Amendment 119

Part of Environment Bill - Committee (4th Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 30th June 2021.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative 6:15 pm, 30th June 2021

My Lords, it is not only producers who have to have regard to resource efficiency; it is also the Government. It is really important in devising regulations in this sort of area that we look at the overall effect of what we are asking people to do and, in particular, what we are asking companies to do to make sure that the end effect of what we are regulating is an improvement and not a disimprovement.

We have seen, for instance, in the case of washing machines and dishwashers, regulations regarding their use of energy, but we have done nothing to regulate how long these machines last. If you are replacing a machine every five years because it has fallen to bits, that surely is part of the resources being consumed by the process. It ought to have been part of the regulations and something that we should look at. We will come to this question when we look at deposit return schemes.

If we are instituting a deposit return scheme on something where we already collect 85% efficiently, and it is only the remaining 15% that are causing problems, then by creating a system that puts a lot of extra costs on society in recycling the existing 85% in a different, less efficient manner, we are not achieving an overall benefit. What is sauce for the goose is very much sauce for the gander.

Looking at the other amendments in this group, I think that the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, would result in regulation that was extremely resource efficient. The small one-off costs for producers after that would lead to a very substantial reduction in costs for the sewerage undertakings. That is what we ought to be aiming for: a good, big overall benefit. We should not be looking at little bits of the process; we have to look at the benefits and the costs that will be imposed by the regulation as a whole.