Clause 7 - Trading and other transfer of landfill allowances

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 8th April 2003.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 9:15 am, 8th April 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 38, in

clause 7, page 6, line 1, leave out from 'for' to end of line 3 and insert

'the allocating authority to make available to each waste disposal authority full financial resources for it to comply with any requirement imposed on it by or under provision of the kind mentioned in paragraph (h) together with all regulations as set out in sections 11 and 12;'.

We move to a different aspect of the clause. We have spoken a great deal about the extra obligations and new responsibilities of local authorities. There has been a general acceptance that that will require the acquisition of expertise. We know that there will be obligations to collect, to register and to record various

bits of information. Those are covered in this clause and in clauses 11 and 12. There is no doubt that it will be important to keep the records in a way that ensures their probity and efficiency.

The amendment deals with the additional cost of that process. I am sure that local authorities are already worried about the matter. I do not want to make an overtly party political point this early in the morning, but this has to be seen in the context of the seemingly ever-increasing number of unfunded statutory requirements. They have a cumulative effect. We have spoken about regulatory impact assessments. The cumulative regulatory and financial impact of measures such as this have to be taken into account. I worry that the process will create an extra burden and put an extra strain on the already tight budgets of local authorities.

We argue in the amendment that full financial resources should be made available for the waste disposal authority to comply with the requirements imposed on it under the provisions of subsection 3(h), and in clauses 11 and 12. That is not unreasonable. It will give an important signal to local authorities that the allocating authorities are planning to support them and to work in partnership with them to help them to meet the targets.

I have spoken before about the trepidation that will undoubtedly be felt by those authorities that are not at the forefront of performance in terms of the objectives outlined in the Bill. We need to reassure local authorities, and we certainly need to signal that the collaborative approach, which I have constantly advocated in Committee, is genuine. To that end, we need to consider the resource implications of the collection, registration, storage and use of information and other responsibilities outlined in the Bill. I hope that the Minister agrees. It is never easy for a Minister to make such a commitment, but I know that he shares my view that it is vital that this is done properly and co-operatively. In that spirit I urge the Committee to support the amendment.