Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Viscount Ullswater: The noble Baroness raises an important point. It is a matter about which we are very concerned. Perhaps I did not indicate that in the waste strategy we are looking for further use of the composting of waste. That will be developed as the national strategy for waste is considered. This is an area

9 Feb 1995 : Column 341

where suitable reuse of waste can be introduced, which would slow down the extraction of peat about which the noble Baroness is concerned.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon: I thank the Minister for an on the whole encouraging reply, which we shall consider carefully before Report stage. In the meantime I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 265B to 266ZA not moved.]

Lord Wade of Chorlton moved Amendment No. 266A:


Page 78, line 34, leave out ("or") and insert ("and").

The noble Lord said: I rise to move Amendment No. 266A and to speak to Amendment No. 266B.

As has already been mentioned, Clause 75 places a duty on the Secretary of State to prepare a national waste strategy. Such a strategy will clearly depend for its success upon the support of the industry. The waste industry is already an extremely important one in this country. We need to be able to develop a strategy which encourages it to move to the areas which the strategy decides. There is no reference in the Bill to the fact that the industry has to be consulted. Amendment No. 266A puts a duty on the Secretary of State to consult the industry as well as local authorities.

Amendment No. 266B puts a duty on the agency, should it be directed by the Secretary of State to make a survey, to consult industry. These are important matters. I am sure the Government agree that such provisions will be essential to make a strategy work effectively. I hope that the Government will feel able to support the amendments. I beg to move.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon: I speak to Amendment No. 266AB which is grouped with Amendment No. 266A. It encourages consultation with interested people other than the planning authorities. A wide range of people need to be consulted regarding the development of waste strategies. As drafted, the Bill relates only to planning authorities whereas the amendment includes industry, the public sector, individual households and consumers. That is important if we are to develop an effective national strategy.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: I support the amendment standing in the name of my noble friend Lord Wade of Chorlton. My mind goes back to some years ago when in another place we debated the infamous selective employment tax. It became perfectly clear that the view of Whitehall was that people concerned with the handling of waste and the production of recycled materials were to be put into the category relating to the less desirable parts of the economy which had to pay SET. They were not regarded as part of manufacturing industry.

It is to be hoped that that culture in Whitehall has begun to change. People realise that the reclamation industry is not only enormously important in environmental terms but also in economic terms. I have had the privilege on more than one occasion of chairing conferences run by industry, in particular the waste industry. I have never failed to be impressed not only

9 Feb 1995 : Column 342

by the existing high degree of commitment but also the expertise in what is now a highly technical and sophisticated industry.

I hope that officials in Whitehall will recognise that consultation with those industries is every bit as important as it has been with some of the more traditional manufacturing service industries in the past. I support the amendment.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth: I speak to Amendments Nos. 267 and 268, in my name, which are grouped with the amendment, and I wish to comment on Amendment No. 266B.

I believe that my noble friends and I are absolutely at one. The difficulty is that Amendment No. 266B adds the words "and industry". However, my noble friends referred to "the industry". "The industry" is the waste management industry. However, the words "and industry" are not specific. That is why I have put down the two amendments which draw the matter more narrowly and focus on the issue.

The industry is pleased about the draft strategy. When we have a strategy in place investment planning can go forward with obvious benefit. Since the industry has an important part to play in the making and maintenance of strategy it believes that it should have rights at the consultation table.

I pray in aid, so to speak, some words of the Minister on 31st January, when we discussed the waste management industry and closed landfill sites. At col. 1432 of the Official Report, he stated:


    "In singling out closed landfills for a more tailored approach, we are reflecting the special emphasis given to such sites in much of Europe. We are also reflecting the concern expressed by Parliament during the passage of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which led to provision of a special remediation regime for closed landfill sites, under Section 61. The section has not, in the event, been implemented, and the provisions of Clause 54 will replace it".

The imperative here is that since the Government recognise that closed landfill, therefore the waste management industry, has to be subject to a special regime in Clause 54 it seems only reasonable that it should be represented in its own right in the consultations on the forming and maintenance of the strategy. That is the only purpose of the two amendments to which I speak.

