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Environmental Offences: Fines

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): It is for the courts to determine the penalties they impose, within the terms of the relevant legislation. The Criminal Justice Act 1991 (as amended) requires them to take into account the financial circumstances of the offender in fixing the amount of any fine. Fines imposed should thus reflect the means of the company as well as the gravity of the offence. The Court of Appeal judgment in Rv. Howe and Son (Engineers) Ltd (The Times, November 27, 1998) made it clear that where the defendant is a company, the fine needs to be large enough to bring the message home not only to those who manage it but also to its shareholders. Although Howe was a health and safety case, this principle is of relevance to environmental offences.

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British Railways Board Land Sales

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Whitty on 12 April (WA 98) on the sale of British Railways Board land holdings and in respect of sites authorised by them to be released for sale for transport use:

    (a) whether such sites remain designated for such use in perpetuity;

    (b) whether, in the event of the transport project for which a site was released being subsequently cancelled, the site would revert to British Railways Board ownership; and

    (c) whether, in the event of the site being subsequently used for a purpose other than transport, such as commercial development, the British Railways Board would benefit from the added value resulting from the change of use.[HL2299]

Lord Whitty: Further to my Written Answers of 12 and 29 April, I can advise as follows:

    (a) no;

    (b) where a site has been released for sale on grounds of transport use and that proposed use was cancelled prior to exchange of contracts, the sale would not proceed;

    (c) no.

Waste Disposals: EU Legislation

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the reference numbers of any present or proposed European Union legislation which might affect waste disposal in the United Kingdom; what is the state of play of that legislation; and what is their estimate of its cost and benefit to the United Kingdom.[HL2114]

Lord Whitty: European Union legislation which has been adopted and published in the Official Journal, and which might affect waste disposal in the United Kingdom, is as follows:

SubjectDirective Etc. Reference Number
Directive on the disposal of waste oils.75/439/EEC as amended by 87/101/EEC.
The Framework Directive on waste.75/442/EEC as amended by 91/156/EEC and Commission Decision 96/350/EC.
Directive on the Prevention of Air Pollution from New Municipal Waste Incineration Plants.89/369/EEC.
Directive on the Reduction of Air Pollution from Existing Municipal Waste Incineration Plants.89/429/EEC.
The Hazardous Waste Directive.91/689/EEC as amended by 94/31/EC.
Regulation on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community.Regulation (EEC) No. 259/93 as amended by (EC) No. 120/97 and (EC) No. 2408/98 and as adapted by Commission Decision 98/368/EC.
Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste.94/62/EC.
Directive on the Incineration of Hazardous Waste.94/67/EC.
Decision on the control procedure as regards certain shipments of waste to certain non-OECD Countries.Commission Decision 94/575/EC.
Directive on the Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Polychlorinated Terphenyls.96/59/EC.
Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC).96/61/EC.

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Currently proposed European Union legislation which might affect waste disposal in the United Kingdom is as follows:

SubjectState of Play/Costs and Benefits
Directive on the landfill of waste.Adopted 26 April 1999. Too soon to be published in the Official Journal and no reference number yet. An estimate of the cost and benefit to the United Kingdom of the Directive is set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment which was sent to the Scrutiny Committees on 19 April under cover of Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum 7161/99.
Proposal for a Council Directive on the Incineration of Waste COM(1998)558 final.The Presidency has proposed that the Commission's proposal should be combined with the extant Directive on the Incineration of Hazardous Waste (94/67/EC) and the Commission proposal to amend 94/67/EC to include waste water discharge limits. The proposal is currently being discussed in Environment Council Working Group. The Presidency wishes to achieve common position at the June Environment Council. Explanatory Memorandum 12791/98 of 30 November 1998 refers. See also Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum of 9 April 1999. The latter covers a detailed Regulatory and Environmental Impact Assessment, giving cost and benefit details on a sectoral basis, in relation to the original proposal and the merger with the existing Directive 94/67/EC.
Proposal for a Council Regulation on the control procedure as regards certain shipments of waste to certain non-OECD countries (7084/99). A complementary Commission Regulation on the same subject is proposed but no text is available.Council Regulation adopted at European Industry Council on 29 April. No indication of timetable for adoption of Commission Regulation. The Cost Compliance Assessment for the United Kingdom Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste, part of which deals with the effects of these Regulations, was laid in the Library of the House in March 1996.

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