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 Baroness Parminter Baroness Parminter Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee, Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee 2:45 pm, 5th July 2021

My Lords, we very much agree with what the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, said about the potential of this deposit return scheme to show us to be a global frontrunner as we move towards a more circular economy. We also very much support the opening amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, which highlights the laggard nature of the Government in bringing forward this DRS, with the latest consultation showing that it will not come in until the end of 2024. We absolutely agree with her that the Government ought to get on with this by next year as an initial step.

We agree with almost all noble Lords that this must be an all-in scheme. There are costs to that, which the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, highlighted; another is the cost to local councils, as with an all-in system you remove aluminium, which is one of their most valuable recycling assets. However, we very much believe that the benefits outweigh those costs. We must resist those voices saying not to go down the all-in route. The Government’s impact assessment shows that there are very strong benefits to all-in, in the amount of recycling and the impact on cutting littering. That is important, but for me the issue mentioned by the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard, about consistency with Scotland is the strongest case for all-in. We know where the Scots are going with their DRS; we feel very strongly that, to get the maximum benefits from DRS, there should be consistency with Scotland.

On that basis, although I listened to the very articulate arguments put forward by the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, on the case for a differential rate for sizes, I am not sure I want that put in the Bill at this stage, as there is an issue about ensuring that consistency with Scotland is uppermost in our mind. I therefore wish the Government to look at that again but do not support that going in the Bill at this stage, although I understand and accept the arguments she made. I hope the Government will look at them carefully. I look forward to the Minister’s reply.