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Baroness Hamwee: I too support the amendment for the reasons that have been voiced and for another reason. I recall, while we were waiting for provisions of the Environmental Protection Act to come into force, that I had to have a diary note on a regular basis to get someone in my office to telephone the department to check whether there was any news as to when particular sections were coming into force. That was on behalf of clients. It is not just the impression that Parliament gives, but those out there in the real world who have to apply the regulations need to have certainty. I endorse the amendment.

The Earl of Lytton: I support the amendment moved by my noble friend. I must say straight away that I am glad that Section 143 registered provisions were not introduced, because they were not as well thought out as they should have been. I dare say the noble Lord, Lord Crickhowell, might disagree with me, but they would have been a disaster. Having said that, there is a precedent here. When we were discussing the planning and compensation legislation, great concern was expressed about unimplemented compulsory purchase orders floating around. If I remember correctly, we put a five-year longstop date on implementation.

It is vitally important that pieces of legislation are not left rolling around like proverbial loose cannon to be implemented or not. It is disturbing for those who have to advise on implementation and who are responsible for dealing with implementation on their own behalf that there is no degree of certainty. I support the amendment to that extent.

9 p.m.

Viscount Ullswater: I appreciate the anxieties that lie behind the tabling of Amendment No. 352, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Nathan. I am aware of the anxieties expressed in the Hansard Society report and elsewhere that a number of provisions on the statute book have never been brought into force. That point was forcefully made by the noble Lord in the debate on the legislative process which he initiated on 14th December 1994. I know that he will have noted the reply to that debate which was given by my noble friend the Leader of the House.

Understandably, the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, has no wish to see the important provisions contained in this Bill left to moulder ineffectively on the shelves. He will wish to ensure that if the Secretary of State fails to specify a date for the provisions to come into force they will automatically do so after two years.

The report on this matter contained important recommendations which will need to be considered carefully for future legislation. However, I assure the Committee that we have no intention of not bringing the provisions of this Bill into force at the earliest opportunity. We have been planning for the agencies to take over their functions in April 1996 and we hope to

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establish the national parks authorities at the same time. Other provisions will come into force as soon as is feasible.

However, I am cautious about legislation coming into force automatically at a particular date. Circumstances may change or provisions may on reflection be seen to be faulty. The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, indicated a provision which he said he was pleased had not been brought into effect. As regards loose cannons, one needs to make certain that they are pointing in the right direction before they are fired.

There may be cases in which it is right not to bring a particular provision into force. I do not believe that that is likely to be the case with the Environment Bill. However, the whole question of bringing legislation into force without any further action deserves more consideration. In the meantime, I hope that I have reassured Members of the Committee that in the case of this Bill there is no need for the proposed amendment, which I ask the noble Lord to withdraw.

Baroness Hamwee: I believe that many Members of the Committee have debated the provisions in this Bill on the basis that they are to some extent interdependent. If parts of the Act, as it will be, are brought into effect without others we may find that we have debated the provisions on a false premise. I ask the Minister to bear that in mind.

Lord Nathan: I am glad to have received so much support from all sides of the Committee. Perhaps I may say respectfully to the Minister that I am not at all happy with his response. As I said in the earlier debate to which he was kind enough to refer, the issue is important to the environment and to this Bill but it goes beyond the Bill. It goes to the question of bringing Parliament into disrepute. Parliament is spending a great deal of time, energy and thought on all these matters and in the end it is resolved that a certain enactment shall be made. That is turning into a meaningless exercise because, by reason of this clause, the Government decide that they are not going to do what Parliament has decided they should do.

I am aware that the question of whether government can be compelled to exercise their power has come before the courts and the courts have decided that a provision of this kind is effective to protect the Government from doing what in my view they ought to do. I am aware that that this a judicial decision and that that is the law. However, it does not alter the fact that the Executive has certain responsibilities in relation to carrying out the decisions of Parliament. There will be decisions not only of your Lordships' House but also of another place. Ignoring the enactments made by Parliament undermines not only Parliament but also government. That is most regrettable and has far-reaching and adverse consequences.

However, after long debates on environmental issues, this is not the moment to embark on constitutional discussions. For that reason, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 105 agreed to.

