HC Deb 26 March 1998 vol 309 cc212-3W
Mr. Levitt

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what assessment he has made of the risks posed to food safety by the use of treated sewage sludge on agricultural land; [36061]

(2) what progress is being made towards the target of 100 per cent. of sewage sludge being treated by 2002; [36059]

(3) what changes he is considering to the 1996 Code of Practice for the Agricultural use of Sewage Sludge; [36060]

(4) if he will take measures to encourage the disposal of treated sewage sludge on agricultural land. [36062]

Angela Eagle

The Government consider that the controlled use of sewage sludge on agricultural land is the best environmental option for most sludges—particularly where there is ready access to suitable land. Government measures to encourage this use, and to maintain the confidence of farmers and their customers in it, include a review of the adequacy of the current controls in The Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989 and the associated Code of Practice. This review, which contains an assessment of the controls to protect food safety, taking into account the latest scientific evidence, will be scrutinised by independent experts and published in the next few months. Decisions on proposed changes to the 1989 Regulations or the Code of Practice, including any targets on treatment requirements, will be based on the results of the review and will take into account the recent recommendations of the Environment Sub-Committee of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee.

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