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Lord Henley: No, my Lords, I do not believe that we do. But we are offering our support for this particular loan.

Family Homes and Domestic Violence Bill [H.L.]

3.32 p.m.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision, in relation to cases where a dwelling-house is, has been, or was intended to be, the home of two or more persons as to their respective rights of occupation; to make provision for preventing the molestation of one person by another; to enable a court to include in certain orders under the Children Act 1989 provision relating to the occupation of a dwelling-house; to make provision for the transfer of tenancies between spouses and persons who have lived together as husband and wife; to apply Section 17 of the Married Women's Property Act 1882 to persons who live together as husband and wife; and for connected purposes. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a first time.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Bill read a first time, and to be printed.

Environment Bill [H.L.]

3.33 p.m.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(Viscount Ullswater.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


[Amendment No. 263 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Lord Lewis of Newnham moved Amendment No. 264:

Before Clause 75, insert the following new clause:

("Air Quality
Air quality management

.—(1) With a view to establishing air quality standards in Great Britain and improving air quality, the Secretaries of State shall as soon as possible—
(a) prepare a statement ("the strategy") containing their objectives for improving air quality in Great Britain; and

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(b) issue guidance to every local air quality management authority on methods which may be used to achieve these objectives.
(2) In this section the term "local air quality management authority" ("the authority") means a district council, a metropolitan district council, a London borough council or a unitary authority; and in Scotland, a Scottish district council or a Scottish islands council.
(3) The Secretaries of State may from time to time modify the strategy.
(4) The Environment Agency or, in Scotland, SEPA, shall—
(a) advise the Secretaries of State on matters relating to subsection (1) above; and
(b) advise the Secretaries of State on criteria for the establishment of air quality management areas, namely those areas where air quality standards are likely to be exceeded.
(5) It shall be the duty of every local air quality management authority, having regard to guidance issued by the Secretaries of State—
(a) to prepare a review of air quality within its boundaries;
(b) to designate air quality management areas within its boundaries;
(c) to prepare a local air quality management plan which shall include a statement of the authority's methods for attaining the objectives specified in subsection (1) (a) above;
(d) to undertake a further review of air quality every two years, and from time to time to modify the local air quality management plan in the light of further review and guidance; and
(e) to consult with every bordering authority in the preparation of its review and plan, and any subsequent modifications.").

The noble Lord said: In submitting this amendment, I am very conscious of the fact that this environmental Bill covers so many aspects of environmental problems. But it is interesting to note that it says very little about air pollution. I find that rather surprising, when one considers the high level of public concern that exists over health problems and air pollution. I refer primarily of course to the many respiratory ailments that are associated with pollution. Also, it is fair to say that the current measurements to protect and improve air quality are fragmentary. For example, industrial pollution is controlled by HMIP and by local authorities. Pollution from transportation comes under four ministries: the Department of Transport; Environment; Trade and Industry; and the Home Office. Agriculture, which is one of the major causes of the pollution problems that we face in this country, is controlled by a code of practice from MAFF. Finally, domestic emissions are under the control of local authorities.

Although many changes have occurred in air pollution control over the past two decades, internationally agreed guidelines are routinely being exceeded. Emissions from road transport have increased. That is reflected in the very detailed survey that was carried out by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and also much of the documentation that has come from the National Society for Clean Air. I note with considerable interest that the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, is dealing with some of the problems that are associated with traffic pollution. I should like to say how delighted I am to see these particular amendments coming forward. But it is important to emphasise that the amendment with which

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we are now dealing deals with pollution on a national basis, whereas I believe that of the noble Lord is far more concerned with local authorities.

It is important to recognise that over the past four or five years there has built up a consensus view on the conditions for improving air quality, and indeed generally considering air quality management. The Government produced in the past year two very important documents which encapsulate these sentiments. The first was Improving Air Quality, and the most recent, Air Quality: Meeting the Challenge, was published within the past two weeks. It can be seen that the Government are moving forward very much in this particular direction.

However, it is important to recognise that if the aims to be attained are as set out in these particular documents, particularly in relation to the timescales that are projected, then there is an immediate need for legislation. This Bill provides a very good opportunity for such legislation.

I believe that there is now a consensus view on the strategy for air quality management. The first important aspect is to establish air quality standards. That has now been done for quite a large number of potential pollutants, and it is interesting also to note that in Air Quality: Meeting the Challenge the list has been extended. I congratulate the Government on that particular move.

This should then allow for a general air quality review to take place, which should give us a very clear understanding of the distribution of air pollution problems throughout the country.

Three important aspects must be considered. The first is monitoring and sampling. The second is the standardisation of data, particularly any computerisation of data, so that that is compatible across the country as a whole. The third is the interpretation of data.

I recently attended a conference sponsored by the National Society for Clean Air, where there was a grouping of various interested parties in air pollution control and monitoring. This involved industry, government, local authorities and various other interested groupings, including universities. One of the features that came through loud and clear was that, first, a considerable amount of interest and effort is being expended on these particular problems. However, although the data are there, very often they are not compatible. Very often one runs into problems over sampling. I was particularly impressed by the Meteorological Office, which has done very extensive surveys and has shown how critical sampling can be in giving the correct data. I believe that this is merely a matter of addressing the protocol that is involved in approaching this problem. That is not insoluble. But it is tremendously important to appreciate that if we do not get this right, all that we will end up with is a lot of data which are rather meaningless.

In order to accomplish that, this amendment makes the following general proposals. The Secretary of State would be responsible for setting up the air quality standards. The determination of the strategic approach would then be up to air quality management. It would provide guidance particularly on the techniques to be

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used locally to characterise air quality. We believe that in all these matters the Secretaries of State should have regard to advice from the environmental agencies which are now being set up in the Bill.

It is equally important that local authorities should be responsible for the review of air quality and the establishment of air quality management areas. We believe that it is of major importance that the involvement of local authorities should be statutory to ensure a uniform and co-ordinated coverage of monitoring and data assessment.

An important consequence of this type of approach is that it would allow for what I call an effects-based approach to the setting of air quality standards rather than relying on fixed emission limits and giving a flexibility to take account of the receiving capacity of the local environment, as applies to water. It is an approach that has been applied extremely successfully to the control over water and it avoids the air not being able to deal with what are reasonable approaches to emissions from various local authorities or industry as a whole. I beg to move.

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