HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 cc4-5W
Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 8 March 2002,Official Report, column 641W, on the Pollution Inspectorate, what the qualifications are to which she refers; which consultants were commissioned in 2000, what the process was through which any contract was awarded, the month in which this took place, and the terms of reference of this work; if she will place in the Library a copy of their report, and other documentation relating to this work; if she will describe the process by which the contract for carrying out a trial methodology was undertaken; which local authorities, process operators and trade associations were involved in the trial; to whom it is planned to issue the trial report for comments; and how these comments will be utilised. [44427]

Mr. Meacher

I have placed in the Library a copy of the 1995 guidance note on inspection frequency, which advised on circumstances where the specified normal inspection rate of twice a year might warrant increase or decrease.

The consultants, Risk and Policy Analysts, were commissioned in June 2000 as a result of competitive tendering. The terms of reference for the study and the trials it reproduced as Annexe 5 to their October 2000 report which is available on the DEFRA website.

The report was sent to the Department on 26 March and I expect to decide the next steps shortly. As I said in my reply of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 720W, the report has been placed on the DEFRA website as part of a three-month consultation exercise.

The trials methodology, including the method of selecting the processes involved and the industry sectors represented, is described in the report. I am grateful to all participants for their contribution to the trials. The list of participating operators could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The local authorities involved in the trials were City of York council, Fylde borough council, Wandsworth borough council, Rochdale metropolitan borough council, mid-Devon district council, Exeter city council, south Tyneside metropolitan borough council, Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council, Mansfield district council, Anglesey county council, Guildford borough council, Rochford district council, and Great Yarmouth port health authority. The two trade associations which submitted comments to the consultants were UK Steel and the Environmental Industries Association.

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