Guidance on Costs and Benefits

New clause 3 – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 27th June 1995.

Alert me about debates like this

  1. '.—(1) The Secretary of State shall, upon the passing of this Act, prepare a Report (Costs and Benefits in the Environment Act 1995) to be laid before each House of Parliament which shall contain guidance on the role, definition and usages of the terms "costs" and "benefits" as they occur in this Act.
  2. (2) In preparing the Report, the Secretary of State shall consult with, and have regard to, the opinion and recommendations of—
    1. (a) the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution,
    2. (b) the House of Commons Select Committee on the Environment,
    3. (c) the House of Lords Select Committee on Sustainable Development, and
    4. (d) The Prime Minister's Panel on Sustainable Development, as to the content and conclusions of the said Report.
  3. (3) No powers or duties conferred by this Act which entail any assessment of costs or benefits shall come into force until the Report required in subsection ( I ) above, has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.'.—[Ms Ruddock.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse , Pontefract and Castleford

With this, it will be convenient to discuss also the following amendments: No. 29, in clause 38, page 33, line 13, leave out clause 38.

No. 3, in clause 38, page 33, line 19, leave out from `account' to end of line 6 and insert `any ministerial guidance as to the likely costs and benefits of the exercise or non-exercise of the power or its exercise in the matter in question, where such guidance exists.'. No. 252, in clause 38, page 33, line 25, at end insert— '(3) Nothing is this section shall be construed as implying a requirement on the agencies to use cost-benefit analysis in order to arrive at any decision.'.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford

The new clause is an attempt to challenge the Government's repeated assertion that cost-benefit considerations in respect of the Environment Agency's functions can properly be enshrined in statute without detriment to environmental protection. It is grouped with alternative proposals relating to guidance and an amendment that would delete clause 38.

I say at the outset that deletion of clause 38 would be our preferred course of action. Similar sentiments are clearly expressed in amendment No. 252, which we also support. That feeling unites not only the Opposition parties but every major conservation and green pressure group in the country. The issue has given cause for concern, which was publicly expressed by the Royal Commission on environmental pollution, the Prime Minister's panel on sustainable development and the Environment Agency advisory committee.

The crux of the matter is that the Environment Agency has been given a principal aim of protecting and enhancing the environment, yet, under both clause 4 and clause 38, which was formerly clause 37, it has a duty to have regard to "costs" and "benefits". Indeed, in Committee, the Minister said that he believed that clause 37 applied to clause 4. Those debates have caused a great deal of uncertainty, a sense that the agency's principal aim could be subordinated to cost-benefit analysis and a feeling that the draft guidance and ministerial answers to date have only added to the confusion.

New clause 38 would require the Government to face up to the problem that they have created. It requires the Secretary of State to consult his own experts—the Royal Commission on environmental pollution, the House of Commons Select Committee on the Environment, the House of Lords Select Committee on Sustainable Development and the Prime Minister's panel on sustainable development—and then to produce a report containing guidance on the role, definition and usages of costs and benefits. That is a wholly reasonable proposition. Surely the Government should not place a duty on the new Environment Agency unless they can explain how that duty should be put into effect.

Our concern, and that of the Council for the Protection of Rural England and of Greenpeace, which have both taken counsel's opinion on the matter, is that a duty on the face of the Bill will expose the agency to legal challenge by way of judicial review. Costs to industry are easily calculated. Costs to the environment are not. Even if cases do not reach the courts, there is a real danger that the new agency will be constrained in seeking to impose requirements on polluters where considerable cost might be anticipated. The environment stands to be the loser.

Many organisations have pressed briefings and questions on hon. Members for this debate. I trust that the Minister will answer them directly tonight, even if he will not accept the new clause. I wish to repeat only a couple of the questions posed by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Will the Minister assure us that environmental protection and enhancement will be at the heart of all the Environment Agency's functions? Will he assure the House that costs and benefits will not be the sole criteria by which the standards and targets to be achieved by the agencies will be set? [Interruption.]

The Minister is replying in the affirmative from a sedentary position. I am delighted that he does so, but I would much prefer it if he put his answer more fully on the record. Does he agree that, while costs and benefits are appropriate in guidance, they should not be used as a decision-making process in their own right? They should be used instead to seek cost-effective means for achieving standards rather than determining what those standards should be.

We believe that the fact that the overriding duty of the new agency is to be hedged around with cost-benefit considerations is another example of how commercial interests have been allowed to undermine the fundamental purpose of the Environment Agency. We press the Government, even at this late stage, to hear the force and weight of contrary opinion and to remove that constraint on the Environment Agency before it is too late.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Carlisle Mr Kenneth Carlisle , Lincoln

This subject was much debated in Standing Committee and I think that it is right that we should debate it again. However, that is in the context of a Bill that has very clear environmental aims and that, in my view and in that of all the members of the Standing Committee regardless of party, contributes much to the environment. In considering this rather contentious subject, it is worth bearing in mind the fact that the thrust of the Bill is to give the agency duties to protect or enhance the environment. New clause 3 should be seen in that context.

In Standing Committee, I said that I thought that it was absolutely right that an agency of this nature should have regard to proper cost-benefit analysis. After all, in coming to a conclusion about any difficult decision, it is perfectly reasonable and right to consider all the facts objectively and to try to understand them. That, of course, means considering the costs. It is quite wrong for a responsible body to take action without understanding the cost. However, benefits are also important and environmental benefits, especially for an agency such as this, are absolutely crucial.

In Committee, we understood and debated the difficulty of costing benefits when they are intangible. How, for example, does one cost the destruction or creation of an ancient woodland? How does one cost the maintenance of an ancient water meadow which cannot be restored were it to be destroyed? Those are some of the difficult factors against which it is almost impossible to put facts and figures.

In the Department of Transport, for example, there were huge efforts to try to work out the environmental costs of a road scheme. It was generally thought, after much study, that they could not be properly costed but that they had to be taken into account. Therefore, the Government have a clear duty to give guidance about things that are difficult to cost and of great environmental value so that they can be properly taken into account.

