Clause 17 - Strategy for England

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 8th April 2003.

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Photo of Michael Meacher Michael Meacher Minister (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Environment) 5:00 pm, 8th April 2003

We can debate that part of the Bill, although it is not what we are debating now. I dispute the hon. Gentleman's claim. One does not need to mention the waste hierarchy in every Bill to show that one believes in it. The Government have published their ''Waste Strategy 2000'', and until they publish one that supersedes it, it remains, rightly or wrongly, the Government strategy. It may be open to criticism, but that is the strategy, and we are operating in accordance with it.

I shall try to make some rapid progress on amendments Nos. 54, 55 and 56, which are consequential to amendment No. 57, which is rather more substantial. Amendment No. 57 would require the strategy to reduce, by 2010, waste arisings from households from 2002 levels, and that is a very important driver. The amendment seeks to provide every household with a separate collection of dry recyclables and either a home composter or a separate

collection of biodegradable waste. The hon. Member for Guildford waxed eloquent on all of those.

I agree that those are important issues. However, we are already looking at ways in which we can achieve waste minimisation, which is central to reducing the growth in waste. The strategy unit recommended a package of measures to reduce waste, with a target of cutting waste growth from 3 per cent. to 2 per cent. That might seem modest, and I think that it is, but if we can achieve that we will start, for the first time, to go in the other direction. Waste growth has to come down to nought and to minus 1 or minus 2, but we are a long, long way from achieving that. Let us first get from 3 per cent. to 2 per cent. We will be looking at that extremely seriously.