I shall start with some housekeeping rules. Although it may not be necessary, I remind hon. Members that the morning sittings start at 8.55 am, and finish at 11.25 am. The afternoon sittings will start at 2.30 pm and will usually finish at 5 o'clock, although they are open-ended. If anyone has complaints about this large and rather grand Room, please direct them to the attendants. Within reason, if hon. Members want to remove articles of clothing, they are most welcome to do so. Lastly, would those who have mobile phones kindly turn them off.
I call Mr. Meacher to move the programming motion.
I beg to move,
(1) during proceedings on the Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords], the Standing Committee, in addition to its first sitting on Thursday 3rd April at 8.55 am, shall meet on that day at 2.30 pm and on Tuesday 8th April and Thursday 10th April at 8.55 am and 2.30 pm;
(2) the Committee shall consider the Bill in the following Order: Clauses 1 to 33; New Clauses relating to Part 1; New Schedules relating to Part 1; Clauses 34 and 35; remaining New Clauses; remaining New Schedules; Clauses 36 to 38; and remaining proceedings on the Bill;
(3) proceedings in the Committee on the Bill shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Thursday 10th April 2003.
Let me explain the programming motion in a little more detail. We shall sit for only three days—today, and Tuesday and Thursday next week. We shall sit twice on each day, but as you said, Mr. Amess, we shall finish no later than 5 pm on Thursday, 10 April, when the Bill will be reported to the House. On each day, we shall start at 8.55 am, and finish at 11.25 am, which is convenient for me, as I have to answer the first question at parliamentary questions at 11.30 this morning; and we shall resume at 2.30 pm.
For the Committee's convenience, we have decided to separate consideration of the Bill into its main parts. We shall first consider all the waste aspects; we shall start with amendments to existing provisions, followed by new clauses and new schedules. Once we have finished discussing waste, we shall go on to emissions trading; again, we shall start with amendments to existing provisions, and then consider new clauses and new schedules. We shall finish with the general provisions on commencement, extent, short title and any remaining proceedings. I hope that that will be convenient for the Committee.
I do not have a great deal to add, Mr. Amess, apart from welcoming you to the Chair and
saying how delighted we are to be serving under your benevolent leadership.
It is a great pleasure for me to lead for the Opposition. The Minister has an enormous reputation in this field and is widely respected, throughout the House and outside, for his knowledge of these matters. Indeed, as I look around the Room, I see that I am surrounded by expertise. I am impressed, not to say beguiled, by it; but I shall attempt, in my humble way, to match it.
It is appropriate that we give the Bill due consideration, but many of its provisions will receive support from across the Committee. I hope that we can deal with it in a thorough and diligent fashion in the time that has been made available. However, Mr. Amess, I know that you and the Minister both appreciate that if some areas need to be explored further, a certain degree of flexibility in timing will be necessary. Nevertheless, I do not think that this side of the Committee will be the cause of any unnecessary duplication or repetition—although that is a dangerous thing to say at the outset of proceedings on any Bill, as I am sure that all members of the Committee will acknowledge. I therefore support the programming motion. I hope that we can move ahead in a spirit of healthy co-operation, scrutinising the Bill as thoroughly as it deserves.
I welcome you to the Chair, Mr. Amess, and want to say how pleased I am to have such a colourful and exuberant character overseeing our proceedings. I have little to add, other than that there has been cross-party agreement and a lot of give and take on the programming motion, which we all welcome.
There were originally supposed to be 10 sittings, but our proceedings have been truncated. However, I welcome the fact that the Government said in the Programming Sub-Committee that if we run out of time, they are prepared to return for a further day if necessary.
Question put and agreed to.
I remind the Committee that there is a money resolution and a Ways and Means resolution in connection with the Bill, and that copies of the resolutions are available in the Room.
I should also like to remind hon. Members that adequate notice should be given of amendments. As a general rule, my co-Chairman, Mr. Win Griffiths, and I—a third Chairman will stand in temporarily this afternoon—do not intend to call starred amendments, including any starred amendments that might be reached in the afternoon sitting of the Committee.