Lord Mottistone: I support Amendments Nos. 266A and 266B which stand also in my name.

The amendments are meant to apply to all of industry. The new Section 44A(5) contained in Clause 75 provides that the Secretary of State must choose whether he consults local government or industry. That seems to narrow the position for the Secretary of State. In most situations to which the provisions refer he will wish to consult both. The provision seems unnecessarily restrictive.

On Amendment No. 266B the problem is whether the provision relates to industry or local planning authorities. Again, industry will have a view about the conduct of a survey or an investigation by the environment agency. The industries concerned must

9 Feb 1995 : Column 343

have a strong view. Local planning authorities, left on their own to advise on that point, might well be over-theoretical.

It is important that the knowledge and experience of industry should be available in both areas covered by the amendments. The Government have moved towards listening to industry. We shall tackle the subject further in the next group of amendments to which I have put my name. The Government need to make quite certain that industry is always consulted. Industry has the real knowledge of what is involved with waste disposal.

Baroness Nicol: I wish to support the amendment of my noble friend Lady Hilton and that of the noble Lord, Lord Wade of Chorlton.

Unless the Government consult both local authorities and industry their strategy is unlikely to succeed because they need not only the expertise to which the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, referred, but also the co-operation of industry and local authorities.

I cannot quite agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lucas. I believe that to mention one industry specifically is not a satisfactory solution. Other industries may be concerned in the strategy. I prefer to leave a general description. However, I support the amendments.

5.30 p.m.

Viscount Ullswater: Amendment No. 266A seeks to amend subsection (5) (b) of the new Section 44A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which is inserted by Clause 75. The provision requires the Secretary of State to consult representatives of local government and of industry in preparing a waste strategy. The amendment would require the Secretary of State to consult persons or bodies, each of whom was representative of both industry and local government. I suspect that there are few such bodies. It is our policy that when a strategy is being prepared, there should be consultation with representatives of local government and of industry. I am advised that that is what the provision requires. However, we shall look again at the wording of the provision to see whether it might be expressed more clearly. I hope with that assurance my noble friend will feel able to withdraw his amendment because I believe that we are at one on the matter.

The remaining amendments in the group all deal with the requirement for the agency and SEPA to consult local planning authorities before carrying out a waste survey and to make the survey findings available. Amendment No. 266AB would require the agency also to consult other relevant authorities. I understand what the noble Baroness is worried about, but I believe that her anxiety is unnecessary. A local planning authority is defined by subsection (9) of the new Section 44A as having the same meaning as in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. That includes all principal councils in England and Wales, as well as certain other authorities such as the national park authorities and urban development corporations.

Amendment No. 266B would require the agency to consult industry before carrying out a waste survey. Amendments Nos. 267 and 288 would require both the

9 Feb 1995 : Column 344

agency and SEPA to consult representatives of the interests of the waste industry in the same circumstances. Amendments Nos. 268 and 289 would require the agencies to make the survey findings available to the waste industry.

We are not referring here to consultation on the strategy itself. The Bill provides for consultation by the Secretary of State or SEPA with industry in preparing their strategies. I am sure that that gives industry—including the waste industry—a sufficient opportunity to make its views known. I believe that my noble friend Lord Lucas of Chilworth was worried about that point. The legislation gives the opportunity to the industry to make its views known on the preparation of the waste strategy.

The reason for providing a statutory duty to consult planning authorities in relation to a survey is their requirement for data on waste to enable them to draw up their development plan policies for waste. It is essential that the survey is carried out in a way which will enable disaggregation of results to a local level. For the same reason, it is essential that planning authorities receive the results of a survey. My noble friend Lord Mottistone indicated that he felt that the industry required the information as well; but I do not believe that industry is in that position. There is therefore no need for a statutory requirement to consult it on the way in which the survey is carried out. I hope with that explanation the noble Lord, Lord Wade, will feel able to withdraw his amendment.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page