Schedule 18 [Minor and consequential amendments]:

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 352A:


Page 181, line 11, at end insert:

("The Statistics of Trade Act 1947

. In the Statistics of Trade Act 1947, after section 9 (restrictions on disclosure of information) there shall be inserted—
"Exceptions from section 9.

9A.—(1) Nothing in section nine of this Act shall prevent or penalise the disclosure by the Secretary of State of information obtained under this Act—
(a) to the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency; or
(b) to an officer of either of those Agencies authorised by that Agency to receive the information.
(2) A person to whom information is disclosed in pursuance of the last foregoing subsection shall not use the information for any purpose other than the purposes of any functions of the Agency in question."").

The noble Earl said: The disclosure of information obtained under the provisions of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947 is currently restricted to government departments and certain other public bodies. Amendment No. 352A will enable disclosure to the environment agency or SEPA or to an appropriately authorised officer of either agency.

The amendment is needed for the accurate and comprehensive surveys of national waste arisings, which will be essential to the preparation of effective national waste strategies. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 352AA:


Page 184, line 29, at end insert:

("The Local Government Act 1972

. In section 223 of the Local Government Act 1972 (which includes provision for authorised members or officers of the National Rivers Authority to conduct certain magistrates' court proceedings on its behalf) in subsection (2)—
(a) after the words "joint authority" there shall be inserted the word "and"; and
(b) the words "and the National Rivers Authority" shall cease to have effect.").

The noble Earl said: I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 375, 380, 381, 382, 383, 396, 397, 397C, 398, 399 and 399CA. This is a group of government amendments which are all minor and technical. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 352B:


Page 184, line 37, at end insert:
13A.—(1) Section 5 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (licences to dispose of waste) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) In subsection (3) (duty of recipient of application for licence where planning permission is in force)—
(a) for the words "Where a disposal authority receives an application" there shall be substituted the words "Where an application has been received"; and

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(b) for the words "the authority", where first occurring, there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency" and, where secondly occurring, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
(3) In subsection (4) (duty of disposal authority to refer to National Rivers Authority etc proposals to issue licences)—
(a) for the words "a disposal authority" there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency";
(b) for the words "the authority" there shall be substituted the words "that Agency";
(c) for paragraph (a), there shall be substituted—
"(a) to refer the proposal to any collection authority whose area includes any part of the relevant land; and";
(d) in paragraph (b), for the words "the disposal authority", in both places where they occur, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency"; and
(e) the words following paragraph (b) (reference of proposal to Secretary of State in certain cases) shall cease to have effect.
(4) Subsection (5) (separate provision for Scotland) shall cease to have effect.
13B.—(1) Section 6 of that Act (provisions supplementary to section 5) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) In subsection (2) (conditions which may be included in disposal licences)—
(a) for the words "the disposal authority which issues it" there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency"; and
(b) for the words "the authority" there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
(3) In subsection (3) (offence of contravening a licence condition without reasonable excuse) for the words "the disposal authority which issued the licence" there shall be substituted the words "the Environment Agency".
(4) In subsection (4) (duty of each disposal authority to maintain registers etc)—
(a) for the words "each disposal authority" there shall be substituted the words "the Environment Agency and of SEPA";
(b) for paragraph (a) there shall be substituted—
"(a) to maintain a register containing copies of all disposal licences which are for the time being in force in respect of land in England and Wales or, as the case may be, Scotland;" and
(c) in paragraph (c), for the words "the authority" there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
(5) In subsection (5) (applications deemed to be refused if not granted within two months of receipt)—
(a) for the words "a disposal authority receives an application duly made to it for a disposal licence" there shall be substituted the words "a duly made application for a disposal licence was received";
(b) for the words "the authority", in the first two places where they occur, there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency"; and
(c) for the words "the authority", wherever else occurring, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
13C.—(1) Section 7 of that Act (variation of conditions and revocation of licences) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) In subsection (1) (modification of conditions of disposal licences issued by disposal authorities)—
(a) the words "issued by a disposal authority" shall be omitted; and

