Amendment 119

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

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative 6:30 pm, 30th June 2021

I am delighted to speak briefly on this group and to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, who spoke eloquently and forcefully on single-use nappies. Of course, it is not just at the beginning of life that people use nappies; there is the similar and even greater problem of incontinence pads, if we dare call them that, for the third age, so I can see where the noble Baroness is coming from.

If he will permit me, I will congratulate my noble friend Lord Goldsmith and the Government on drafting and including Clause 49 and Schedule 4 in the Bill. I press him on the sentiments behind a number of the amendments, particularly Amendment 119, which was moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, and which presses for the introduction of a timetable. The explanatory statement says:

“This amendment aims to ensure that the new packaging producer responsibility system is in place for the beginning of 2024, given that the final compliance year of the current package will end on 31 December 2023.”

All who have spoken and will speak in this debate are very concerned about our inability to address producer responsibility. I worked very hard for this during my 10 years as a Member of the European Parliament.

We all seem to pick up on the end of use, and we have all these recycling issues. If you buy perfume or aftershave for a present, you think you are gifting someone what looks like a really nice present, but, when you watch them open it, the contents are of course absolutely tiny, and you think it must be something to do with the marketing of it. Is there some way that we can use the provisions that are set out in the Bill?

What is the government position on labelling? The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, gave a very good example about garments, and I know that there are others that we could use. Has the department done any work on this? I accept the concerns addressed by many, including my noble friend Lord Lucas, who spoke about resource efficiency. Has the department done any costings on this?

In speaking to his Amendment 120 this evening, the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, mentioned a concern, which I share and support him on, about wet wipes being put down the toilet, which causes so much cost further down the chain, as we know. We do not need regulations to ask manufacturers to do this; it is a case of education and asking them why they are not doing this in letters that we can all read. So I press my noble friend to say what work has been done on labelling and the education of consumers. We should not let producers slip away from their responsibilities in this regard. I wonder what the cost of such labelling would be—or would we micromanaging and micro-legislating if we were to ask my noble friend to address this?