Clause 21 - ''Biodegradable waste'' and ''municipal waste''

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 10th April 2003.

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Photo of Michael Meacher Michael Meacher Minister (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Environment) 4:45 pm, 10th April 2003

The amendment would amend the definition of municipal waste in subsection (3) by limiting it to waste that is ''collected by collection authorities'' and recorded as such. As I have said many times, and again a only few moments ago, the landfill allowances scheme that the Bill would establish is designed to implement the requirements of article 5(2) of the landfill directive. We must not do anything that could result in the United Kingdom's under-implementing the directive. In order to do that, we must, as I said in the previous debate, ensure that our definitions are consistent.

Not all waste is collected by collection authorities. Waste disposal authorities have a duty to arrange for places where residents can deposit household waste and for the disposal of that waste. The amendments would result in such waste being excluded from the

landfill allowances scheme, even when it falls within the definition of biodegradable municipal waste. That could leave us open to infringement proceedings brought by the Commission.

I am not sure what the amendments want to achieve by requiring waste to be recorded before it falls into the definition of municipal waste. That would seem to narrow the definition and could lead to infringement proceedings. Solid municipal waste arisings are already recorded and will continue to be so. Municipal waste sent to landfill will also be recorded, as will the amount of such waste diverted to other forms of waste management. All the figures will be supplied to the monitoring authority to enable proper checks to be made, so I submit that there is no need to add the requirement to the definition.

The hon. Lady may have been tabled the amendments to probe what lay behind the provisions. I hope that I have given her an adequate explanation and that she will not press the amendments.