I agree with the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms Ruddock) that, to a certain extent, the Bill sends conflicting signals. It places a duty on the agency to protect and enhance the environment but it also contains a cost-benefit clause. I therefore have some sympathy with new clause 3, which provides that the Government should give guidance to the agency on how it is to deal with the cost-benefit analysis. I was struck by a briefing from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which regards a cost-benefit analysis as a useful tool but asks that it should be put in its proper context and for proper consideration to be given to the environment.

I hope that the Minister will tell us how the Government are going to advise the agency to take environmental factors into account so that the proper purpose of the Bill can be achieved but the value of the cost-benefit analysis retained. We seek an objective understanding of any actions taken but want proper protection and improvement of the environment included in the equation.

6 pm

Photo of Paddy Tipping Paddy Tipping , Sherwood

Since we discussed the issue in Committee, I have received a document called "Plan It" which was produced by the Nottingham Youth Environmental Forum 1994. It is subtitled "The Essential Guide to Saving the Planet", and a third heading reads "Saving the World Starts Here". It was launched last month by a group of young people in Nottinghamshire, and I commend it to the Minister because it goes to the very heart of the matter.

The young people in question focused on real examples, such as the cost of a new road and how that road affects the environment. They focused on the cost of protecting an important wildlife site and have borne in mind the need to balance costs and benefits and the need to balance accountancy costs with the desire to save the planet. It is easy to account for the cost of a new road in financial terms but, as the hon. Member for Lincoln (Sir K. Carlisle) pointed out, it is much more difficult to put a cost on the destruction of ancient woodland.

I know that the Government are aware of the matter, but my anxiety is caused by the fact that the discussion has only just started. We are in the very early days of saving the planet and balancing the important arguments. I know that the Minister has issued guidance but I do not feel that he has taken the debate much further.

We need to examine closely new techniques about the cost and value of lifting the landscape and environmental improvement. They are key issues, ones on which the young people of Nottinghamshire have focused. Again, I commend their document to the Minister because it goes right to the heart of the matter. As it is "The Essential Guide to Saving the Planet", I have no hesitation in sending it to him and asking him to consider the views set out in it.

Photo of Mrs Helen Jackson Mrs Helen Jackson , Sheffield, Hillsborough

As the Minister will know, the new clause deals not with whether costs and benefits should be recognised by the Environment Agency as important considerations but with whether it is better to include them in ministerial guidelines to the agency or in the Bill. The new clause should be accepted because, if it is not, when there is a query about a pollution incident that needs remedial action, the tendency may be for the polluter to look to the accountant to draw up reasons why the company cannot afford the remedial action instead of looking to its policy development officer to work constructively with the agency to find ways to reduce or remove the pollution. Polluters have to take an important decision. A duty included in the Bill may mean that the agency rather than the polluter could end up in the dock in court.

Since we discussed the matter in Committee, I have received parliamentary answers relating to the enforcement aspects of the existing agencies—Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the National Rivers Authority—and the frequency and success of the court actions that they have undertaken in the past three years. In a written parliamentary answer relating to HMIP, which undertook 38 court actions in the past three years, the Minister said: When considering what level of enforcement action to take, HMIP considers not only the environmental consequences and operator culpability but how to ensure that remedial action to prevent a recurrence is carried out."—[Official Report, 23 May 1995; Vol. 260, c. 524.] That is good, but the cost-benefit clause means that when HMIP becomes part of the environmental agency, it will also have to take into account the potential costs or otherwise to the polluter before it considers whether to take enforcement action. That is an unreasonable burden to place on the new agency.

If there is a problem for the HMIP side, there is much more of a problem for the NRA side. The NRA undertook not 38 court actions in the past three years but 830, from which the Treasury gained £3 million in fines. The success rate was very high. Of the 830, 789 were successful; 100 were against water and sewerage undertakers and resulted in fines totalling £500,000.

Are the Government really saying that the enforcement actions of their own agencies have been too successful? Are they saying that the NRA has been unfair to water companies such as Yorkshire Water, which was taken to court 11 times in 1993 and fined £100,000 from its several million pounds worth of pre-tax profits? Are they saying that that was unjust to the polluters?

If that duty is included in the Bill, it will not only weaken the enforcement powers of the agency but will cause delays because of the extra time that the agency will have to take to consider the costs properly before it takes enforcement action. It will also increase the likelihood of the polluter going to litigation rather than taking remedial action on the basis of consensus with the agency, which is what I believe members of all parties on the Committee were driving at.

Photo of Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith , Strathkelvin and Bearsden

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mrs. Jackson), I stress that we are not opposed to a cost-benefit analysis being undertaken because it is appropriate. Our objection to the cost-benefit analysis being written into the Bill is, as the hon. Member for Lincoln (Sir K. Carlisle) said, that it produces conflicting advice. On the one hand, the agency has a duty to protect and enhance the environment but, on the other, it has a duty to take into account the cost-benefit analysis.

That conflicting advice is bad enough for the Environment Agency, but it creates an even greater problem for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Whereas the Environment Agency has a duty to protect and enhance the environment, according to clause 38, SEPA has only to "have regard to" the desirability of conserving and enhancing the environment. It has a rather vague duty under clause 38, but under clause 37 it must take into account the cost-benefit analysis. I think that that negates much of the Bill's impact. It sends out conflicting signals and the resulting conflicts will be tested in various ways, not least through the courts.

The second reason why I do not think that the provision should be on the face of the Bill is that it is not yet a tested method of analysis. The Minister said in Committee that there had been on-going work in that subject and that perhaps properly worked out methods were around the corner. I am not so sure about that. It is clear that there are no good, hard-and-fast methods of assessing cost-benefit analyses. The methods will change from day to day and from year to year and, therefore, they should not be written into the Bill. We do not want to change the statute constantly, so the provision should remain in the form of ministerial guidance which can be altered.

Let us return to the example of the black-throated divers, which became famous in Committee. As I see it, a cost-benefit analysis involves an assessment of cost to business or someone else on one side and benefit to the environment on the other. The black-throated diver is under threat from eutrophication and acidification, among other things. We can work out the cost of eliminating acidification, but if that is the cost of saving the black-throated diver, how could one then work out the benefit of saving the black-throated diver and, finally, arrive at a cost-benefit analysis? If the Minister can answer that question I may go some way towards agreeing with him.

