§ Mr. Jack
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish a diary of events leading to the implementation of the EU Directive on the disposal of refrigerators and freezers; what discussions her Department has had in the last five years with the retail industry on this matter; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 5 February 2002]In 1998, the original European Commission proposal for a regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer (ODS) did not require the recovery and recycling of ODS from the refrigeration equipment unless it was "practicable". An amendment to the article on recovery in the draft regulation was agreed in February 1999 at the EC Environment Council meeting. Between February 1999 and mid-2001, UK officials repeatedly asked the Commission for formal clarification of the position of ODS in the insulating foam of refrigeration equipment. The occasions on which this was raised by the UK and other member states, either directly or implicitly during discussion of items for clarification, are as follows:
- EC Regulation 3093/94 Management Committee meeting, 23 February 1999;
- EC Regulation 3093/94 Management Committee meeting, 11 October 1999;
- EC Regulation 3093/94 Management Committee meeting, 1 March 2000;
- Margins of the Montreal Protocol meeting in Geneva, July 2000;
- DETR letter to European Commission dated 11 September 2000;
- EC Regulation 2037/2000 Management Committee meeting, 4–6 October 2000;
- DETR letter to European Commission dated 30 January 2001;
- EC Regulation 2037/2000 Management Committee meeting, 13–14 March 2001.
- EC Regulation 2037/2000 Extraordinary Management Committee meeting, 11–12 June 2001;
EC Regulation 2037/2000 entered into force on 1 October 2000. In June 2001, the European Commission formally clarified that mandatory recovery and recycling also applied to ODS in fridge insulating foam as of 1 January 2002.
The Department, with assistance from colleagues in DTI, has been in regular contact with the refrigeration retail industry on the effect of legislation. Retailers were represented at refrigeration sector group meetings at which the regulation was discussed.
Since the middle of last year, the Department has worked closely with retailers and other stakeholders on practical arrangements to deal with the disposal of waste fridges and freezers. Representatives of the retail industry attended several stakeholder meetings and a number of smaller meetings to discuss the impact of the regulation on retailer take-back schemes. We are continuing to work with retailers to identify means to encourage the reinstatement of take-back schemes.
§ Mr. Boris Johnson
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding Oxfordshire county council will receive in order to dispose of refrigerators. 
§ Mr. Meacher
£6 million has been added to the provisional local government finance settlement for 2002–03 for the costs of implementing the ozone depleting substances regulation relating to the period 1 January 2002 to 31 March 2002. This will be distributed to local authorities using standard spending assessments (SSA). The extra money has been added to the upper tier sub-block of the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services SSA. We are continuing to assess the impacts of the regulation and will determine what further action is required beyond that.