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Lord Coleraine: My Lords, I wish to speak to Amendments Nos. 87, 88 and 89. I assure my noble

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friend on the Front Bench that it is not the intention of Amendment No. 88 to delete the power of any agency to institute criminal proceedings. The intention is to make it quite clear by the deletion of this line that the power extends to both criminal and civil proceedings. I rely for this on the contention that under subsection (1) (a) the powers granted are sufficient to cover both civil and criminal proceedings and that the reference to criminal proceedings is not necessary in subsection (1) (b).

I go back to the discussions in Committee on 31st January (at cols. 1343 and 1344 of the Official Report) when my noble friend Lord Mills sought to introduce a specific reference to civil proceedings. On that occasion my noble friend assured him that subsection (1) (a) was sufficient to cover the civil proceedings.

I would use the same argument in relation to criminal proceedings. I go a stage further and say that I do not believe that my noble friend's answer in Committee was completely correct. Certainly, there is bound to be doubt that civil proceedings are included in the wording at present in line 23. Although it appears to be covered as an example of a general list of things which the agencies can do, nevertheless there is another principle that the reference to one matter may be thought to exclude the other. Therefore, there would be a very considerable body of opinion which would say that when criminal proceedings are referred to it is automatically suggested that civil proceedings are not included.

Having dealt with my own Amendment No. 88, as regards the way in which the Bill stands at the moment, I should look at the two amendments in the name of my noble friend. He said that they are simple drafting amendments. I agree that the drafting of line 23 may be defective. I do not believe that it would be improved all that much by Amendment No. 89 to add as a limp tail to a list of things which each new agency may do the bald rider that the English and Welsh agency may,


    "institute proceedings in England and Wales".

In my opinion, that flies in the face of good and clear drafting. It is both confusing to the reader and leaves at large and in limbo the question of what proceedings may be instituted by the Scottish agency. I have some considerable doubt as to when and where the English and Welsh agency may institute civil proceedings.

At this late hour, I suggest that my noble friend might take this matter away. The point which my noble friend wishes to make can best be dealt with and best made with a different amendment altogether delegating to the generality of subsection (l) (a), and that the Bill would be improved by the acceptance of my Amendment No. 88 to which Amendment No. 87 is a most welcome paving amendment.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, in speaking to the previous amendment, I addressed this amendment. I believe that we tabled these amendments to make certain that there was no doubt remaining on the face of the Bill. I said as regards the previous amendment that I needed to look to see whether the agency's ability to institute civil proceedings was there. My noble friend Lord Crickhowell was concerned about that. I have given careful consideration to what might be done in

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that respect. I believe that the Government amendments are the correct ones in the correct place in order to clear up doubts.

Lord Crickhowell: My Lords, I am not sure whether I am entitled to rise after the Minister. It is clear that I am not.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 88 not moved.]

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 89:


Page 29, leave out line 23 and insert:
("and the Agency may institute criminal proceedings in England and Wales.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Williams of Elvel moved Amendment No. 90:


Page 29, line 25, at end insert:
("( ) Each new Agency shall work with such industry bodies as it considers appropriate to promote in the United Kingdom—
(a) research into clean technology; and
(b) monitoring of the use of clean technology.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, it may be for the convenience of the House if I also speak to Amendment No. 9l. We had a short debate in Committee on these two matters. I thought it worthwhile raising them again at Report stage in the hope that we might get something more encouraging from the Government than we had in Committee. It seems to us that both agencies should encourage research into clean technology and monitor its use. This is a very simple proposition. As we have argued from Second Reading onwards, the agencies are not simply a joining together of three bodies, as some have tried to pretend. Their remit is much wider than that and, in our view, part of that remit should be the subjects mentioned in Amendment No. 90.

As regards Amendment No. 91, it is again a question of promoting the proper reporting by private companies, government departments and other bodies of the effects on the environment of their activities. As I said in Committee, the CBI and local authorities have gone quite some way in that regard. It is a matter of general interest and I very much hope that the Government will accept that it is a proper function of the agency to engage in such promotion. As I have said, I am waiting for words of encouragement from the Minister so I shall not take up any more of your Lordships' time. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Williams, said, he has returned to these two subjects which he raised during the Committee stage of the Bill, and I hope that this time I can satisfy him as to why I do not think that his amendments are necessary.

Amendment No. 90 seeks to place a duty on the agency to promote research into clean technology, and also to promote monitoring of its use. The agency is already required under Clause 5(4) to follow developments in technology and techniques for preventing or minimising or remedying or mitigating the effects of pollution on the environment. Clause 35(5) (a) places a duty on each new agency to make arrangements

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for the carrying out of research and related activities, whether by itself or others, in respect of matters to which its functions relate. Where clean technology can make a contribution to controlling or preventing environmental pollution, the agency already has clear duties. Similarly, Clause 5(2) requires the agency to compile information relating to pollution of the environment, whether obtained through its own monitoring or other activities, or from other sources, for the purposes of facilitating the carrying out of its pollution control functions or enabling it to form an opinion of the general state of environmental pollution.

In addition, in exercising its IPC functions, each agency must encourage the use of the best available techniques not entailing excessive costs (BATNEEC), and the concept of the best practicable environmental option underlies many of the agencies' functions. BATNEEC in itself encourages innovation, and this seems the appropriate way for regulatory bodies such as the agencies to encourage clean technology.

Amendment No. 91 seeks to place a duty on each new agency to promote the proper reporting by private companies, government departments, local authorities and other appropriate public bodies of the environmental effects of their activities. I would not wish to disagree that such reporting on environmental performance is something we would wish to encourage; we would also wish to see the development of business-led good practice in environmental reporting, and similar initiatives throughout the public sector. But I am not persuaded that that is a role for the agencies.

Of course it is right that, in seeking authorisations for potentially polluting processes, companies should assess and provide information on environmental impacts. That is why the Environmental Protection Act 1990 already provides for this. Similarly, the agencies will deal with local authorities at a local and practical level in the context of carrying out their pollution control and water management functions. I do not think that promoting environmental reporting to local government fits in naturally with this, or that it is something the agencies should logically do. Government departments are required to carry out environmental assessments of key new policies, and to make an environmental statement in their annual departmental reports or equivalent documents. And while we would indeed wish to encourage other public bodies to set out details of their environmental performance, I do not think it is for the agency to decide which of those bodies should be encouraged to do so. With that explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount. I am reasonably satisfied with his reply to Amendment No. 90 although I shall have to read what he said in the light of his reference to provisions in the Bill. However, I am not satisfied with his reply to Amendment No. 91. I believe that it is a proper function for the agency to do what the amendment asks. Again, that is a difference between us about the agency's role and how wide it should be. We believe that it should be wider than the Government at present intend. However, at this time of night and at this

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stage of the Bill I am not prepared to press the matter, but I give notice to the Government that this will certainly be taken up when the Bill goes to another place. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 91 not moved.]


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