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(1) Clauses 4, 19, 23, 26 to 29, 87 to 92, 131 and 134 and Schedules 1, 5 and 38 be committed to a Committee of the whole House;
(2) the remainder of the Bill be committed to a Standing Committee;
(3) when the provisions of the Bill considered, respectively, by the Committee of the whole House and by the Standing Committee have been reported to the House, the Bill be proceeded with as if the Bill had been reported as a whole to the House from the Standing Committee.—[Mr. Sutcliffe.]

Question agreed to.

Committee tomorrow.



10.33 pm

Mr. Simon Thomas (Ceredigion): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will shortly put motion No. 6 on the Order Paper to the House. It will establish a Joint Committee between this House and the other place to consider the Draft Communications Bill.

As you will be aware, the usual channels in this place do not include the minority parties. We are shortly to establish a Committee that will have no representative from Wales even though Wales is the only part of the United Kingdom with a distinct broadcast environment. No representative of any minority party will be on the Committee. As the Leader of the House has made it clear that there will be more of these Joint Committees, is there anything in your remit to protect the interests of the minority parties from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so that we at least obtain information about such motions coming before us and can liaise correctly with the Whips and with other Front-Bench spokesmen on such matters? We would then, at least, be informed about such motions. Is there any way tonight in which you can re-examine the motion to see whether further consideration needs to be given to the make-up of the Committee?

Mr. Speaker: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I would like to put it on the record that minority parties, no matter how small in the House, should always get the protection of the Chair. I look forward to the appropriate Whip from the hon. Gentleman's party coming to see me. On the question of the Order Paper, the Speaker has no control over what is included in it; the Government have control over that, so the main point made by the hon. Gentleman is not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would you be kind enough to confirm that the motion is amendable if an amendment

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is tabled in time? It would therefore be possible, if hon. Members wished, to table an amendment changing the composition of the Committee.

Mr. Speaker: The right hon. and learned Gentleman's question was whether the motion was amendable if the amendment was tabled in time. If an amendment was tabled in time, that is the case; it would be examined and looked at.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation),


Question agreed to.


Motion made and Question put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 25 (Periodic adjournments),

Question agreed to.


Motion made,

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Hon. Members: Object.


Occupied Territories

10.36 pm

Dr. Brian Iddon (Bolton, South-East): I would like to present a petition on behalf of 1,900 of my constituents who condemn the illegal occupation of the west bank and the Gaza strip by the Israeli defence force.

The petitioners request the Government to do everything in their power

to end all arms sales to Israel immediately; and to aid

with access to all areas in the occupied territories.

To lie upon the Table.

30 Apr 2002 : Column 921

30 Apr 2002 : Column 923


Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Woolas.]

10.37 pm

Mr. Denis Murphy (Wansbeck): I am grateful to the House for granting me this debate.

The issue of waste and the way in which we recycle and dispose of it is a major problem for every nation on earth. The current systems of waste disposal—landfill and incineration—are generating much public opposition. Damage to the environment is still the main reason for objections, but there is a growing realisation of the value to our planet of the materials that are being destroyed unnecessarily. There is a new awareness that our society faces a waste crisis which, quite rightly, has moved the issue of waste management from the margins to the centre of political debate. While much has been done since the 1970s to reduce both the pollution from waste and the amount of waste that we produce, the problems have continued to increase. Future projections are quite alarming.

Mr. Waller-Hunter, the director of the environment at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development stated in 1999:

A 40 per cent. increase in the gross domestic product since 1980 has been accompanied by a 40 per cent. increase in municipal waste during the same period. Consumer spending also follows those trends. According to colleagues in the Economics and Statistics Directorate, GDP is expected to rise between 70 per cent. and 100 per cent. by 2020. I would not like to imagine a world where municipal waste generation was also 70 to 100 per cent. higher than the already high current levels. What was initially conceived as a confined policy problem had, by the late 1990s, become a gathering environmental nightmare, which led to waste being named as one of the red light issues in the environment statement of 2001.

Of course, that doomsday scenario need not materialise. We can dramatically reduce those figures. Waste minimisation and recycling should play the main role in that reduction. I read recently of a waste strategy introduced in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the late 1980s in the Halifax region of Nova Scotia, with a population of 350,000, there was intense public opposition to the expansion of a landfill site in Sackville. The joint councils proposed as an alternative an incinerator capable of dealing with 500 tonnes of waste per day. That, too, was strongly opposed.

The local action groups raised money and hired their own consultants from Seattle, who proposed a cheaper alternative plan for a recycling-led strategy. Subsequently, the council rejected the incinerator proposal and agreed the development of intensive recycling. The council also decided to involve the action groups in designing the scheme. Consensus was the order of the day, and the conclusion from the process was that no organic waste, toxic materials or recyclables should go to landfill. Anything going to landfill had to be stabilised first through composting. The landfill was renamed a residual disposal facility and it is notable for its complete lack of odour and birds.

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The result is that from a level of 3 per cent. in 1997, Halifax has reached 60 per cent. recycling within three years. The civic groups estimate that the recycling rate will increase to 88 per cent. within 10 years. There is nothing to prevent us here in the United Kingdom from achieving those targets and working towards the ultimate goal of zero waste in 20 years.

We are fortunate to have in my constituency a company called SENREC, which stands for south-east Northumberland recycling. I had the pleasure of officially opening the plant three weeks ago. The site first opened in 1999 and recycled just a small amount of municipal waste. It was not until March 2001 that the three local councils in the area introduced a twin-bin collection scheme. From less than 1 per cent. being recycled 12 months ago, 11 per cent. is now being recycled and the local authorities are confident that the 25 per cent. target will be reached this year, well in advance of the Government's deadline.

I am pleased to say that in setting the plant up, there was extensive public consultation. The company and the councils worked closely with the community to ensure that it was involved in developments both on and off-site. For any recycling programme to be successful, it relies upon the co-operation of the local population. The residents of Wansbeck should be congratulated on the way in which they have embraced the concept of recycling.

I have only one minor complaint about the setting up of SENREC which concerns a small amount of financial assistance for which the company applied. It was advised to apply for a regional enterprise grant. Unfortunately, the person advising the company went off sick, causing a delay which meant that the operation was up and running before the grant was processed. It was not a lot of money but the company was entitled to it, and I ask my right hon. Friend the Minister to give the matter favourable consideration.

The company's recent investment of £750,000 will enable the plant to increase its capacity from 12,000 tonnes to 35,000 tonnes per annum. That will enable all the local authorities in Northumberland to achieve their recycling targets well in advance of the Government deadline. Although that is good news and a huge step in the right direction, it represents only a small part of the facility's capacity. Proposals are being drawn up by the main company, SULO, Wansbeck district council and Blyth Valley borough council to form a public-private partnership to develop a refrigerator recycling plant on the site.

It is estimated the plant could deal with more than 100,000 fridges per annum. It would cover an area from southern Scotland to Cleveland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Newcastle upon Tyne and Middlesbrough—almost a quarter of the United Kingdom.

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