Environment Bill - Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:45 pm on 5th July 2021.

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Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 2:45 pm, 5th July 2021

My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendment 133A, to which I have put my name, which was tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, and is also supported by the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, and the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott. This amendment is about what is known as an all-in deposit scheme, which means it catches as many items as possible. The noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, is absolutely right that our priority ought to be to reduce waste in the first place and so, if we are going to reduce waste, we need a comprehensive deposit scheme. We must stand back and look at what we are trying to do, which is to protect the environment. The bigger and wider the deposit scheme, the more chance we have of keeping the environment in the state in which we would like it to be.

However, I know this causes an awful lot of worry for those who have set up return or deposit schemes at the moment, have invested money in them and do not want to change. It is the nature of industry that there will always be vested interests, but I hope that my noble friend will stand back from them and say that this is needed in the interests of the environment.

My noble friend Lord Trenchard rightly mentioned that any scheme must be pretty much the same across the whole United Kingdom. However, I challenge him on one thing. He said that Scotland had rushed ahead; no, I think that England is the laggard. Why should Scotland have to wait until England finally gets its house in order and its act together? Scotland has once again led the way, and it is time that England got on and followed suit.

Getting a UK comprehensive plan will be very important. There was a consultation on an all-in deposit scheme in 2019, which was overwhelmingly endorsed as the right way forward. All I ask my noble friend the Minister is that, when he introduces a scheme, he keeps it as simple as possible; I ask him please to use the KISS principle with this if he is going to get us to participate in this scheme and make it work in the best way possible.