I should like to know how to work out the cost-benefit analysis in the case of the black-throated diver. I think that that would be very difficult to do and, therefore, I think that the measure should remain in guidance form so that we may examine it again when the methodology develops further. For those reasons, I urge the Minister to adopt the new clauses.

Photo of Matthew Taylor Matthew Taylor Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment)

Clause 38 has been a fundamental issue of concern from an environmental perspective throughout the consideration of the Environment Bill. On the face of it, the requirement to have regard to costs and benefits looks entirely reasonable. However, as hon. Members in all parts of the House have pointed out, the practicalities are another matter. I do not believe that Ministers have addressed the concerns successfully at any stage because there is no answer to the fundamental concerns about that issue.

In Committee, the Minister admitted that many of the concerns raised about clause 38 would be unacceptable to the working of the agencies. He agreed that it would be unreasonable to require the Agencies in every case to undertake vast examinations of all possible costs and benefits and that a requirement on the Agencies always to demonstrate that the benefits outweigh the costs before they could act would be both damaging and unworkable". He also agreed that it is essential to avoid a position in which the Agencies are unable to exercise their judgment or are obliged to exercise it in ways that give undue weight to short term or financial cost for fear that they would be unreasonably exposed to challenge in the courts."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 18 May 1995; c. 283–84.] While agreeing on those points, the Minister failed to explain at any stage how to avoid that situation. It is the first time in legal history that statutory environmental agencies are being charged with a duty to place cost considerations ahead of the environment in the decision-making process. No other environmental agency—whether it is the National Rivers Authority, English Nature or the Countryside Commission—has that statutory requirement. The Minister has not produced any examples of where that has been a problem in practice and he has not given any examples of how the application of a cost-benefit analysis would have led to a different conclusion.

6.15 pm

I believe that the duty may open up the agencies to judicial review. Constant legal challenge to the agencies—whether from environmental or industrial interests—would undermine the possibility of their operating satisfactorily. In response to that concern, Ministers have argued that the likelihood of judicial review is slight given alternative appeal mechanisms. Frankly, being bogged down with alternative appeal mechanisms will not resolve the problem satisfactorily—particularly when that process could end in judicial review at enormous cost to the agencies.

As many hon. Members have argued already, Ministers have not explained how environmental—as opposed to financial—benefits and costs can be measured properly. I will not elaborate on that argument because it has been well made today by many hon. Members—including the hon. Member for Lincoln (Sir K. Carlisle). A cost-benefit analysis may be useful in circumstances where it is possible to identify the costs and the benefits, but overwhelmingly the agencies will be dealing with matters where that is not the case.

It goes even further than that. When it is possible to identify environmental costs and benefits, it is likely that the financial costs and benefits will be taken more seriously. The Government inquiry "Next Steps New Agencies" makes that point, and notes: Financial targets are given a much higher priority. This appears when New Agencies wish to invest in order to improve quality. Chief Executives do not always feel allowed to make such investments. Furthermore, they believe they are only judged on the result of financial targets". The guidance issued by Ministers recognises that problem. It states: it is not always possible to quantify the value of improvements or losses to the environment. Moreover, it is not always obvious what the environmental impact of a decision will be, even in physical terms". Having noted that problem, however, the guidance fails to set down any solutions. It does not set down factors which should be taken into account when setting agency criteria and objectives. The importance of using the best available science is mentioned in respect of risk assessment, but a clear and more widely applicable framework is not included in the guidance or the Bill as a duty of the agencies. As there is no accepted methodology, it remains more an art than a science. Therefore, I do not believe that it will work in practice and it certainly should not be applied as a statutory duty on the agencies.

The costs and benefits which must be taken into account may also get bogged down in individual detailed decisions. Will they apply to individual cases or will they apply only to overall policies and strategies? The Minister, whose comments I quoted earlier, seemed to accept that it would be impractical for the agencies if they were to apply in every individual case. However, clause 38 refers to particular cases and the guidance refers to the impact on individual companies and industry sectors. That suggests that the Environment Agency will be expected to apply cost-benefit considerations case by case in exercising its powers.

Does that mean that the Department of Trade and Industry will offer advice about how to cost the value of water for every possible use so that the agency can assess the costs and benefits to individual companies and industry sectors as required by the guidance? If the agency must rely on information that is provided by the company or the individual concerned, how will it assess the accuracy of the information supplied? I do not see how a statutory duty to take costs and benefits into account can realistically be placed upon the agency, especially if it requires that sort of detail.

If the Government refuse to delete clause 38, they should at least place a duty upon the agency to take the "best practicable environmental option" in discharging its duties, using its powers or pursuing its objectives. While cost-benefit analysis has a role in the work of the agency, it should be used only to find cost-effective ways of implementing agreed standards and not for deciding what those standards should be. That distinction should be made clear in the Bill and the guidance.

The Government should ensure that other criteria also play a part in setting the standards and targets to be achieved by the agency. Cost-benefit analysis can only be part of a multiple-criterion system. Without that, the Minister and the Government remain guilty of seeking to apply cost-benefit analysis for the sake of looking good to their business sponsors, without having explained to the House the way in which it will work or considered the way in which it may affect those business sponsors.

As I have argued previously, the environmental movement may have a greater interest than business in pursuing some of those issues. It wishes to test the effect—which may be detrimental—of cost-benefit analysis on the environment, whereas business hopes to benefit from it.

Photo of Mr Cynog Dafis Mr Cynog Dafis , Ceredigion and Pembroke North

I wish to associate myself very strongly with the anxieties that have been expressed about clause 38. I wish to support the spirit of amendments Nos. 29 and 3—and amendments Nos. 13 and 14, which originated from the Liberal Democrat Benches, but which were not selected. I shall speak to my amendment, No. 252, which would provide a useful safeguard if the Government were to insist on retaining clause 38. It is obvious to me, as it is to other people, that the consideration of the costs and benefits of any action is simply a matter of common sense. Of course costs and benefits should be considered. Obviously, it would be absurd to go to enormous cost to achieve an insignificant environmental benefit.

