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Recycling

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the likelihood of achieving a household recycling rate of 25 per cent. by 2005. [125040]

The provisional estimates from the Department's "Municipal Waste Management Survey" for 2001–02 show that 12.4 per cent. of household waste in England was recycled or composted in that year. We are planning to meet our targets for 2005.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will set (a) national and (b) local statutory targets for waste minimisation; and if she will make a statement. [125122]

The Strategy Unit in its Report, "Waste Not Want Not", recommended that Defra in conjunction with ODPM and others should develop proposals for alternative indicators that incorporate success in reducing waste volumes—for example, new combined minimisation and recycling targets for local authorities.In its response, published on 6 May 2003, it recognised that progress must be made towards reducing waste. However, before considering whether to set waste reduction targets for local authorities, the Government will consider what levers local authorities have for reducing waste and whether, in fact, a reduction target is an effective means of encouraging waste reduction.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will raise the national targets for recycling of household waste to (a) 35 per cent. by 2010 and (b) 45 per cent. by 2015; and if she will make a statement. [125123]

In Waste Strategy 2000 the Government set a target of recycling or composting at least 30 per cent. of household waste by 2010 and 33 per cent. by 2015. The Strategy Unit report, "Waste Not Want Not", published in November 2002, recommended higher national recycling targets of 35 per cent. by 2010 and 45 per cent. by 2015. We recognise that national recycling rates higher than the current targets are both possible and desirable. The Government response to the Strategy Unit report commits us to reviewing the national recycling targets in the light of progress made by local authorities in meeting their 2003–04 targets.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which materials will be included in the review of a ban on the landfilling of recyclable products due to be carried out in 2006. [125125]

There is currently no ban on landfilling of recyclable materials and no review of a ban is due to be carried out in 2006. However, the Strategy Unit's Report, "Waste Not, Want Not", recommended that Defra and DTI should review the case for a ban on the landfilling of recyclable products in 2006–07, and at the same time, consider the case for a similar ban on incinerating recyclable products.In their response to the Report, the Government said they would like to see increased utilisation of valuable resources which are currently wasted but many materials will only be recycled if there is demand for them. Developing sustainable markets for recyclable materials is, therefore, an important prerequisite to a ban—the Government do not want to create a new problem by requiring the long-term storage of recyclable materials for which markets have not been developed. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) was created to help develop these markets and the Government will continue to support WRAP'S role in market development. It would be preferable to avoid bans until other, more flexible, options have been exhausted.However, the Government will review progress in market development and recycling rates in 2006–07, and reconsider the case for banning disposal of recyclable products or materials then. The Strategy Unit has specifically mentioned a ban on biodegradable material if the other instruments designed to meet Article 5 of the Landfill Directive are failing to make progress. The system of tradable landfill allowances being set up under the Waste and Emissions Trading Bill will progressively reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste being disposed of to landfill.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on Government waste minimisation programmes to (a) increase the number of households that practise composting, (b) promote reusable nappies, (c) promote a reduction of waste from supermarket purchased products and (d) create an innovation fund to develop innovative ways to deal with waste. [125129]

In accordance with the recommendations of the Strategy Unit, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will be taking forward a number of waste minimisation activities as part of Defra's new Waste Implementation Programme (WIP). These include a targeted national home composting programme to promote best practice and partnership working among local authorities, the development of a re-useable nappy service with a programme of support for SMEs, a major retailer initiative working with the top five supermarket chains and a waste innovation fund to provide resources to support innovation by retailers and others in areas such as minimising material used in consumer products. The budget to deliver these measures is £8 million in 2003–04.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the objectives of the Recycling and Organics Technical Advisory Team are; who the members of the team are; how they were selected; and if she will make a statement. [125130]

In accordance with the recommendations of the Strategy Unit, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will be taking forward a kerbside recycling best practice programme. This programme will include the development of a Recycling and Organics Technical Advisory Team (ROTATE) whose objective will be to provide a national centre of excellence available as an advisory service to local authorities needing to implement and improve kerbside recycling, with some emphasis on organics collection systems and complementary support on Civic Amenity and bring site development.The ROTATE team will be made up of a combination of in-house staff at WRAP and specialist external advisors. Staff recruitment is currently under way for the ROTATE Team Manager, and specialist advisers will be appointed through a competitive process, drawing on a range of appropriate expertise from the United Kingdom and overseas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role the Government will have in setting measurable targets for increasing public awareness and participation in recycling and waste minimisation activities which the Waste Resources Action Programme is undertaking as part of the Waste Awareness Programme; and if she will make a statement. [125131]

Defra will work closely with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to define a number of output measures against which the progress of the education and awareness programme will be measured.There are two elements to target setting for the WRAP'S education arid awareness programme. First, the setting of targets related to the national awareness programme and second, targets for raised awareness and improved participation in kerbside schemes related to support for local authority programmes.A detailed review is being conducted by WRAP on target setting as part of an intensive first period of investigation and planning. WRAP will also call on a number of recent examples of good practice in communication campaigns that could assist in informing target setting, such as the work conducted by Rethink Rubbish in various local authorities across England.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on Government plans to promote the implementation of waste management technologies as an alternative to landfill. [125132]

In accordance with the recommendations of the Strategy Unit, Defra will be taking forward a new technologies workstream as a part of the new Waste Implementation Programme.This workstream will deliver a number of objectives to overcome barriers to the successful development and take-up of alternative waste management technologies which reduce the environmental impact of waste disposal in England.This workstream will consist of four programmes of activity: a Waste Research and Innovation Programme, for research and development into new technologies; a Demonstrator Programme to help establish new commercially viable waste treatment technologies; a Waste Technology Support Programme, a programme of impartial advice and support to local authorities and the waste management industry; and a Waste Technology Data Centre, to be managed by the Environment Agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much investment through PFI there has been in waste projects since the establishment of the Waste PFI Delivery Plan; and how much future investment in waste projects the Government estimate can be achieved through PFI projects. [125133]

The table sets out the level of funding that has been approved for waste PFI projects.

