New clause 30 - Zero waste strategy

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 10th April 2003.

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Photo of Michael Meacher Michael Meacher Minister (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Environment) 3:30 pm, 10th April 2003

I called in the leading management from the fast-food manufacturers to discuss that problem. Most of them assured me that they already had a voluntary code of conduct and that the area up to 100 m from their shops was regularly cleaned up by staff. [Interruption.] That is what I was told. It is not for me to say that it is not true, but it certainly does not work as seamlessly as they suggest.

The answer, however, is exactly what the hon. Gentleman suggested: we need independent people on the ground, not only near fast-food shops, although they are the worst, but near fish and chip shops and others that generate a lot of waste. Those people should be independently monitored, and the responsibility has to be clearly identified and action taken. It is not impossible for local authorities to do that now. They have the power, and we have to activate them to act in that way. However, even local authorities will be deterred if the people whom they take to court are given only derisory fines.