I welcome some of the statements that have been made by the Secretary of State about the issue of costs and benefits, because he has emphasised a new interpretation of them, different from the one with which we have become familiar. Rather than emphasising the need for environmental benefits to be justified in terms of economic cost, he has emphasised the other approach—the need to consider carefully whether any economic benefit can be justified in terms of the considerable environmental cost that it might entail. That is a useful interpretation of the idea of costs and benefits. It has contributed to a fuller understanding of the subject. However, I would strongly question, as others have done, the need to state on the face of the Bill what is a matter of common sense.

I wish to go further, and consider the issue of cost-benefit analysis as distinct from merely considering costs and benefits, because it is not quite the same thing. I have grave reservations about the use of cost-benefit analysis for any purpose. I regard it as a spurious sub-discipline of conventional economics, attempting to encompass considerations that properly belong to the fields of natural science and ethics.

Conventional economics is in deep trouble these days, and it has great difficulty coping with the revolution in understanding that environmental politics brings to us. So there it is, trying to encompass that difficulty, or to modernise itself, as it were, by inventing what I regard as a spurious sub-discipline. It does so by monetising considerations which cannot and should not be quantified in monetary terms, because to try to do so produces ridiculous distortions and wrong decisions.

I shall mention a couple of examples. One is the way in which the Welsh Office highways directorate considers road schemes and uses cost-benefit analysis. The Welsh Office approach to that has been very effectively demolished in the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales document, "Wales Needs Transport not Traffic", which merits careful study. Specifically, that document says: The only way environmental costs enter the equation"— in the cost-benefit analysis— such as the damage done to a site of special scientific interest or an area of outstanding natural beauty, is as a capital cost of land acquisition. Because such sites are often of poor agricultural quality, this cost is usually low, when it should be very high. Even worse, the cost of acquiring an SSSI is actually reduced because the designation as an SSSI imposes constraints on the possibility of development, so it reduces its development value, reduces its market price and, in a perverse way, creates an incentive to put a road through it. That is an extraordinary situation.

It might be argued that the way to correct that is to place a monetary value on the scientific or aesthetic worth of the SSSI or the area of outstanding natural beauty. However, the question is how to do that, and the fact is that it cannot be done. Any attempt to do so will merely give spurious objectivity to an assessment that cannot be subject to objective measurement. The aesthetic or scientific value of an SSSI is not subject to objective measurement.

Some time ago, I discussed a far worse example of the use of cost-benefit analysis—as I trust that one of the Ministers will remember—in the Adjournment debate that I initiated on climate change. I have had correspondence with his Department following that debate. Cost-benefit analysis is being used by economists in the United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change to consider what actions might be appropriate to tackle global warming. That research is being given international credence and is partly funded by United Kingdom public moneys. In the process, it is being suggested that the cost to American gross domestic product caused by reducing automobile production in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is greater than the benefit of saving Bangladeshi farmland, on which many thousands of people depend for their subsistence.

Even more serious, and scarcely credible, but nevertheless true, is the fact that the IPCC economists, some of whom are UK economists, are ascribing differential values to human lives and feeding calculations based on such valuations into the consideration of whether specific actions are cost-effective and therefore worth implementing. Typically, an American life is valued at 10 times a Bangladeshi life. That is in the documentation—that is the type of thing that is going on. The Secretary of State, to his credit, is on record as rejecting that opinion. He stated in a question session that he believed that all human lives were of equal value. It is nice to have that type of confirmation.

The question is whether the clause requires the use of cost-benefit analysis. Unfortunately, the draft ministerial guidance to the Environment Agency gives its approval to the use of that spurious sub-discipline. It says: The use of risk analysis techniques and formal cost benefit analysis may be a useful aid to such consideration in appropriate cases. I do not believe that it is, although the guidance goes on to qualify that in a way that I welcome. It says: Costs and benefits which are unquantifiable or which cannot readily be given monetary valuations should also be considered". It therefore suggests that cost-benefit analysis is done first, and then one considers the environmental value separately from the cost-benefit analysis. In those circumstances, what validity does the cost-benefit analysis have? In any case, it falls well short of discrediting cost-benefit analysis as a valid academic discipline, which is what is needed.

The dangers of applying cost-benefit analysis to the duties of the agency are illustrated by an example provided today in a briefing document by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It mentioned that a cost-benefit analysis study was commissioned by the National Rivers Authority to consider options for tackling a loss of about £15,000 per year of winter wheat as a result of flooding in Kent. The cost-benefit analysis led to the conclusion that the installation of a land drainage pump at the outfall of the Capel Fleet—I assume that that is a river—should be carried out, at a cost of £250,000. The key is that that decision—to take action—was arrived at by including no costs to the environment and no benefit to the environment from pursuing the option of creating wildlife habitats.

Photo of Mrs Anne Campbell Mrs Anne Campbell , Cambridge

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will consider also the Brent Spar disposal. After careful consideration, Shell reached the conclusion that deep-water disposal would cost £12 million and that horizontal dismantling would cost £46 million. That did not take into account the environmental effects of having a structure such as the Brent Spar, full of toxic waste, in deep water. Does the hon. Gentleman regard that as another valid example of cost-benefit analysis not creating the right picture?

Photo of Mr Cynog Dafis Mr Cynog Dafis , Ceredigion and Pembroke North 6:30 pm, 27th June 1995

I am not sure that Shell carried out a cost-benefit analysis which included environmental considerations. Shell is now claiming that the environmental damage of bringing the Brent Spar to shore is likely to be greater than sinking it. That should all have been considered at the outset, to see whether the Brent Spar could be designed so that it might be brought ashore in an environmentally acceptable way. That raises the question of whether oil should be extracted from deep-sea sources, thereby ultimately creating an environmentally impossible situation.

If the Bill must contain a reference to cost benefits, as the Government believe, new clause 3 should also protect the agency from the requirement to use that spurious discipline. I urge the Government to accept the amendment as an addition to the clause and not a requirement to be deleted.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien , Normanton

The amendment seeks to improve the Bill, which grew each time it was debated in Committee in another place and in this House. More and more amendments were made and new clauses added, so that the Bill is now one of the largest that the House has enacted for some time. It devotes more pages to schedules than to clauses, and much of the information that it contains will have to be studied by the companies, industry, local government, commercial organisations and even individuals who will be affected by the Bill in some way. We want the Bill presented in such a way that the public will enjoy the full benefit of the legislation.

