HL Deb 19 April 1995 vol 563 cc49-50WA
Baroness Nicol

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the statistics recorded in Social Trends for United Kingdom waste arisings showed a drop from 700 million tonnes in 1992 to 400 million tonnes in 1993 and 1994, and why the 1995 edition does not give any statistics on the subject.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater)

Estimates of waste arisings in the UK are generally very imprecise. An annual series, showing trends over time, is not available for most types of waste. The fall of approximately 300 million tonnes in UK waste arisings between the figures quoted in 1992 and that quoted in 1993 is not therefore a reflection of a reduction in the amount of waste produced; it is primarily a result of a revision of both the definition of wastes and the methods used to estimate waste arisings. The main changes are a reduction of around 120 million tonnes in estimates of wastes from mining and quarrying activities, which were previously thought to be overestimated, and a reduction of around 170 million tonnes in estimates of agricultural waste, to exclude waste from grazing animals which was previously included in the estimate (only housed animal waste is now included). A fuller description of the changes was given in theDigest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics. No. 14 and No. 15.

The topics covered in Social Trends change from year to year to maintain topicality and ensure that over a period of time a wide range of topics and sources are covered. Statistics on UK waste arisings were omitted from the 1995 edition of Social Trends because figures were unchanged from those available in 1994.