New clause 30 - Zero waste strategy

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 10th April 2003.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 3:45 pm, 10th April 2003

Those are very incisive questions, and I shall attempt to answer them. The first answer was given in my explanation: the clause specifies that the Secretary of State shall make the judgment about methodological issues. I accepted the Secretary of State's concerns about the methods, and he made some telling points. However, I find it difficult to believe that it is impossible; there must be a way through it, and it is important that we find it. If we abandon any consideration of volume by simply concentrating on weight—the Minister acknowledged the significance of the issue when it was first raised on Thursday—it will not receive the consideration that it is due.

The answer to the second question is that it may be a growing problem. We do not know the relationship between weight and volume and how, or if, it affects the increase in waste. Unless we have some measurement, we will not be able to reach a conclusion about whether the challenges that we face on increased waste are principally problems of volume or of weight or both. If both, how do they relate to each other? The measurement is an attempt to assess the trend and the nature of the problem so that we can build it into the strategy. I acknowledge that the methodology would have to be examined closely and decided upon after proper consultation, scrutiny and analysis. Therefore, although I accept that there are difficulties, it would be useful to press the new clause to a Division so that we can debate those matters further at later stages of the Bill.