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 Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes 3:45 pm, 10th April 2003

This has been a very good, if long, debate, so I shall try not to detain the Committee. However, I suspect that we shall make rather faster progress once clause 17 has been dealt with. I argue the merits of the clauses in my name and in that of my hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Sue Doughty). I shall not compare them with new clause 30, as that could be unduly divisive and inappropriate. The clauses on fly tipping cannot be called ambitious. Indeed, they are very unambitious; they are very

modest clauses, and I am surprised that the Minister has not grabbed them with both hands. They merely ask for a strategy.

Despite those frivolous comments, I thank the Minister for his comments on fly tipping. He has convinced me that he takes the matter seriously and that there could be restrictions for dealing with it elsewhere rather than in his Department. Therefore I shall not press our amendments to a Division, but I hope that in return the Minister might drop a line to all members of the Committee to let us know the progress on the points that I made and on those made by the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings about the materials used in fast food. Perhaps he will let us know what contact he has had with the Magistrates' Association and others, as there are matters outside his remit that affect fly tipping. It would be helpful if the Minister could give us an update on progress so that we know how far we are likely to get. I shall certainly mention the issues that have been raised this afternoon to my hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow (Matthew Green), who is dealing with related matters on the Anti-social Behaviour Bill, so that he can raise them in that context, because it is important that an environmental impact assessment also takes place as part of that process.

The idea of zero waste is ambitious, but I make no apologies for tabling an amendment that is aspirational—a word that the Government use for targets that they do not intend to meet, such as those relating to renewable energy. It is right to put down a marker and say where we want to go. There is no harm in setting what might seem to be unrealistic targets, although I have no idea whether we will be able to meet them in 20 or 30 years. The other day I quoted Lenin, but I think it was Chairman Mao who said that a journey of 100 miles starts with a single step.