We in the Opposition do not oppose the principle and spirit of the Bill. There is much merit in the agency arrangements, but we are concerned about the agency's duties and responsibilities. We are not against assessing the cost of schemes, but how are they to be decided? To leave the Bill in its present form will not help the organisations which will have to analyse costs and compare benefits.

The amendment requires that before any scheme is considered, the Secretary of State—after consulting the bodies involved—will present a report to Parliament so that it will have an opportunity to consider the costs and benefits. That constructive approach will assist everyone and allow the legislation to work properly, by making available information affecting communities.

Reference was made to motorways and motorway construction. I have a particular interest in the diversion of the Al in my area. I would prefer the principle embodied in the Bill applied to that proposed road development because the public would then be able to understand the real implications, compare costs and analyse different schemes that will influence the environment and the health and destinies of individuals. The public would then be able to study the changes proposed by the agency in realigning the A 1 to Ferry Bridge.

New clause 3 is significant and important. The Minister would do a service to the House and to the nation by carefully considering the new clause and the points made by hon. Members in all parts of the House, including the hon. Member for Lincoln (Sir K. Carlisle), who expressed favour for it. All hon. Members who have spoken have offered new evidence for accepting new clause 3.

Our personal experience and knowledge of work involving changes to the environment which have caused damage in many areas prompts us to enter the plea that new clause 3 is constructive, will help the Bill and will benefit the people who have to administer the legislation. I fear what might happen if a proper, sincere and constructive approach to analysing costs and environmental benefits in schemes such as the Al to Ferry Bridge is not taken. That would be doing a tremendous disservice to communities.

There is merit and value in new clause 3. It is not a wrecking clause and it will strengthen the Bill. I ask the Minister to accept the new clause and to acknowledge its value to the Bill.

Photo of Nick Ainger Nick Ainger , Pembroke

It has been said that, because of the way in which clause 38 is worded, it is likely that we shall see a rash of judicial reviews. My constituency has not produced such a rash so far, but one of my constituents, Mr. Toby Chapman, has been given leave by the High Court to seek a judicial review of a decision made by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. We know that HMIP will shortly become part of the new Environment Agency.

The issue on which Mr. Chapman is seeking judicial review touches on the benefits element of the cost-benefit analysis, which was so interestingly discussed and examined by the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Dafis). It bears on a decision following an application by National Power to convert Pembroke power station to burn emulsified fuels.

The application was received by HMIP in August 1994. It took HMIP about five months to arrive at the best practical environmental option and BATNEEC—best available technology not entailing excessive cost. After about five months of deliberation and periodic review of recommendations within HMIP, the decision was made that flue gas desulphurisation was BATNEEC, but that gasification was the best practical environmental option. However, as costs had to be taken into account, it was decided to proceed by reviewing the flue gas desulphurisation proposal and discounting gasification.

My constituent, Mr. Chapman, believes that, because health issues were not taken into account, so he says, by HMIP, there should be judicial review of its decision.

The details of the issue are quite complex, and it is interesting that HMIP has welcomed a judicial review. It will be the first time that its processes will have been tested. Unfortunately, the issue will be tested by a judge. I am not sure of his environmental background and his knowledge of cost-benefit analysis. Although we have judicial review, perhaps it is not the best method to review decisions made by HMIP or, in future, by the Environment Agency.

The new clause refers to the Royal Commission on environmental pollution, the Select Committee on the Environment, the House of Lords Select Committee on Sustainable Development and the Prime Minister's panel on sustainable development. All these organisations represent experts in their own areas. They can give advice and make recommendations on cost-benefit analysis. The issue would not be left, as I fear it will be in Mr. Chapman's case, for determination by a judge.

I take that view no matter how well versed the judge may be in law, and irrespective of what he may have been able to pick up on the side on environmental issues. I think that everyone would accept that a judge is not the best person to arrive at a judgment in this instance.

I urge the Minister to accept that the new clause is sensible and should be inserted in the Bill. I fear that, in future, the new agency will be tied down by a rash of judicial reviews because of the way in which clause 38 is worded.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

It became apparent during consideration of the Bill in Committee that two members of the Committee had made significant contributions to our debates. One of them was my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Sir K. Carlisle), who spoke with great authority on many issues. I listened most carefully, therefore, to his interventions in Committee. Secondly, the hon. Member for Normanton (Mr. O'Brien) always spoke with sound common sense. I found myself, as I know did many of my colleagues, agreeing with almost everything he said this evening, until he reached his conclusion, which seemed to be an illogical turn-about bearing in mind what he had said previously.

No clause has been so misrepresented as clause 38.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

By Opposition Members as much as anyone else.

Bearing in mind the comments that have been made, one might be forgiven for thinking that clause 38 represents a radical attack on environmental protection, including an attempt to replace environmental analysis and the precautionary principle as a basis for setting standards, with cost-benefit analysis to demonstrate that the short-term value, in terms of money, of benefits, will always outweigh the costs before action can be taken.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble 6:45 pm, 27th June 1995

I shall always give way to the hon. Lady, but I would like to get a little way into my speech. If the hon. Lady insists, I shall give way.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford

I do insist. I am extremely grateful to the Minister for giving way. Before he goes any further, I want him to acknowledge that there is no precedent, and that HMIP does not work under the same conditions. Indeed, the National Rivers Authority never worked under the same conditions. English Heritage, English Nature and the Countryside Commission, all of which are key environmental bodies with which the Government have worked, have not worked under the same conditions. The conditions that we are discussing are unique.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

We know that, in Committee, the hon. Lady quoted from briefs from various organisations, all respectable ones that had a great part to play in our proceedings, and made great play of their views. I shall deal with as many of the matters that she has raised as I can.

It is suggested that clause 38 is a Pandora's box, in that any action taken by the agencies could be challenged for the first time in the courts if they, the agencies, could not demonstrate in each instance that the most comprehensive cost-benefit analysis showed beyond reasonable doubt that the action was justified in monetary terms. No doubt we could have an interesting debate about the consequences of adopting such an approach, but it would not be relevant to our consideration of the clause. As was repeatedly made clear in another place and in earlier consideration in this place, there is not that form of duty under clause 38.