Local authorityDateapproved at outline stageDaleapproved at final stageAmount of PFI credits (£)
Central BerkshireAugust 2002n/a37
CornwallMay 2003n/a25
East Sussex, Brighton and HoveOctober 1999March 200349
ELWAOctober 2000January 200347
GloucestershireJanuary 2003n/a25,105
Hereford and WorcesterFebruary 199857
Isle of Wightn/aOctober 199713
Kirkleesn/aMarch 199833.9
LeicesterJuly 2000May 200330,841
South GloucestershireAugust 1998July 199933.3
SurreyJune 1998June 199985.5
West BerkshireMay 2003n/a23.74
West SussexAugust 2002n/a25
Spending Review 2002 allocated £355 million for waste PFI projects for the three years of that review period (£100 million in 2003–04, £125 million in 2004–05 and £130 million in 2005–06). The forthcoming Spending Review 2004 will include a view on the need for PFI resources in the three future years that are addressed by that review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will allocate additional resources to waste policy; and if she will make a statement. [125134]

Additional resources have been allocated for additional staff to deliver the recommendations in the Strategy Unit report, "Waste Not Want Not" and for policy development.Defra has established a new 'Waste Implementation Programme' team to take forward the recommendations of the Strategy Unit. Consistent with the Strategy Unit's recommendations and the requirements of the Landfill Directive, the team's focus will be municipal waste.The Waste Implementation Programme will run a Sustainable Waste Management Programme for England comprising around £84 million in 2003–04 and £92 million for the years 2004–05 and 2005–06.Along with these new measures, the Government has confirmed that £1.5 million will be made available for administrative resource in Defra to implement waste delivery. Recruitment for additional posts is under way.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding her Department has provided for the Waste Resources Action Programme in each year since its inception; and what its projected funding is. [125135]

Defra has provided the following funding (rounded to the nearest thousand) for each year of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) since its inception:

£000
2001–026,326,000
2002–0310,473,000
2003–0436,015,000
Total52,814,000
WRAP will also be receiving funding from Defra for its contribution to delivering some of the workstreams under the Waste Implementation Programme.The Department of Trade and Industry and the Devolved Administrations also fund WRAP.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who the members are of the steering board set up to provide leadership and advice to the sustainable waste delivery programme; and what the process was by which they were appointed. [125136]

In accordance with the recommendations of the Strategy Unit, Defra has established a Steering Group to drive delivery of Defra's Waste Implementation Programme.David Varney, chairman of mmO2, will chair the group, which will comprise the following independent members who were appointed on the basis of their expertise and interest in the key areas of the programme, and their skills and experience in delivery.

  • Lynton Barker—Hedra;
  • Vie Cocker—WRAP;
  • Dan Corry—New Local Government Network;
  • Fiona Driscoll—Prime Minister's Delivery Unit;
  • Sir John Harman—Environment Agency;
  • Maxine Holdsworth—National Consumer Council;
  • Andy Moore—Community Recycling Network;
  • David North—Tesco;
  • David Riddle—Environmental Services Association;
  • John Schultz—Stockport Council;
  • Gordon Shields—Shields Environmental Plc;
  • Bill Stow—Defra; and
  • Cllr Kay Twitchen—Essex county council, currently chair of Local Government Association Waste Executive.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the Government will introduce penalties for local authorities which fail to meet the Government's statutory targets for recycling. [125137]

The Government's statutory targets for recycling have been set under the Best Value regime. The Secretary of State has powers under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999 to act where local authorities are failing to deliver best value. The way in which these powers would be used in support of Statutory Performance Standards for recycling and composting of household waste is set out in Annex A of "Guidance on Municipal Waste Management Strategies" (DETR March 2001), which can be found on Defra's website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/management/ guidance/mwms/10.htm or in the Library of the House. The protocol to which Annex A refers has been agreed with the Local Government Association setting out the principles under which these powers will be used, and has been revised recently.The Government have made it clear that they will work with local authorities to ensure that such failures are minimised, and that intervention will be the exception. The powers would be used predominantly to achieve improvements in service delivery, as opposed to tackling procedural failures. The nature and severity of the intervention will vary, and need to reflect several factors such as the amount by which the standard is missed, the steps a local authority had taken to achieve the standard, external factors such as problems with a market for a particular material, or unusual occurrences such as the recent fuel crisis and the likelihood of the local authority meeting the standard in the immediate future. If there was evidence to suggest that a local authority was not taking the right sort of steps in respect of its waste management duties generally, or its recycling standards in particular, then Ministers have made clear that they will take that very seriously.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) household and (b) commercial waste was recycled in Shrewsbury and Atcham in each year since 1997. broken down by materials. [125626]

[holding answer 14 July 2003]: Figures in tonnes relating to household waste from the Municipal Waste Management Survey returns for Shrewsbury and Atcham since 1997 are as follows:

1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–02
Glass6768709499961,076
Paper and Card2,0012,5912,4992,5562,649
Cans (mixed)3539577269
Textiles2536385760
Scrap metal and white goods401965
Compostable waste4850
Books6
Total2,7773,5553,5433,8003,904
These data cover Shrewsbury and Atcham Waste Collection Authority. An unknown proportion of waste from households in the area would have been recycled at Civic Amenity sites. However, the Civic Amenity site data are provided by the Waste Disposal Authority (in this case Shropshire) and would cover all WCAs within its boundaries.No data are available on the proportion of commercial waste recycled within the area.