HC Deb 24 April 1998 vol 310 cc709-10W
Ms Walley

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will make a statement on funding for research and development into remediation technologies applicable to contaminated land.[39353]

Mr. Battle

There are a range of schemes to encourage R&D applicable to contaminated land remediation. The main ones are listed below.

The Foresight programme brings together Government, industry and researchers to define a common agenda.

The five year Link Biological Treatment of Soil & Water Programme provided £4.6m of Government funding; although it is now closed to new projects dissemination is ongoing.

The Water Biotreatment Club is a forum established with DTI funding for those involved in environmental biotechnology research and development.

The Biotechnology Means Business (BMB) Initiative is a package of measures aimed at increasing awareness of the opportunities biotechnology presents and encouraging implementation of biotechnology within industry.

URGENT is a £9.7m programme of urban environmental research launched in February of this year, which will include research into the costs involved in recovering and developing contaminated land.

CONSEPT will be a series of land remediation technology projects—some to be underway by the Autumn. The Steering group is chaired by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions. It aims to take forward remediation technologies from the scientists' bench to workable, marketable solutions by getting research bodies and industry together to establish test sites. The budget is c.£10k per year for approximately 3 years.

The SMART scheme provides grants to assist with technical and commercial feasibility studies into innovative technology and to develop, up to pre-production prototype, new products or processes which demonstrate significant advances on existing technology.

Finally there is the Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme: contaminated land remediation is not a priority area at present but could be considered if industry put forward a case.