Clause 7 - Trading and other transfer of landfill allowances

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 8th April 2003.

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Photo of Michael Meacher Michael Meacher Minister (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Environment) 9:45 am, 8th April 2003

I understand the hon. Gentleman's point. I do not have those figures to hand. I can give only the real-terms increase over the baseline 2000–01, up to the last financial year, which is a fairly short run. I do not know what the rate of inflation will be in the rest of the spending review 2002 period. One can measure that against extra functions, and the main one, which is a statutory recycling target, is the requirement to meet the mandatory performance standards on recycling, reuse, recovery and composting that the Government have laid down. We have provided an extra £140 million for that. In the light of that, many local authorities believe that they can meet those targets, whereas previously they did not. The hon. Gentleman can of course ask a parliamentary question to request similar information, but I shall try to provide him with information in due course.

We are working with the Treasury to try to find a way to hypothecate the penalties laid out in the Bill back to waste disposal authorities. That would help to ensure that money is not lost to the local authority system as a result of the allowance scheme. We shall debate hypothecation later.

The amendment would also remove the provision that would enable regulations to provide for waste disposal authorities to be liable to a penalty when they failed to comply with a requirement to provide allocating authorities with the information that they required in relation to acquisition and disposal of allowances. That is necessary—the hon. Member for Lewes is right about this—to underpin the effectiveness of any trading scheme. The information is vital in order to ensure that the trading of allowances between waste disposal authorities and across scheme years is recorded and monitored.

I hope that I have persuaded most if not all hon. Members that although funding is an important issue on which it is virtually impossible to get total political agreement, the Government's case is nevertheless less sufficient in terms of what we have done. I hope that the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings can therefore withdraw his amendment.