In essence, what clause 38 requires is simple. First, it imposes a duty on each agency to consider costs and benefits. Secondly, the clause is limited to those cases in which the agency properly has discretion. Thirdly, it requires the agency to use its discretion in a reasonable way.

The clause gives the agencies considerable and necessary discretion in determining how consideration is best undertaken in the prevailing circumstances. It does not require them to undertake cost-benefit analysis in each case, or to demonstrate a particular balance before they act. It does not place cost-benefit analysis above or in place of environmental assessments. The Government recognise the importance of longer-term and difficult-to-quantify environmental effects.

In short, far from weakening environmental protection, the new duty is an essential element in helping both the regulator and the regulated to focus on environmental priorities in the context of sustainable development, and to avoid misallocation of resources through inappropriate regulatory action.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford

Will the Minister clarify for me whether he thinks that what he has just said means that the agencies will set their corporate objectives bearing in mind the cost-benefit requirement?

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

I see no reason why the agencies should not set their corporate objectives in that way. Why does the hon. Lady think that that should not be the case?

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford

I am seeking clarification from the Minister. It is his proposal that we are discussing. It seems possible that the corporate objectives of the agencies could be set with regard to the cost-benefit requirement. In our view, the corporate objectives of the agencies should be about enhancing and serving the environment.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

We have had long debates on Second Reading and in Committee on this issue. I have made it clear on every possible occasion that at the forefront of the Government's mind, and that of the Department of the Environment and eventually those of the agencies, will be environmental considerations. They cannot do that without taking account of costs and benefits. That is the crucial difference between the Government and the Opposition.

Photo of Mr Michael Jopling Mr Michael Jopling , Westmorland and Lonsdale

I have been approached by the Wildlife Trust for Cumbria, which has expressed some concern about this issue. It asked me to obtain assurances from the Minister that, in five, 10 or more years from now, the work of the agencies will bring about a better future for Cumbria's wildlife. My impression is that that will happen, but I should be grateful for the Minister's assurance that that is his view.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

I can say yes on two counts, and not only because I would be in dereliction of my duty if I did not accede to my right hon. Friend's request and his continued representations on the lake district, one of the most lovely parts of England. Secondly, I can say yes because, as my right hon. Friend correctly concludes, the Bill sets out just that objective. I have no doubt that, when it becomes an Act, my right hon. Friend's concerns and those of his constituents will not be realised, because the Act will address the matter in strong terms.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Carlisle Mr Kenneth Carlisle , Lincoln

Perhaps my right hon. Friend can enlighten me further. If, next year or the year after, the agencies start to do a cost-benefit analysis which leaves out conservation issues and does not enhance the environment or follow the line that my right hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Jopling) has raised, will the Government be able to instruct the agencies to take far greater account of the desirability of conserving and enhancing natural environmental beauty; or will they not be able to influence the agencies at all?

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

My understanding is that we could accede to that request. The Government could certainly bring some pressure to bear, and would do so if we felt that my hon. Friend's concerns and mine were not being recognised.

Photo of Mr Cynog Dafis Mr Cynog Dafis , Ceredigion and Pembroke North

I should like some clarification about the way that the cost-benefit process will be undertaken. The guidance mentions cost-benefit analysis. May I take it that, if the process is used at all, a formal analysis will consider matters that are quantifiable in money terms? If that analysis shows that a measure may not be justified in cost-benefit terms, will the less quantifiable or non-quantifiable considerations subsequently be brought to bear, so that they might overturn the consequence of the outcome of the cost-benefit analysis? The point that I am trying to make is that there is a difference between cost-benefit analysis and a consideration of costs and benefits.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

I take the hon. Gentleman's point, but I do not agree with it. We consistently and continuously made it clear on Second Reading and in Committee that, while environmental considerations are at the forefront of what the agencies must do and what my Department is doing, we cannot proceed without considering costs and benefits.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

I should like to make some progress, because I have been stuck on the same paragraph for some time.

Photo of Mrs Anne Campbell Mrs Anne Campbell , Cambridge

My question is on the specific point that the Minister is dealing with.

Photo of Mrs Anne Campbell Mrs Anne Campbell , Cambridge

Many Opposition Members are concerned about costs and benefits being weighed against environmental benefits in a way that we do not think will be fully beneficial. Is one of the reasons for the Minister's approach the fact that his Department is working on what it calls an integrated environmental index, which intends somehow to combine costs with some environmental factors? I do not find that reassuring, but perhaps the Minister could say how his Department or HMIP is thinking about this issue.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

I intended to mention that matter, but as the hon. Lady has asked about it, I shall deal with it now. I said in Committee that, in 1991, my Department issued a guide called "Policy Appraisal and the Environment". There was a follow-up in 1994 illustrating its applications to specific cases, and it was entitled "Environmental Appraisal in Government Departments". Also relevant is a document entitled "A Guide to Risk Assessment and Risk Management for Environmental Protection", which we published earlier this month.

As I said in Committee, the National Rivers Authority has developed a manual on the assessment of costs and benefits, which it currently applies when, for example, assessing proposals for water quality standards. Hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mrs. Campbell), have regularly pressed me for greater precision and specification in the requirements that are to be incorporated in the Bill. However, it is important to appreciate that, the more precise and detailed a requirement is, the greater the inevitable risk that it will prove inappropriate in a particular case. The risk that the agencies will be open to challenge for failing to pursue that procedure will follow.

I have made it plain why the Government are not prepared to delete clause 38. Much as Opposition Members may deny it, it is hard to see amendment No. 3 and new clause 3 as anything other than delaying tactics to avoid the early introduction of the duty. They certainly show a lack of confidence in the ability of the new agencies to use their judgment and professional expertise in dealing with a reasonable requirement, and their wide discretion on discharging their duties.

There is an erroneous belief among Opposition Members that somehow there is a generalised right way to take account of costs and benefits, and that it can be applied to all the circumstances that the agencies will face. They also think that it could be discovered if only there was sufficient prior effort and consultation. That is simply unrealistic.

