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Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 7. I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 8 and 9.

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When I brought forward amendments earlier in the passage of this Bill, to limit its scope to those matters set out in Schedule 1, as requested by your Lordships' House, I explained that consequential amendments to that schedule might be necessary to ensure that it became an exhaustive rather than--as was originally intended--an indicative list of matters which need regulating.

Having had the opportunity to consider the effect of the Bill in its amended form, we want to make it clear in paragraph 4 to Schedule 1 that a permit will continue to be required for certain activities such as storing coal or storing iron ore which are already currently regulated under the 1990 Act. At the moment the schedule refers only to requiring permits to operate "installations or plant". This could be taken to exclude certain things such as the storage activities I have mentioned which are already regulated under the preceding legislation. We must, of course, continue to regulate those activities and the amendments therefore simply roll forward provisions contained in the current legislation.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 7.--(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENTS

8

Schedule 1, page 6, line 8, after ("changes") insert ("--


(a)")
9

Page 6, line 9, at end insert (", or


(b) in the case of permits for the carrying on of activities otherwise than in the course of operating any installation or plant, in the carrying on of the activities.").

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 8 and 9.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 8 and 9.--(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

10

Schedule 1, page 6, line 36, after ("information") insert ("--


(i)") .

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 10. I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 11.

This is a measure inserted in response to the procedures in another place. This Bill covers a number of regulatory matters regarding pollution. This measure will cover the entitlement of people to know exactly what is coming into their homes and elsewhere.

In May my right honourable friend the Minister for the Environment launched the Environment Agency's new pollution inventory giving people access to up-to-date information about emissions from the installations which the agency regulates under the integrated pollution control regime. It is proving extremely popular, with 700 to 800 visits a week on the Internet.

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The Government would like to see the inventory become even more informative. The Environment Agency will consult on extending it to cover the landfill sites and sewage works which it now regulates and my department will consult on the possibility of including information on emissions from the 13,000 or so installations which local authorities regulate under the local air pollution control system. The Bill already contains the power to cover those additional installations.

These amendments would permit information also to be gathered on energy use and the destination of waste from installations. They are enabling powers and they do not in any way presuppose that we shall choose to collect this information in all instances. The expansion of the inventory must, of course, proceed at a sensible pace in the light of full consultation and with any burdens on business properly considered and justified by reference to the benefits. We may, for example, find that we already have sufficient information about energy use as a result of the energy efficiency requirements of this new regime and other initiatives. We would not expect businesses to have to track the journey of their waste through its various multifarious stages. Nevertheless I believe that it is sensible to take the opportunity provided by this Bill, as the Commons felt was sensible, to enable such information to be gathered in future if it would prove beneficial.

Access to information about pollution is a vital part of a fair, modern and open society. It has proved a powerful force for environmental improvement in other countries including the United States. This Government intend that information should be similarly available here where appropriate. As I say, these are enabling powers and each enactment would need to be considered carefully together with the industries to which it applied.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 10.--(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

11

Schedule 1, page 6, line 36, at end insert--


("(ii) on energy consumption and on the efficiency with which energy is used;
(iii) on waste within the meaning of the regulations and on the destinations of such waste;").

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 11.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 11.--(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

12

Schedule 1, page 7, line 42, leave out ("to") and insert (", 158 and").

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 12. I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 13.

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These are a couple of technical amendments which are needed to ensure that the new regulations can apply to the Crown, including to Her Majesty and the Prince of Wales in their private capacity. My officials have been in discussion with the Palace authorities to agree the detail of how the regulations will apply.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 12.--(Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton.)

Lord Renton: My Lords, as this is the last group of amendments which we shall be discussing I hope that I may say how grateful we are to the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, and to the noble Baroness, for their attempts to explain this Bill to us at its various stages.

I have to say, as I have suggested before, that it is the most chaotic piece of legislation within my recollection, having been in one House or another of Parliament for 54 years. I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, can be blamed. I should think that it has gathered momentum behind the scenes and alternatives have been presented which have been impossible to resist. But I do think that as Ministers bear responsibility for what happens they must accept their responsibility. Nevertheless I feel sorry for the noble Lord and am grateful to him for his attempts to explain the impossible.

When the regulations come before us--the Bill will not be effective until they do--we shall have to consider them carefully even though we cannot amend them. They will be of vital importance. Above all, I refer to the amount of legislation by reference to previous statutes, partly repealed and partly not repealed. That is something that we should not present the users of the statute with. They will be people performing vital tasks within our civilisation, not only in this country but also abroad. I hope that when the regulations have been passed--I cannot ask for a firm assurance on this at the moment as the noble Lord would, of course, have to consult his colleagues--and approved by both Houses of Parliament (if they are), there will without delay be an attempt to consolidate the provisions of this Bill with the relevant provisions of previous legislation so that the people who will be bound by and apply the provisions of this Bill will be able to look at one statute instead of at four or five statutes and a number of regulations. There is nothing to prevent regulations being replaced in due course by primary legislation. That can be done; I hope that eventually it will be done. In the meanwhile, having made the protest, I hope that the Minister will enjoy the Recess which he so much deserves.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend the Minister I thank the noble Lord, Lord Renton, for his good wishes for my noble friend's Summer Recess. Let me place on record, as I tried to say earlier, that some of the complexities are because the repeal will not take effect straightaway. The amendment to which I believe the noble Lord was speaking in general terms, Amendment No. 14, deals with the period before then. The repeal can be commenced only when the Secretary of State orders,

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using the provision at Clause 5(3). This legislation deals with the repeal of legislation, but it cannot take effect until the appropriate stage. I commend Commons Amendment No. 12 to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

13

Schedule 1, page 8, line 4, at end insert--


("( ) Making provision about the application of the regulations to the Crown.").

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 13.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 13.--(Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


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