Amendment 42

Environment Bill - Report (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 4:10 pm on 13th September 2021.

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Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park:

Moved by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park

42: Clause 57, page 39, line 33, at end insert—“(7) The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament, and publish, the guidance.”Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment requires guidance under inserted section 45AZE of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 concerning the separation of waste to be laid before Parliament and published.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

I am grateful for the efforts of my noble friend Lord Blencathra and other members of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. My Bill team and I were greatly reassured by the assessment that the committee made of the Environment Bill, and I agree that there is an opportunity for us to go further. That is why I have accepted all the DPRRC’s recommendations and am pleased to table these amendments.

These technical amendments will increase parliamentary scrutiny in areas such as littering enforcement, vehicle recall, land drainage and local nature recovery strategies. I have also tabled Amendment 43, which was requested by the Scottish Government so that they will be able to make provision under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to be able to impose civil sanctions relating to electronic waste tracking. This will bring the Scottish Ministers’ powers in line with those of the Secretary of State in England, Welsh Ministers and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland.

Finally, I have tabled Amendments 46, 47, 48 and 49. These are minor and technical amendments to measures on fly-tipping enforcement to clarify that authorised officers would be able to exercise their Schedule 10 powers relating to the search and seizure of evidence without a warrant in circumstances where consent has been given. This will enable enforcement officers to determine whether pollution control legislation is being complied with. This was always the intention; however, these amendments expressly set out that, where consent has been given, a warrant is not required.

I hope that noble Lords welcome these technical changes, which will increase parliamentary oversight and improve the Environment Bill. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee

My Lords, I declare my interests as in the register. It would be churlish of me not to congratulate my noble friend and the Defra Bill team on making these technical amendments. They were the recommendations of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, which I am privileged to chair. On behalf of the committee, I thank the Minister and the Defra team for making them. One of the powers has moved from negative to affirmative—no big deal, but we are very grateful for it. The others are textbook examples of what departments can do to improve parliamentary scrutiny. We were not demanding that the SIs be affirmative or that they be negative; we were simply saying, “Please lay them before Parliament and publish them.” They have agreed to do so.

In the report that we publish today on the police and sentencing Bill, which the House will consider tomorrow, we will be scathing in our condemnation because the Home Office has failed to do those simple things in its legislation. Let this be a lesson to it on what can be done.

Photo of Lord Khan of Burnley Lord Khan of Burnley Opposition Whip (Lords)

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra. I was going to prepare a 20-minute response to the Government’s amendments, but in the interest and spirit of getting to COP 26 faster, I will just say that we on these Benches welcome that the Government have listened to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee and accepted its recommendations, which will be good for everybody involved and the wider stakeholders.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

I thank noble Lords for their short contributions to the debate, and I hope that they welcome these technical changes. I beg them to accept these amendments, so that they can become part of the Bill.

Amendment 42 agreed.

Clause 58: Electronic waste tracking: Great Britain