As I said earlier, considerable work has been done on this matter, and I do not think that any technique will be equally applicable in every circumstance. Clause 38 implicitly recognises that the agencies must be able to exercise their judgment on what sort of consideration is appropriate in any particular circumstance. That is likely to lead to a modest and desirable evolution rather than a single sudden shift in the way that the agencies approach their tasks compared with their predecessor bodies.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford

Given what the Minister has just said, why does he not accept our view that these matters should be the subject of guidance? He has clearly stated that this so-called science is utterly imprecise, and he has given every reason why agency decisions should be subject to judicial review. He must agree that this is not a proper matter to put in the Bill. I repeat that it would be unique to do that.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

The hon. Lady is obsessed with judicial reviews. I have tried to explain that the agencies will be allowed wide discretion. If matters are made more precise and specific, there is a likelihood that more judicial reviews will be held than were conducted in the past. What I said in Committee bears repeating. I remind the hon. Lady that I said: All challenges by way of judicial review require leave to be given by a judge. If they are unsuccessful they can result in orders for costs against the challengers. Frivolous or vexatious challenges are disallowed. There are significant protections against the bringing of borderline or exploratory cases for judicial review."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 18 May 1995; c. 285.] As I have said in this debate and in others, being precise and specific is likely to do more harm than good.

Although there is a fundamental issue between the Government and the Opposition on this clause, I suspect that there is not much difference between us on the way that the matter is being addressed. Opposition Members have made it clear that they believe that the cost assessment of any action by the agencies should be of secondary importance. That is not our view. Despite the fact that we have debated this issue time and again, I cannot accept the amendment that proposes to replace clause 38 or the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Dafis).

In summary, at best the amendment of the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North is confusing. The new clause, as I have sought to explain, is unnecessary, and its interpretation differs from that which we believe. If carried—I am sure that it will not be, because I shall urge my right hon. and hon. Friends not to do so—it will result in precisely the field day for lawyers about which so much concern has been expressed by hon. Members on both sides of the House.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford

The Minister has been utterly unconvincing. He has failed to answer the fundamental point: why should these matters be on the face of the Bill and not in guidance, their proper place, for which universal acclaim exists on the Opposition Benches and in all concerned bodies outside the House? The new clause must be pressed to a Division.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 242, Noes 263.

