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Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I am not convinced by what my noble friend says. Obviously we can take the matter no further tonight. It will be interesting to see whether further consideration of the Bill results in Clause 37 becoming part of the Act. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 38 [Ministerial directions to the new Agencies]:

[Amendment No. 103 not moved.]

2 Mar 2002 : Column 1712

Clause 39 [Power to make schemes imposing charges]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment Nos 104 to 110:


Page 33, leave out line 14.
Page 33, line 15, at end insert (", or any application for, or for a variation of, such a licence").
Page 33, line 18, at end insert (", or any application for such a transfer").
Page 33, line 19, after ("licence") insert (", or any application for such a renewal").
Page 33, line 19, leave out ("or").
Page 33, line 20, leave out (", or") and insert ("(where permitted) of an environmental licence, or any application for such a surrender; or
(g)") .
Page 34, line 2, after ("procedure,") insert ("suspend or").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, in moving Amendments Nos. 104 to 110, I speak also to Amendments Nos. 112 to 123 and 289. While I accept that this is a large group of government amendments, they are minor and technical amendments which deal with only three subjects.

First, Amendments Nos. 104 to 110 arise from my promise during Committee stage to consider points raised by my noble friend Lord Lucas in connection with the current charging schemes for waste management licensing. These amendments aim to clarify that charging schemes may cover all necessary activities in relation to the granting of environmental licences.

Secondly, the effect of Amendments Nos. 112 to 123 to Clauses 45 and 46 is to enable each new agency to borrow from the National Loans Fund as well as borrowing money voted by Parliament from Ministers.

Finally, I undertook at Committee stage to look again at the important issue raised by the amendment in the name of my noble friend Lord Mills to Clause 52 regarding transitional provisions for charging schemes. Having considered the need for such a provision, I am now bringing forward Amendment No. 289 which includes in Schedule 19 transitional arrangements for charging schemes. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth moved Amendment No. 111:


Page 34, line 21, at end insert:
("( ) A new Agency must provide each applicant for, and holder of, an environmental licence with a copy of any charging scheme made by it, which is for the time being in force and which is likely to affect the applicant or holder.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 111 which goes back to the question that we discussed at Committee stage with respect to licence holders being advised of their responsibilities regarding charging. I have again to thank my noble friend for his letter of last evening in which he deals at some length with the matter of subsistence payments. That is quite clear to me.

However, I have to ask him this question. The Bill currently provides for the agency to take such steps as it considers appropriate for bringing the provisions of the scheme—that is, the charging scheme—to the

2 Mar 2002 : Column 1713

attention of those it affects. I am not terribly happy about that. I should like to see licence holders receive details of the charging scheme. I do not refer necessarily to the amounts because I understand that they are subject to variation year on year. But the licence holder should know the obligations to which he is subject in relation to charges and the penalties that would accrue were those charges not met.

In relation to revocation of licences following non-payment of the subsistence charge, the Minister states in his letter of 1st March 1995:


    "in accordance with the appropriate procedure. That procedure must be specified in regulations".

He goes on to suggest that the Government would wish to consult on the regulations. I do not believe it is necessary to put into the Bill that the licence holder or potential licence holder should have a preview of the arrangements, but it is necessary to ensure that he has the ability to preview.

In an earlier letter of, I believe, 23rd February, the Minister offered to consider whether there was any guidance which the Department of the Environment could give the agency on the matter. The purpose in putting down the amendment, and speaking even at this late hour to the last amendment of the day, is to inquire whether the Minister has given further and direct consideration to the matter and will bring forward a government amendment to meet my anxiety. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, Clause 40(6) requires the agency to take such steps as it considers appropriate for bringing the provisions of any charging scheme to the attention of persons likely to be affected by them. This will require the agency to notify licence holders of all charges that are payable. Indeed, the charge for licence applications, transfers and surrenders must accompany the licence application. We envisage that it would be good practice for the agency, at the same time as informing licence holders of the level of charge, also to inform them of the penalties for non-payment. We do not consider, given all the safeguards that are already contained in the legislation, that it is necessary to include further statutory provisions to this effect. I hope that that satisfies my noble friend and that he will be able to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth: My Lords, it does not quite satisfy me. Has my noble friend given further consideration to the point raised in his letter when he said that he would consider whether guidance should be given to the agency? I should be grateful if he could answer that, then I should know how far to take it.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, if I said in my letter that I would consider it, I shall do so.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth: My Lords, I am grateful for that, but I had hoped that between the end of the previous stage and now we would have progressed further along those lines. I shall have to press my noble friend in other quarters on the subject, perhaps on another day. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

2 Mar 2002 : Column 1714

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 45 [Borrowing powers]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendments Nos. 112 to 117:


Page 38, line 9, leave out ("the") and insert ("each new").
Page 38, line 10, leave out ("Secretary of State or the") and insert ("appropriate").
Page 38, line 13, after ("the") insert ("appropriate").
Page 38, line 15, leave out subsection (3) and insert:
("(3) Subject to subsection (6) below, each new Agency may borrow from the appropriate Minister, by way of temporary loan or otherwise, such sums in sterling as it may require for meeting its obligations and carrying out its functions.").
Page 38, line 19, leave out subsection (4).
Page 38, line 24, leave out ("or (4) (a)").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I spoke to these amendments with Amendment No. 104. I beg to move them en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 46 [Government loans to the Agency]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendments Nos. 118 to 123:


Page 38, line 36, leave out ("Each of the Ministers") and insert ("The appropriate Minister").
Page 38, line 37, leave out ("the") and insert ("a new").
Page 38, line 39, after ("the") insert ("appropriate").
Page 39, line 1, leave out ("either of the") and insert ("any of the appropriate").
Page 39, line 1, leave out second ("the") and insert ("a new").
Page 39, line 11, at end insert:
("(5) The Treasury may issue to any of the appropriate Ministers—
(a) out of the National Loans Fund, or
(b) out of money provided by Parliament,
such sums as are necessary to enable him to make loans to a new Agency under this section; and any sums received by a Minister of the Crown in pursuance of subsection (2) above shall be paid into the National Loans Fund or, as the case may be, the Consolidated Fund.").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, these amendments were also spoken to with Amendment No. 104. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 53 [Interpretations of Part I]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 124:


Page 43, line 7, at end insert:
(""costs" includes—
(a) costs to any person; and
(b) costs to the environment;").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this amendment was also spoken to with Amendment No. 28. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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