Clause 17 - Strategy for England

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 8th April 2003.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 4:30 pm, 8th April 2003

I will not go on with that, Mr. Amess, because you would not let me. I shall continue with the thrust of the argument that is emerging, which is that the problem is not what is in the Bill, but what has been left out. Most of what is in it is fairly agreeable. We have established that the Bill's objectives command the support of the official Opposition and the minor parties. The problem is that the Bill might be seen purely as legislative cover. That was the Minister's devastating slip of the tongue early in our proceedings: that we need the Bill to provide legislative cover.

If the Bill were solely legislative cover, it would not be good enough. If it is part of a bigger picture, an holistic approach to a national waste management plan or strategy, it is a useful and valuable tool. I suspect that that slip of the tongue does not betray the Minister's real feelings, but that he believes that the

Bill is an important part of a strategy and he is determined to see that through. However, we have no evidence of that. We have the Minister's word and reputation, which I value and trust, but we see no sign that the Bill fits into a bigger picture and forms part of a jigsaw.

The amendments give us an opportunity to explore that possibility. It is inappropriate to consider waste disposal and a proper attack on landfill out of the context of reuse, recovery and recycling. I accept that it would be inappropriate for the Bill to do everything. This is not a huge piece of legislation covering those important and complicated issues, but it must at least refer to them and signal that it is part of a bigger picture. The Bill must suggest that the Government see it as one element in the national waste strategy that I believe the Minister desires and that Conservative Members and, in fairness, the hon. Members for Lewes and for Guildford desire. The obligations, duties and responsibilities that are necessary parts of developing that strategy must be signalled in the Bill.

Amendment No. 57 deals with waste arising from households; providing households with a separate collection for the recycling of dry recyclable waste; and an increase in composting through the provision of a home composter or separate collection of biodegradable waste. Those are important small steps towards the national strategy that we strongly recommend. It would therefore be unthinkable not to include those matters.