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(b) for the words "the authority", where first occurring, there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency" and, wherever else occurring, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
(3) In subsection (2) (application of section 5(4))—
(a) the words "or, in relation to Scotland, subsection (5)" shall cease to have effect; and
(b) for paragraphs (a) and (b) there shall be substituted—
"(a) the Environment Agency or SEPA, as the case may be, may postpone the reference in pursuance of the said subsection (4) so far as it considers that by reason of an emergency it is appropriate to do so; and
(b) the Environment Agency or SEPA, as the case may be, may disregard any collection authority for the purposes of the preceding provisions of this subsection in relation to a modification which, in the opinion of that Agency, will not affect that authority."
(4) In subsection (4) (revocation of disposal licences issued by disposal authorities)—
(a) the words "issued by a disposal authority" shall be omitted;
(b) for the words "the authority", where first occurring, there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency" and, in the other place where they occur, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
13D.—(1) Section 8 of that Act (transfer and relinquishment of licences) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) In subsection (1) (transfer of licences)—
(a) for the words "the authority which issued the licence" there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency"; and
(b) for the words "the authority", in both places where they occur, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
(3) In subsection (4) (cancellation of licences)—
(a) for the words "the authority which issued it" there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency"; and
(b) for the words "the authority", in the other place where they occur, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
13E.—(1) Section 9 of that Act (supervision of licensed activities) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) In subsection (1) (duties of the authority which issued the licence) for the words "the authority which issued the licence" there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency".
(3) In subsection (2) (powers of entry of authorised officers to carry out works in an emergency)—
(a) for the words "a disposal authority" there shall be substituted the words "the Environment Agency or SEPA, as the case may be,"; and
(b) for the words "the authority", wherever occurring, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
(4) In subsection (3) (recovery of certain expenditure from licence holders)—
(a) for the words "a disposal authority" there shall be substituted the words "the Environment Agency or SEPA"; and
(b) for the words "the authority" there shall be substituted the word "it".
(5) In subsection (4) (breach of conditions of licences)—
(a) for the words "a disposal authority" there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency";
(b) the words "issued by the authority" shall be omitted; and

14 Feb 1995 : Column 667


(c) for the words "the authority", wherever else occurring, there shall be substituted the words "that Agency".
13F.—(1) Section 10 of that Act (appeals to Secretary of State from decisions with respect to licences) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) In subsection (1) (duty of disposal authority concerned to implement Secretary of State's determination) for the words "the disposal authority concerned" there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency".
(3) In subsection (3) (cases where the decision under appeal is effective pending the determination of the appeal)—
(a) for the words "to a decision of a disposal authority" there shall be substituted the words "if the decision in question is a decision";
(b) for the words "in the opinion of the authority" there shall be substituted the words "in the opinion of the body making the decision in question";
(c) for the words "the authority acted" there shall be substituted the words "that body acted"; and
(d) in paragraph (b), for the words "the authority" there shall be substituted the words "the appropriate Agency".
13G. In section 11 of that Act (special provision for land occupied by disposal authorities: resolutions etc) subsections (1) to (11) shall cease to have effect.
13H.—(1) Section 16 of that Act (removal of waste deposited in breach of licensing provisions) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) In subsection (1) (power of disposal or collection authority to serve notice on occupier of land in its area) for the words from "in the area" to "the authority may" there shall be substituted the words "in contravention of section 3(1) of this Act, any authority to which this section applies may".
(3) After subsection (7) there shall be added—
"(8) The authorities to which this section applies are—
(a) the appropriate Agency;
(b) any collection authority in whose area the land mentioned in subsection (1) above is situated."
13J. In section 30 of that Act (interpretation of Part I) in subsection (1)—
(a) the following definition shall be inserted at the appropriate place—
""the appropriate Agency" means—
(a) in relation to England and Wales, the Environment Agency;
(b) in relation to Scotland, SEPA;";
(b) for the definition of "waste" there shall be substituted—
""waste" has the same meaning as it has in Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 by virtue of section 75(2) of that Act;"; and
(c) the words from "and for the purposes" to the end (which provide a presumption that anything discarded is waste unless the contrary is proved) shall cease to have effect.").

The noble Viscount said: In moving this amendment I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 357, 358, 372E, 372F, 394A, 399A, 399B, 399D, 400A and 404. This group of amendments makes a number of minor and consequential changes to legislation as a result of the transfer of waste regulation to the agencies, as well as the transfer of the Secretary of State's functions under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. I shall move the amendments without further explanation because they are quite straightforward.


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