environment Agency is examining the continued suitability of the Crich site for this purpose. The Agency's assessment will include impacts in the vicinity of the site.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if it is the policy of the Government that manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment should meet the cost of collecting such equipment from private householders when it is put out for disposal. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 July 2001]: No decisions have been taken on which party or parties should be made responsible or partly responsible for the cost of collecting electrical and electronic equipment from private householders. In reaching its decision the Government will consider the relevant costs and benefits to all parties and take in to account the adopted Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.
Mr. Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much of the Waste Recovery Action Programme's 200102 budget to stimulate recycling has been allocated (a) in total and (b) to each project involved. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 July 2001]: Total Government funding for WRAP for 200102 is £9,615,000. This includes contributions from DEFRA, DTI, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales. That funding has been initially allocated to core costs, programme development costs and to eight areas of programme delivery as set out in the following table. WRAP are currently in the process of developing individual projects, along the lines set out in their business plan, which can be viewed at www.wrap.org.uk.
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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessments she has made of the method of reporting of progress by energy conservation authorities under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995; and if she will work in conjunction with energy conservation authorities via the National HECA Forum to prepare a better reporting system of energy conservation authorities' progress under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995; 
(3) if energy conservation authorities are on course to reach the improvement target in energy efficiency by 2010 under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995; 
(4) what steps she proposes to take in each of the next three years to assist energy conservation authorities to meet the energy efficiency target set under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995; and what plans she has to publish a long-term strategy to help energy conservation authorities reach that target. 
Mr. Meacher: [holding answers 16 July 2001]: Under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA), energy conservation authorities are obliged to prepare a report identifying practicable and cost effective measures to improve significantly the energy efficiency of all residential accommodation in their area and to report on progress made in implementing those measures. There is no statutory target, but "significant" has been defined as 30 per cent. and strategies are expected to make at least substantial progress towards 30 per cent. improvement over 10 years.
Details of the reported percentage improvements in the period 1 April 1996 to 31 March 2000 have been placed in the Libraries of the House in my reply to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Linda Gilroy) on 30 November 2000, Official Report, columns 75758W.
The Government assist local authorities with their work on energy efficiency by providing financial support for the Energy Saving Trust's local authority programme. Over the last six years, the HECAction initiative has awarded grants to 339 local authorities, totalling £23 million. This pump-priming has levered in an estimated £200 million in private sector funding.
I recently announced a review of the policy framework within which local authorities carry out their energy efficiency activities, to be completed by the end of the year. One of the issues that this will address is the operation of HECA, including its reporting requirements
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and how they might be improved. We will involve stakeholders in the review process and will actively seek the views of energy conservation authorities on how they can make greater progress in improving energy efficiency in the future.
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