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Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent on the development of (a) water and (b) waste recycling facilities in each of the last three years. (245867)

DEFRA spent the following amounts on water saving initiatives and waste and recycling facilities in each of the last three years:





Water saving initiatives




Waste and recycling facilities




DEFRA includes water saving technologies in all its major refurbishment and new building projects, to ensure that every possible water saving efficiency is addressed at the earliest stage. Technologies that are widely used throughout the estate include: rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing; low flush toilets; waterless urinals; efficient showers and passive infra-red sensor taps.

Significant investment has also been made on DEFRA's laboratory estate to replace older inefficient autoclaves with more water efficient versions. (An autoclave is a device used to sterilise laboratory equipment. The process uses significant quantities of water to produce steam). DEFRA also has an ongoing programme of leak detection surveys throughout its estate.

DEFRA recently invested in new recycling bins and waste storage areas as part of its ‘Bin the Bin’ binless office programme initially across the London estate, to decrease waste arisings and increase recycling. This has been an award winning initiative which, wherever possible within the constraints of each site, is being replicated across the estate.