Clause 7 - Trading and other transfer of landfill allowances

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 8:57 am on 8th April 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes 8:57 am, 8th April 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 11, in

clause 7, page 5, leave out lines 40 and 41.

The sun is shining a little on the Liberal Democrats this morning, and I am happy to leave it there. However, I concur with the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes): it would be useful if the information that was available could be drawn to the attention of hon. Members. It need not be provided, but it would be useful if we knew that it was available and had been told how to gain access to it.

The amendment deals with trading and other transfers of landfill allowances. My hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Sue Doughty) and I seek to remove subsection (3)(f), which would allow local authorities to employ brokers to facilitate such transfers. We have two reasons for wanting to remove that provision. First, the transfer of allowances ought to be simple. Waste disposal authority employees will be knowledgeable about such matters; they will have been responsible for letting contracts and will therefore know how to do the job. I suggest that they are capable of dealing with their opposite numbers in other authorities to facilitate such transactions. The idea that they might need, or would even want, to employ brokers to facilitate transfers is slightly worrying.

Secondly, I can imagine local authorities running up huge bills by employing brokers. Doubtless their services will not come cheap, as they, like solicitors and lawyers—I do not wish to libel any of the latter who might be in the Room—have an interest in making things go on for as long as possible. I believe that they will add nothing to the process. Indeed, good working relationships between waste disposal authorities, which will be essential, could be marred and undermined by the intrusion of a third person who might wish to push an authority further than it wanted to go. That would introduce a jarring note into an otherwise useful process. I fully support the concept of a landfill allowance, but it should be left to local authorities.

I am also concerned that there is no restriction on who can qualify as a broker. Could Biffa, for example, provide brokers? If so, that is dangerous and unwelcome; it could lead to dissension among local authorities and increase costs. I hope that the Minister will think very carefully about it.