Clause 43 - Clean-up costs

Part of Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 25th January 2005.

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Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 10:45 am, 25th January 2005

I shall make two points. I repeat that I have every sympathy with the vast majority of farmers and landowners who are perfectly law abiding and respectable. However, if the full costs of the clean-up fell on local authorities and local council tax payers, which is where it would go, what would prevent unscrupulous minorities in every walk of life from putting rubbish on their own land and expecting council tax payers to pay for its removal? In fact, there is even a possibility of making money out of such criminal activity.

Secondly, the hon. Lady referred to the funds available to the Environment Agency. The additional cost implications of this problem are enormous. I do not know whether this is another issue to go on the Liberal Democrat shopping list, but there are costs that she must take into account if she wants to be responsible.