Examination of Witnesses (Questions 210
TUESDAY 23 OCTOBER 2001
210. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Could
I ask Dr Keddie to introduce your colleagues?
(Dr Keddie) Thank you, Chairman. First of all, I am
the Director for the Environment and Innovation Services in the
Department of Trade and Industry. On my right is Sarah Chambers,
who is Director of Vehicles in DTI. And on my far right is Mark
Downs, who is the Director of Recycling Policy in the Environment
Directorate in DTI; and on my left is Sheila McKinley, who is
Head of Producer Responsibility in DEFRA.
211. Maybe you could start by giving us some
background to the consultation paper itself. We realise that the
Directive became law on 18 September last year; why did it take
so long to produce the consultation paper then, it was not something
that was wholly unexpected?
(Dr Keddie) No; but it is also a very complex Directive,
which I am sure you and other members of the Committee have picked
up from the submissions and the discussions earlier today. It
is also breaking new ground, in many ways, in terms of the way
we deal with environmental objectives and how these relate back
to business of all sorts. And, initially, which we did, we wanted
to have initial discussions with the various sectors of business
affected by it, which obviously took some time, and then by the
time we had reached that stage Ministers decided that it would
be better, in fact, not to consult until after the election, the
delay in the election then added to the delay. So there was a
combination of trying to get a better picture of the sort of Directive
we were dealing with and its potential implications, and delays
due to the election.
212. So you were having discussions with industry,
with interested parties, prior to the publication of the paper,
and now you would hope that it would be a fairly short, we are
talking about the beginning of November as the final date for
submission, then you will be considering the submissions again.
What is your target date, or is that too dangerous a question
(Dr Keddie) First of all, on discussions with industry,
we were actually discussing with industry during the negotiations
on the Directive as well, so we did not wait until the Directive
was formally approved. In terms of timing and implementation,
we are still shooting for the date in the Directive; that will
be difficult and it is challenging, not impossible, that is what
we are shooting for, that is our intention.
213. So six months from now you would hope to
have the ducks in line?
(Dr Keddie) We would hope so, yes.
Sir Robert Smith
214. Following on from that sort of history
of the long build-up to where we are today, the consultation paper
you have got does not consider how take-back and treatment costs
should be financed. Just bearing in mind the long history, why
have the DTI still not come up with any conclusions over how take-back
and treatment costs should be financed?
(Dr Keddie) That, again, comes back to there are a
number of options. You mean in terms of how this is all financed?
(Dr Keddie) Certainly between the period 2000 and
2007, that really comes back to Ministers are still considering
the alternatives themselves, and we were not in a position to
include that explicitly in the consultation document, simply because,
again, of the complexity of it and the various ways the Directive
could actually work in practice. There are again a number of options
216. So Ministers are still considering that?
(Dr Keddie) Yes, that is a political decision.
217. Just on one detail of costs though; in
the earlier evidence, it was alluded to about part of the costs
being the policing costs for the Environment Agency, for DVLA,
and a point was made by one of the witnesses there that there
is a long history of those costs being recovered from those that
are being policed. Is it the sort of DTI thinking that these costs
would be recovered from the industry, or would these be extra
costs on those Agencies?
(Dr Keddie) You mean the actual policing costs, through
the Environment Agency, and so on. I may have to give you more
detail later, on that, and Sheila McKinley may want to make a
comment there; but that is part of the Environment Agency's overall
responsibilities, in discussion with Government, and particularly
DEFRA. For some of their operations, they are at liberty to charge
for the advice they give and for the guidance they give to businesses.
218. And the DVLA side?
(Dr Keddie) The DVLA side, I am assuming they pick
up their own costs on that. I cannot see how the sort of scale
of costs we are talking about here for DVLA could find their way
back to businesses, but the details of that we still have to discuss
with the DVLA, and so on.
219. One final question, because, in a sense,
costs benefit if there are economies of scale, or some kind of
uniformity, and at the time this paper was produced there were
still discussions with the devolved administrations in Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland over how they were planning to go forward;
have there been any more developments in terms of co-ordinating
(Dr Keddie) We are in constant discussion with the
devolved administrations, but there is nothing to add to what
we have actually said in the consultation document at this point
in time, because the next stage with the devolved administrations
will be to discuss with them the responses to the consultation
document, including the comments from your own Committee.