Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report



MEMORANDUM BY DR MALCOLM AICKIN (DSW 123)

  I have read the transcript of your Entrust's evidence published on the Internet on 29 December 2000.

  I have concerns that in some passages Entrust's answers may be inadvertently misleading.

1.  Q 839.

  I am interested to learn "now, contributing third parties have to report to us when they make a payment to a landfill operator ..." Again this is not how I read the regulations. Regulation 32 (2A) and (2B) are clear that this is the Landfill Operator's responsibility and not that of the contributing third party.

  From Entrust's perspective the important aspect may be that they now get to know the identity of third party contributors and how they come by this information is less important. However, the procedures for third party contributions are complex and the subject of much confusion and I am concerned that such inaccurate statements by the regulator published by parliament may further mystify and confuse the situation.

2.  Q 868

  I am personally troubled by the statement "Malcolm Aickin's statement about the budget was wrong". There are two references to the "budget" in the draft that the Select Committee obtained from the Guardian.

  The first is "...Entrust has restricted the ... financial resources available to us to a greater extent than we would have liked". The Budget of £75k for 1999-2000 was the result of a horse trade and was less than EBCO thought was required. That it was overspent, which I regret, is a testament of a kind to its adequacy. I agree with the content of Neil Carrigan's answers to Q 848 and Q 851 and acknowledge the support that Entrust has given EBCO, without it there would be no EBCO. He did not tell you that for 2000-01 EBCO believed that a budget of £125k was required. Entrust was not prepared to allow any increase, other than for inflation, over the budget for 1999-2000. Neil Carrigan made it very clear to EBCO, as he did not to the enquiry, that the overspend in 1999-2000 had to be recovered by savings against the 2000-01 budget.

  Neil Carrigan did not tell you EBCO's original proposal was for 12 elected members (one for each English RDA area plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) plus a co-opted Chairman and up to three further co-opted members to ensure balance across the wide diversity of environmental bodies. Although this was presented at the 1999 Entrust roadshows in January and February, in July 1999 Entrust simply refused to entertain EBCO being any larger than 12 members plus a chairman.

  The second statement, was "Whether it is proper for them collectively to gain more than they are prepared to provide EBCO ..." Simply on its face the £75k budget to which EBCO was pressed for 1999-2000 is less than remuneration in respect of directors for the year ended 1 Aug 99 of £86,427 as reported in Entrust's annual report and accounts. This point was picked up in Q 815.

3.  Q 872

  In the answer to Q 870 Lord Cranbrook makes reference to the Terms of Approval between Entrust and Customs. In paragraph 4 these require that "There should be at least one, and no more than three, directors who possess direct experience and knowledge of each of seven sectors". One of these is "landfill operators/the waste management industry".

  I am disturbed at the attempt to restrict those with such experience to "three representatives appointed as a result of proposals coming from the original working group." Dr Kevin Bond was Chairman of a water company which had, and sold, a waste disposal subsidiary. The late Roderick Paul, before him, had a similar background. The Entrust's Chairman's role as the Chairman of Shanks environmental advisory board is common knowledge. Many argue that these too have "direct experience and knowledge of landfill operators/the waste management industry". These concerns should be addressed and answered, not simply ignored.

  In order to balance this bad cheer I am absolutely delighted by the answer to Q 874. I think that this is an absolutely tremendous step I congratulate and encourage Entrust for making it in such a public way.

  I hope that these comments will prove useful to the Inquiry.

Malcolm Aickin

January 2001


 
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