Division No. 178][7.00 pm
Abbott, Ms DianeAllen, Graham
Adams, Mrs IreneAlton, David
Ainger, NickAnderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'tryNE)Armstrong, Hilary
Ashdown, Rt Hon PaddyGarrett, John
Austin-Walker, JohnGerrard, Neil
Barnes, HarryGodman, Dr Norman A
Barron, KevinGodsiff, Roger
Battle, JohnGolding, Mrs Llin
Bayley, HughGordon, Mildred
Beckett, Rt Hon MargaretGraham, Thomas
Beggs, RoyGrant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Bell, StuartGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Bennett, Andrew F.Grocott, Bruce
Benton, JoeGunnell, John
Bermingham, GeraldHain, Peter
Berry, RogerHanson, David
Betts, CliveHarman, Ms Harriet
Blair, Rt Hon TonyHarvey, Nick
Blunkett, DavidHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Boateng, PaulHenderson, Doug
Bradley, KeithHeppell, John
Bray, Dr JeremyHill, Keith (Steatham)
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)Hinchliffe, David
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)Hodge, Margaret
Burden, RichardHogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Byers, StephenHood, Jimmy
Caborn, RichardHoon, Geoffrey
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)Howarth, George (Knowsley North)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)Hoyle, Doug
Campbell-Savours, D NHughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Cann, JamieHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Chidgey, DavidHutton, John
Chisholm, MalcolmIllsley, Eric
Church, JudithIngram, Adam
Clapham, MichaelJackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)Jamieson, David
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Janner, Greville
Clelland, DavidJones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)
Clwyd, Mrs AnnJones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Coffey, AnnJones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Cohen, HarryJones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Connarty, MichaelJones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Jowell, Tessa
Cook, Robin (Livingston)Keen, Alan
Corbett, RobinKennedy, Jane (L 'pool Br'dg'n)
Corbyn, JeremyKhabra, Piara S
Corston, JeanKilfoyle, Peter
Cousins, JimKirkwood, Archy
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr JohnLewis, Terry
Dafis, CynogLiddell, Mrs Helen
Dalyell, TarnLivingstone, Ken
Davidson, IanLloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)Llwyd, Elfyn
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Loyden, Eddie
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Lynne, Ms Liz
Denham, JohnMcAllion, John
Dewar, DonaldMacdonald, Calum
Dixon, DonMcFall, John
Donohoe, Brian HMcKelvey, William
Dowd, JimMackinlay, Andrew
Eagle, Ms AngelaMcLeish, Henry
Eastham, KenMaclennan, Robert
Etherington, BillMcMaster, Gordon
Evans, John (St Helens N)McNamara, Kevin
Fatchett, DerekMacShane, Denis
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Maddock, Diana
Flynn, PaulMahon, Alice
Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)Marek, Dr John
Foster, Rt Hon DerekMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Foster, Don (Bath)Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Foulkes, GeorgeMartin, Michael J (Springburn)
Fraser, JohnMartlew, Eric
Fyfe, MariaMeacher, Michael
Galbraith, SamMeale, Alan
Galloway, GeorgeMichael, Alun
Gapes, MikeMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Milburn, AlanSheerman, Barry
Miller, AndrewSheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Moonie, Dr LewisShore, Rt Hon Peter
Morgan, RhodriShort, Clare
Morley, ElliotSkinner, Dennis
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Mudie, GeorgeSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Mullin, ChrisSpearing, Nigel
Murphy, PaulSpellar, John
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonSteel, Rt Hon Sir David
O'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire)Steinberg, Gerry
O'Brien, William (Normanton)Stevenson, George
O'Hara, EdwardStrang, Dr. Gavin
Olner, BillStraw, Jack
O'Neill, MartinSutcliffe, Gerry
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Parry, RobertTaylor, Matthew (Truro)
Pearson, IanTimms, Stephen
Pickthall, ColinTipping, Paddy
Pike, Peter LTouhig, Don
Pope, GregTurner, Dennis
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)Tyler, Paul
Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)Wallace, James
Prescott, Rt Hon JohnWalley, Joan
Primarolo, DawnWardell, Gareth (Gower)
Purchase, KenWareing, Robert N
Quin, Ms JoyceWatson, Mike
Radice, GilesWelsh, Andrew
Randall, StuartWicks, Malcolm
Reid, Dr JohnWigley, Dafydd
Rendel, DavidWilliams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Robertson, George (Hamilton)Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)Wilson, Brian
Rooker, JeffWinnick, David
Rooney, TerryWise, Audrey
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)Wright, Dr Tony
Ross, William (E Londonderry)Young, David (Bolton SE)
Rowlands, Ted
Ruddock, JoanTellers for the Ayes:
Salmond, AlexMrs. Barbara Roche and
Sedgemore, BrianMr. Eric Clarke.
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Bright, Sir Graham
Aitken, Rt Hon JonathanBrooke, Rt Hon Peter
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)
Allason, Rupert (Torbay)Browning, Mrs Angela
Amess, DavidBruce, Ian (Dorset)
Ancram, MichaelBudgen, Nicholas
Arbuthnot, JamesBurns, Simon
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Burt, Alistair
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)Butcher, John
Ashby, DavidButler, Peter
Atkins, Rt Hon RobertButterfill, John
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)Carlisle, John (Luton North)
Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V)Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Carrington, Matthew
Baldry, TonyCarttiss, Michael
Banks, Matthew (Southport)Cash, William
Bates, MichaelChannon, Rt Hon Paul
Batiste, SpencerChapman, Sydney
Bellingham, HenryChurchill, Mr
Beresford, Sir PaulClappison, James
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnClark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Body, Sir RichardClifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Booth, HartleyCoe, Sebastian
Boswell, TimCongdon, David
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Conway, Derek
Bottomley, Rt Hon VirginiaCoombs, Simon (Swindon)
Bowis, JohnCope, Rt Hon Sir John
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesCormack, Sir Patrick
Brandreth, GylesCouchman, James
Brazier, JulianCran, James
Curry, David (Skipon & Ripon)Kirkhope, Timothy
Davies, Quentin (Stamford)Knapman, Roger
Day, StephenKnight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Deva, Nirj JosephKnight, Greg (Derby N)
Devlin, TimKnight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Dicks, TerryKnox, Sir David
Dorrell, Rt Hon StephenKynoch, George (Kincardine)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesLait, Mrs Jacqui
Dover, DenLang, Rt Hon Ian
Duncan, AlanLawrence, Sir Ivan
Duncan-Smith, IainLegg, Barry
Dunn, BobLeigh, Edward
Dykes, HughLennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Eggar, Rt Hon TimLester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Elletson, HaroldLidington, David
Emery, Rt Hon Sir PeterLightbown, David
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)Lord, Michael
Evans, Roger (Monmouth)Luff, Peter
Faber, DavidLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Fishburn, DudleyMacKay, Andrew
Forman, NigelMaclean, Rt Hon David
Forsyth, Rt Hon Michael (Stirling)McLoughlin, Patrick
Forth, EricMcNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir NormanMadel, Sir David
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)Maitland, Lady Olga
Freeman, Rt Hon RogerMarland, Paul
French, DouglasMarlow, Tony
Gale, RogerMarshall, John (Hendon S)
Gallie, PhilMarshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Gardiner, Sir GeorgeMartin, David (Portsmouth S)
Garel-Jones, Rt Hon TristanMawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Garnier, EdwardMerchant, Piers
Gillan, CherylMills, Iain
Goodson-Wickes, Dr CharlesMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Gorman, Mrs TeresaMitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs)Moate, Sir Roger
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)Monro, Sir Hector
Greenway, John (Ryedale)Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)Needham, Rt Hon Richard
Gummer, Rt Hon John SelwynNeubert, Sir Michael
Hague, WilliamNewton, Rt Hon Tony
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir ArchibaldNicholls, Patrick
Hampson, Dr KeithNicholson, David (Taunton)
Hanley, Rt Hon JeremyNicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hannan, Sir JohnNorris, Steve
Hargreaves, AndrewOnslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Harris, DavidOppenheim, Phillip
Haselhurst, Sir AlanOttaway, Richard
Hawkins, NickPage, Richard
Hawksley, WarrenPatnick, Sir Irvine
Hayes, JerryPatten, Rt Hon John
Heald, OliverPattie, Fit Hon Sir Geoffrey
Heathcoat-Amory, DavidPawsey, James
Hendry, CharlesPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir TerencePickles, Eric
Hill, James (Southampton Test)Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)Porter, David (Waveney)
Horam, JohnPortillo, Rt Hon Michael
Howard, Rt Hon MichaelPowell, William (Corby)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-ARedwood, Rt Hon John
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)Richards, Rod
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)Riddick, Graham
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)Robathan, Andrew
Hunter, AndrewRoberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Jack, MichaelRobertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Jenkin, BernardRoe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyRowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Rumbold, RI Hon Dame Angela
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelSackville, Tom
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineSainsbury, RI Hon Sir Timothy
Key, RobertScott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Shaw, David (Dover)Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Shephard, Rt Hon GillianThurnham, Peter
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Tracey, Richard
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)Tredinnick, David
Sims, RogerTrend, Michael
Spencer, Sir DerekTrotter, Neville
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Spink, Dr RobertWalden, George
Spring, RichardWalker, Bill (N Tayside)
Sproat, IainWaller, Gary
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)Ward, John
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir JohnWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Steen, AnthonyWaterson, Nigel
Stephen, MichaelWatts, John
Stem, MichaelWells, Bowen
Stewart, AllanWhitney, Ray
Streeter, GaryWhittingdale, John
Sumberg, DavidWiddecombe, Ann
Sweeney, WalterWiggin, Sir Jerry
Sykes, JohnWilkinson, John
Tapsell, Sir PeterWinterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Taylor, Ian (Esher)Wood, Timothy
Taylor, John M (Solihull)Yeo, Tim
Temple-Morris, PeterTellers for the Noes:
Thomason, RoyMr. David Willetts and
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)Dr. Liam Fox.

Question accordingly negatived.