§ Sue Doughty
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on Government plans to investigate options for charging schemes for household waste with(a) the Local Government Association and (b) other stakeholders. 912W
of products (oral, injectables, ointments and drops) to treat conditions in a variety of animal species. Alternative products are also available.
§ Mr. Morley
In its response to the Strategy Unit report, the Government has undertaken to carry out further work before any decision is taken to enable local authorities to implement direct or variable charging for waste. This will look at the practicalities of operating schemes, how potential disadvantages could be overcome, and will analyse international experience of such schemes. The work will be carried out in co-operation with the Local Government Association and other stakeholders and will start this summer thus enabling Government to review its position on this in 2004.
Issues to be addressed in the further work include
(a) The potential concerns about the effects of pilot schemes:how to ensure that a local authority has facilities and services in place to help householders reduce or recycle waste (e.g. help with home composting, kerbside collection of separate materials for recycling) when they introduce a pilot scheme to ensure public support;how to make any charges equitable (e.g. reflect size of household and ability to pay);the enforcement issues to prevent waste tourism (householders using free/cheaper facilities in neighbouring authorities) and fly-tipping.
(b) The practical and financial arrangements for schemes:what is the cost of introducing and administering schemes;how will any additional net revenue raised by pilot schemes be used;how will the financial arrangements for pilot schemes interact with other local authority funding for waste, council tax etc;what new legal powers are required.
(c) The potential effectiveness of pilot schemes on reducing waste, increasing recycling etc.—drawing on international experience.
§ Vera Baird
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of barriers in terms of regulatory control to an increase in the composting of household waste. 
§ Mr. Morley
The Animal By-products Regulations 2003 came into force on 1 July and the previous ban on composting kitchen waste has been lifted and replaced by a registration/licensing system of facilities that wish to take part in this activity. The system is controlled by the state veterinary service and enforced by local 913W authorities. The aim of the Regulations is to minimise the burdens on the composting industry while safeguarding animal and public health. Like all facilities involved with managing waste, large scale composting plants also require a waste management licence from the Environment Agency. Building new plants would require planning permission. These requirements do not in themselves create barriers, but allow facilities to be judged against environmental standards and local development plans.
A large number of local authorities already compost garden waste and/or encourage home composting. We would expect the amount of waste that is composted or used in biogas production to increase once the ban on, composting kitchen waste is lifted.
§ Vera Baird
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the latest figures are for the proportion of organic household waste composted(a) in England and (b) in the North East; and what plans she has to increase the amount composted in the next five years. 
§ Mr. Morley
In 2001–02 the percentage of household waste composted in(a) England was 3.7 per cent. and in (b) the North East was 0.5 per cent.
As part of the Government's response to the Strategy Unit's "Waste Not, Want Not" Report, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will take forward a number of waste minimisation schemes, including a home composting scheme to increase the number of households carrying out home composting and to promote the effectiveness of the composting carried out.
WRAP will also set up a kerbside task force (the Recycling and Organics Technical Advisory Team—ROTATE) to work with local authorities to help maximise the potential of kerbside collection for all materials, particularly biodegradable organics. Alongside this, WRAP will implement an organics market development programme to provide material specific support and investment to the composting sector, to ensure sustainable and reliable markets are secured for the additional tonnage of organic material collected. Underpinning these activities, WRAP will implement an education and awareness programme. This will operate at both a national level, raising the general public's awareness of waste issues and the benefits of recycling, and at a local level, to support both local authority recycling (linked to ROTATE) and issue specific programmes relating to waste minimisation initiatives as outlined.
In addition, the Animal By-products Regulations 2003 come into force on 1 July and the current ban on composting kitchen waste will then be lifted and replaced by a registration/licensing system of facilities that wish to take part in this activity. We would expect the amount of waste that is composted or used in biogas production to increase once the ban on composting kitchen waste is lifted.