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Lord Whitty: This is of course a complicated issue. We need a wider waste strategy and it is therefore proper at this early stage in Committee to discuss that, but the way in which the strategy is delivered will vary. Many of the directives and policy ambitions can be delivered without primary legislation. For example, as I described, the End of Life Vehicles Directive and the WEEE Directive will effectively be delivered by simple

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transposition. We dealt with other aspects of the Landfill Directive by secondary legislation in May. The parts dealing with the targets relating to biodegradable municipal waste in Articles 5.1 and 5.2 of the Landfill Directive cannot be dealt with by secondary legislation or direct transposition. That is the reason why we have primary legislation and setting out the means to deliver that part of the directive and the strategy. That is why we have primary legislation setting out the means to deliver that part of the directive and that part of the strategy. Other parts of the strategy will be dealt with by legislative, fiscal and administrative measures. This is required in order to put the requirements of the directive into English law. It does not deal with the whole directive, let alone the whole of waste strategy, nor is it intended to. It is intended to deliver that part which deals with biodegradable municipal waste.

To that extent, noble Lords are being over-ambitious in trying to pull that all together in one piece of primary legislation. Primary legislation is not the same as a strategy, and we cannot load on to this legislation the other objectives of that strategy, most of which, insofar as they require legislative action, are adequately dealt with in other ways.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: Before the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, withdraws the amendment, I would like to say that one advantage of primary legislation is that one can discuss the issues far and wide. The advantage of this particular legislation is that we can discuss not merely the narrow aspects of this Bill, but the associated aspects as well. It would be quite wrong if the Committee did not take this opportunity to do just that.

The local government settlement was imposed upon us last week. I have not studied it closely, but it seems to me that local authorities in the South will be penalised to some degree. Yet there is perhaps more biodegradable waste in the South than in other parts of the country.

That might not seem relevant, but recycling is one of the ways of dealing with biodegradable waste. Starving local authorities of the ability to put in schemes for recycling does not help them at all. As I said on Second Reading, if local authorities are going to do the job properly and not impose great penalties on their council tax payers, they need a great deal of help and not hindrance.

This is the value of having a debate of this sort. At least those of us of little importance normally can put our views to the Government in the hope that perhaps they will listen just a bit.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I may have been guilty of inattention or possibly even deafness, but in his response the Minister did not deal with my query about the status of inert waste going to landfill, and whether there was any linkage between that and domestic biodegradable waste.

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Lord Whitty: There is no linkage with the provisions here dealing with construction waste, etcetera. Other parts of the Landfill Directive can deal with that.

It may be sensible if I outline the requirements of the directive. Different parts are dealt with in different ways. I also say to the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, that clearly it is open to the Committee to raise all these issues and discuss them. All I am saying is that the requirement for primary legislation to deliver a European target is the main focus of the Bill. That needs to fit in with all sorts of domestic and European obligations. The wider strategy is relevant. That has to be seen to be compatible and part of the delivery of the wider strategy, but it does not attempt to put into primary legislation anything like the totality of that wider strategy. It is quite right that we should discuss the context but I suggest that the Committee does not put too much of the context on the face of the Bill.

4 p.m.

Lord Greaves: I am grateful to Members who have taken part in the debate on these amendments. The debate that has taken place will usefully inform the rest of our discussions, and it will resonate through many of the amendments that we shall discuss later. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 2 to 5 not moved.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 [Non-target years]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 6:


    Page 2, line 17, at end insert—


"( ) If, for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, no amount is specified under subsection (1) for a year to which that subsection applies, the maximum shall not be more than the maximum amount for the last specified year."

The noble Lord said: This is a suitable moment to make the point that, as with so much of the Bill, we are to a large degree flying blind. Clause 1 begins with the words,


    "The Secretary of State must by regulations,

but we do not have the regulations, although the clause defines what the regulations may do. In Clause 2 we become even more querulous as it states,


    "The Secretary of State may by regulation",

and we do not have the regulations. Clause 1 concerns what are defined as scheme years and Clause 2 deals with the others. Because the Secretary of State "may by regulations specify", he does not have to, which means that there has to be some kind of mechanism for dealing with a non-scheme year that defines what should happen. We had that purpose in mind when we tabled Amendment No. 6.

The purpose is quite simple: it is to prevent someone in a non-scheme year, where there have been no regulations, from tipping in more waste than he or she had done under the regulated year the year before. It seems to us that that kind of safety measure is sensible, because if we are to make progress towards diminishing the amount of biodegradable waste going into landfill, it would be nonsense to have a gap which

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made it possible for there to be an increase in years where regulations had not been passed and which were not scheme years. I beg to move.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: I am not a lawyer, although I have looked at many Bills in my time, but I wish to clarify the situation as I see it. I am sure that the Minister and others will correct me. As I understand it, the target years are laid down by the Landfill Directive for 2010, 2012 and 2020. The assumption that I read into the Bill is that the Secretary of State specifies the maximum amount unilaterally for England. I assume, after receiving proposals from the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, that he will come to an agreement about what will be done in relation to those countries.

As I see it, Amendment No. 6 seeks not to increase the maximum amount by more than the amount for the last specified year. My feeling is that that may slow down progress towards achieving the target year amounts, and I wish to know whether that is the view of the Minister and the target years amounts as specified in the Landfill Directive. Were we to accept the amendment, that may eventually mean that the UK will not meet the targets laid down in the Landfill Directive, although I stand to be corrected if I have interpreted that wrongly. The default rule can seriously impact on councils, but the Secretary of State must pursue co-operative agreement, which would incorporate best practice. I make those observations and I should like clarification as to whether I have correctly interpreted the purpose of the Bill and the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith.

Lord Whitty: No doubt the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, can explain the purpose of his amendment. The position in the Bill is that the Secretary of State sets the targets for the scheme years, which indeed reflect the years of the directive, and then agreement is reached, if necessary, on each of the intervening years and allocations made by the Secretary of State for England and by the devolved administrations for the other countries.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: I am becoming confused. People are using the phrase scheme year; I wonder whether they mean target year. The scheme runs over the whole period, but the directive provides for target years. I do not understand the use of the term scheme year. Perhaps someone can explain.

Lord Whitty: My meaning of scheme year is those years which are specified in the directive. They are indeed targets and if it is easier we will call them target years. They are the targets specified in the directive for the years to which reference was made. The Secretary of State and the devolved administrations may then set targets for the intervening years.

I contend that the amendment is unnecessary because there is already a default position in the Bill in the following clause. If there is not agreement between the allocating authorities on the intervening years, the formula set out in Clause 3, which is based on a

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reducing scale over the years and to which the noble Lord, Lord Greaves drew attention during Second Reading, would come into play. There is therefore already a default position in the Bill.

The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, proposes an alternative default position that requires there to be a limit on each year's allocation, which, as I read it, could lead to the result that the noble Lord, Lord Greaves describes. Although I do not think that that is the intention behind the amendment, it could make matters slightly more difficult. However, one would still have to reach the point in the target year, so it would not undermine the requirement to reach the already specified target. Nevertheless, what is already in the Bill is a better formulation because it provides for steady progress towards the target in the period between the target years.


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