Clause 38 - Failure to produce authority: fixed penalty notices

Part of Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 20th January 2005.

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Photo of Ms Sue Doughty Ms Sue Doughty Shadow Minister (the Environment), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 5:30 pm, 20th January 2005

I thank the Minister for his thoughts. I am not without sympathy with some of the points. I appreciate that he is seeing some of the argument without necessarily being able to move across. However, I do have concerns.

When the time comes, presumably annually, that the Environment Agency discusses with the Government what its grant in aid should be, budgets and requirements are discussed and the Government say that they want it to do more of this and less of that. That would be prudent government. Although the Minister said that it is up to the Environment Agency what it does with its money, that is a little disingenuous, because anyone who is applying for a grant does not just say, ''Give me £12 million.'' They say, ''Give me £12 million, and I will spread that across the huge range of activities that the Environment Agency undertakes.''

We are returning to the particulars of who funds the Environment Agency and the concerns that have been repeatedly expressed not only by the Environment Agency—the Minister might say, ''Well, they would, wouldn't they?'', because all organisations say that they are underfunded—but by independent people,   magistrates, parish councils, wardens, and police. Not only that, but when I went to meet my local National Farmers Union, its representatives explained the major problems of hazardous waste being tipped on to their land and said that they call the Environment Agency but that unless the problem is incredibly easy to solve, it will not put in the resources.