Control of Pesticides etc.

Part of Orders of the Day — Food and Environment Protection Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd 6:15 pm, 26th June 1985

I was disappointed with the Parliamentary Secretary's reply. While the House is anxious not to go over ground that was trodden in Committee, there are certain aspects that we must consider. For example, there is the question of regulations as against a report, for which the amendment calls.

I would describe regulations as legislative icebergs; they are what emerge into the public's gaze, not the totality of what occurs in their production. About five sixths of the consideration that goes into the framing of legislation never becomes known outside the conferences with advisers about which the Minister will know well.

On subjects of this nature, however, I should have thought that there was every virtue not only in making the regulations known — with their necessarily exact and spare use of English to make them legally enforceable—but for making known to the House, by means of an explanatory memorandum or by some other means, exactly what information impelled the Government to take the course of tabling regulations.

If the Minister would be prepared to do that, we would be reassured about the Government's intentions. I therefore ask the Parliamentary Secretary to accept amendment No. 34 on an integrated strategy for pest control. I have heard much about what is going on in specific projects, but nothing about an overall strategy, whereas we are asking for such a strategy.

Unless the Parliamentary Secretary can, by way of regulations in respect of the aerial spraying issue, reassure the public, their anxiety will not go away. The Government may avoid parliamentary bother—in that they will not have to produce an explanatory memorandum and explain why a hundred and one cases are not apposite or borne out by the facts—but in so doing they will be building up anxiety that many people feel about aerial spraying, either through incidents of which they are aware or of which neighbours have told them.

That anxiety will not disappear if the Government avoid dealing with it now. Thus, when the regulations are being published, I urge the Minister to publish at the same time an explanatory memorandum setting out an analysis of the incidents that have occurred and her conclusions on them.

Amendment negatived.