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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the first observation of the noble Lord will be extremely well received by the Prime Minister. It is gratifying to have support from such a quarter. I refer back to what I read out on behalf of the Prime Minister, which I believe will satisfy or reassure the noble Lord:

there is then the critical proviso—

    "provided, as ever, that seeking such a resolution is a way of resolving the issue not delaying or avoiding dealing with it at all".

I do not believe that it was said that foreign policy should take into account simply United Kingdom and United States interests. Indeed the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, made precisely the contrary point. He said that this is a situation of such gravity that it affects the whole of the world and that it must be viewed in an international context.

The noble Lord, Lord Wallace, also said that we must not narrowly consider ourselves to be superior in every respect. On this occasion my mind chimes with his and not with the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont. Humanitarian values are not contained within the sole repository of western nations.

Lord Carlile of Berriew: My Lords, does the Minister agree that there is a loose linkage between the Iraqi issue and the Israeli/Palestinian issue and that it would be desirable to emerge from this period of modern history with a resolution to both problems? Will the noble and learned Lord assure the House that both the British Government and the American Government will use the present uncertain phase in Israeli politics to try to ensure that the Israeli Government adopt a conciliatory attitude towards the outcome, rather than an intransigent attitude towards what occurs in future?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the United Kingdom Government's intention is to use their best endeavours to that purpose. The United States, for obvious historic cultural and traditional reasons, has a close connection with the state of Israel. Israel has many supporters there as it does here. I refer back to what the Prime Minister said at the Labour Party conference, that we must arrive at final status

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negotiations on the basis of the 1967 boundaries. I hope that it is not without significance to your Lordships that the reference to which the noble Lord pointed is at the beginning of the Statement. It was not there by chance.

Lord Dahrendorf: My Lords, as one who supports the Government's policy on Iraq and notably the line that the Prime Minister has taken throughout, it seems to me of crucial importance that a clear and persuasive case is made now that stands up to public scrutiny. In that connection my noble friend Lord Wallace of Saltaire has asked one question about which an additional word may be said: that is the connection between Iraq and terrorism. As I understand it, the issue of Iraq is one of weapons of mass destruction and, although there may be a linkage to terrorism, the two matters are not the same. He spoke of conflating them. Would the noble and learned Lord care to add a word on that important point?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the two are not identical but they may have similar components. The real case for the use of armed force against Iraq depends entirely on international law and significantly, but not entirely, on Resolution 1441 and, if there is to be a second resolution, on that. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have endlessly repeated—I too have repeated to your Lordships on many occasions—that the United Kingdom's policy is to act consistent with the rules of international law.

Therefore, essentially Iraq is liable to armed force sanctions if that is the ultimate necessity because of its disobedience to the mandatory instructions of the United Nations. I am not in a position to speculate exactly what Secretary of State Colin Powell will say on Wednesday. Perhaps we should wait to hear what he has to say. I take the point made by the noble Lord that the two should not be conflated, even when they are coincident in part. Al'Qaeda is not a state; Iraq is. Al'Qaeda operates in various states, but I agree that the state of Afghanistan does not need to be pursued and punished endlessly because Al'Qaeda operates there. If Al'Qaeda ceases to operate there, different circumstances will arise. The truth is that we are in a period of uncertainty that can be met only by resolution and unity, which I am glad your Lordships have shown.

Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [HL]

4.28 p.m.

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

Clause 1 [Target Years]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 2:

    Page 1, line 19, at end insert—

"( ) The total of the amounts specified under subsection (1)(b) to (e) for a year must not exceed the amount allowed for any previous year."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 2 is grouped with Amendments Nos. 4 and 6. The wording of all three is identical. When we debated this

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part of the Bill in Grand Committee there was general agreement that there was unlikely to be smooth progress in statistical terms towards the targets that would be reached and that waste disposal would probably shift in steps rather than in a smooth progression. Perhaps I can deal with the debate on this amendment and on a number of subsequent groups of amendments, but only briefly.

What is likely to happen is that because of the need to change the way in which waste is disposed of and the need for capital investment and so forth, there will be delay before things really begin to change and its pace will accelerate.

As regards the European directive, which governs these matters, there are two critical dates which we have to consider. They are absolute and there is nothing that can be done about them. Further on in the Bill, there is a clause which we shall seek to have excised. It contains a terrifying formula until plotted out on a graph when we find that it runs in a straight line. The formula then becomes comprehensible. The straight line gives rise to problems because initially people will be unable to meet it, but subsequently they may get ahead of the straight line.

We believe that it would be much easier if the Bill, as we suggest here, said:

    "The total of the amounts specified under subsection (l)(b) to (e) for a year must not exceed the amount allowed for any previous year".

That becomes even more significant when we reach the question of a penalty regime. The Minister is bringing forward amendments which will enable the Government to pass on their penalty for failure to the authorities which caused the failure to arise in the first place. There are clauses within the Bill which give the Minister power to decide whether penalties should become payable or not, how they should become payable, or whether they could be deferred.

The Government are becoming policeman, judge, jury and everything else in the same cause. I shall probably have to say that two or three times during the course of today. This is the beginning of the process. These are straightforward amendments. In the light of the developments over penalties, we need to think very seriously about how the Bill is going to work. That is the reason for the amendments. I beg to move.

4.30 p.m.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: My Lords, these are new amendments which seek to stop a waste disposal authority increasing the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill sites from one year to the next. I believe that the amendments are rightly put forward as probing amendments. It will be interesting to hear the Minister's response. On the face of it, an increase in the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill sites should not happen. The proposal reduces the flexibility given to the waste disposal authority to use the provisions to carry

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allowances forward or backwards between years or to trade with other waste disposal authorities. That could inflict on councils less flexibility.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, when I first read the amendment I was slightly puzzled as to its intentions. I believe that I now understand what the noble Lord is driving at. As regards changing the situation, the amendment makes the scheme less flexible rather than more. The Bill already meets the noble Lord's objectives.

The default position between years is defined by the formula, and we come to that at a later stage. Were there unusual circumstances in which we had to agree a different rate of progress, then it would be open to the Secretary of State to vary the figures. The basic principle is that the Secretary of State will specify at the beginning of the process for each year what is required to reach the target. There is the possibility of altering it in view of changed circumstances. The figures are available for the local authority to achieve through each year of the process. The noble Lord suggests that the purpose is not clear. It is a view partly based, I believe, on a misconception that amounts would be set at various stages during the process. That is not the intention.

Amendment No. 4 raises a slightly different issue. I have some sympathy for what it tries to achieve. Obviously, it would be extremely unusual for any of the countries of the United Kingdom to be allowed to send more biodegradable municipal waste to landfill sites in a scheme year than in an earlier one. As I said, I anticipate that the regulations will specify from the outset the amount that can be sent in any specific year. However, the amendment would require that the amount of biodegradable municipal waste allowed to be sent to landfill sites would be less in each successive year under all circumstances.

We shall come to the provision and alteration of targets later. That gives us some flexibility; this amendment would override it. It would not allow sufficient flexibility to deal with unforeseen circumstances, for example, an outbreak of BSE or foot and mouth disease. Such an outbreak would require us to suspend some of the targets concerning landfill. That is why flexibility is in the Bill.

Amendment No. 6 contains an unnecessary precaution. The default formula is designed to ensure that the maximum amounts calculated using the formula represent the rate of progress needed to meet the landfill directive target. If we stick to that process there would be equal annual steps. I understand the position which the noble Lord takes, but the full effect of the amendments would be to introduce less flexibility and not more.

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