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Lord Hanningfield: My Lords, I thank the Minister for those comments. I think they were fairly helpful. I wish he had been a little more specific. However, I understand from his comments that the Government intend to find some mechanism by which this money can be kept in the system in order to help with waste disposal and recycling and not go into the Chancellor's or some other pocket. Therefore, we shall look at the matter in future stages when the Bill continues in another place. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 11 [Scheme regulations]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 5:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 5, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 7. These are small and trivial amendments but they enable me to make a worthwhile point. Both amendments are designed to improve the language on the face of the Bill. Clause 11(2)(c) states:

    "Regulations under subsection (1) may (in particular)— . . .

(c) make provision about what amounts to the utilisation of landfill allowances". The words,

    "make provision about what amounts to",

are both inelegant and inefficient. They are bad use of language. The word "define" fulfils the same function as those five words.

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Amendment No. 7 deals with Clause 11(2)(f), which states that the regulations may in particular, "make provision requiring". One word—require—achieves exactly the same purpose and would be more efficient and elegant. In both cases I suspect that my teachers at school would have failed me in my exams if I had used such English. Our Bills, as far as possible, should be written in efficient, elegant and comprehensible English.

I have tabled further amendments. However, because time is pressing I shall probably not move them. They are directed towards the same purpose. I think the point is worth making and that these two examples are quite stark. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, on the face of the matter, one might be tempted to agree both with the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, and his teacher. However, I must point out that there are legal difficulties, in particular with the second amendment. Clause 11(2) gives examples of the types of provision, and therefore we have to refer to "provision".

Clause 10(2)(c) would permit regulations to make clear what utilisation of landfill allowances occurs. Those regulations may well need to set out a sizeable list of circumstances where an allowance will be taken to be utilised. Although that could be presented as a definition, the current reference to "provision" covers exactly that type of utilisation.

As regards the words "make provision", mentioned in Amendment No. 7, I am advised that that wording is necessary from a legal viewpoint in order to cover the subsequently referred to provisions.

The case is slightly less strong in relation to Amendment No. 5. It would be possible to exclude the words "make provision". However, given that it is always desirable to have a degree of uniformity of approach, the advice is that this change of terminology would not help. There is something to be said for uniformity when one makes lists in order to make clear that none of the examples is subsidiary to the other. I would therefore prefer to maintain that subsidiarity by retaining the current wording.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I listened to the noble Lord with interest and almost amazement. Of course, I have to defer in this instance, as he does, to lawyers. I am afraid that the points made do not impress me because if we can present legislation in a more comprehensible way, we should. This language is inelegant, even if it does not entirely do precisely what I would wish it to do efficiently. None the less, the point is made. I think it is a valid one.

The Minister spoke about Clause 10. It was actually Clause 11 that these amendments occurred in, but that was merely a slip of the tongue. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 6 to 8 not moved.]

Clause 14 [Disclosure of information by monitoring and allocating authorities]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 9:

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    Page 10, line 35, at end insert—

"( ) Each allocating authority must disclose, at three yearly intervals, to the Secretary of State such monitoring information as he may by regulation direct, in order to comply with Article 15 of Council Directive 1999/31/EC."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we think that Amendment No. 9 is worth pursuing. The directive states:

    "At intervals of three years Member States shall send to the Commission a report on the implementation of this Directive, paying particular attention to the national strategies to be set up in pursuance of Article 5".

That is absolutely fine. The report will be on the basis of a questionnaire. We do not know what will be in it because it has not yet been prepared by the Commission. However, we know that the Government will submit precise information on a three-yearly basis. The purpose of the amendment is to require the collection authorities to produce the relevant information and to report it on a three-year basis. Therefore, it will be readily available to the Government. They will not need to make subsequent regulations when they know what precisely is required.

It may be said that I am now buying insurance against the future. I accept that criticism, but the amendment is a genuine attempt to try to save the Government future difficulties in requiring additional information which people are not already preparing. It can easily be done because nowadays everyone keeps a mass of statistics in this area. It is a question of filing them in an appropriate file on a computer so that they are ready for triennial submission. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I understand that the noble Lord is trying to be helpful. Nevertheless, I cannot accept the amendment. The Secretary of State will be required to report the UK's progress on the implementation of the landfill directive—including on Articles 5(1) and (2), which the Bill seeks to implement—at three-yearly intervals, as the noble Lord indicates. That will be in response to a questionnaire sent out by the EU Commission. In order to provide the EU with an accurate report, it will be necessary for the Secretary of State—in this case DEFRA—to obtain information from each allocating authority; namely, the devolved administrations as well as our own.

We have a good relationship with the devolved administrations. We have fully consulted with them regarding the terms of the Bill. We are all agreed about the direction in which we wish to go. In that spirit of co-operation following devolution, it is expected that each of the devolved administrations would provide the information necessary to fulfil our reporting obligations. Those obligations are covered by the memorandum of understanding and so-called concordats between the Westminster/Whitehall machine and the devolved administrations.

We have not thought it necessary to put on the face of the Bill the terms of those concordats. If we started doing so in one respect, I think there would be problems in others. Therefore, we do not think it necessary or appropriate to use the Bill to compel—as

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the amendment would—the devolved administrations to pass information to the Secretary of State. We are content to rely on the memorandum of understanding and the concordats.

I hope that with that explanation, the noble Lord will not pursue the amendment.


Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I hear what the Minister has said—I always listen with care—and am grateful to him for his response. In speaking to this amendment, I acknowledged a weakness in that I was attempting to anticipate the future, which is always slightly dangerous. With that in mind, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 16 [Registers: public access]:

[Amendments Nos. 10 and 11 not moved.]

Clause 17 [Strategy for England]:

Lord Dixon-Smith had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 12:

    Page 11, line 35, at end insert—

"( ) The measures mentioned in subsection (2) must include measures to reduce non-municipal biodegradable waste going to landfill."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 14 to 16. The Government kindly dealt in many ways with the subject in a letter. I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, who had the letter prepared and signed. It acknowledges, in particular, that there are remarkable success stories in some aspects of non-municipal biodegradable waste, particularly packaging. The noble Baroness noted that some 80 per cent of the 19 million tonnes of commercial and industrial biodegradable waste in England was recycled. That is a remarkable achievement worth putting on the record.

Earlier in the letter the noble Baroness caused me some confusion, which practically justified my amendment. She said that waste disposal authorities and waste collection authorities picked up around 100,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste every weekday. She added that the amount of biodegradable waste in municipal solid waste varies according to waste management infrastructure and so on. It makes it sound as though we do not know what is happening in that area. It seems that there would be room for slippage. But I acknowledge that a good deal of work is happening. In the circumstances, I shall not move the amendment.

[Amendment No. 12 not moved.]

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