Clause 43 - Clean-up costs

Part of Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 25th January 2005.

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Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Conservative, Ribble Valley 10:15 am, 25th January 2005

I wish to speak to clause 43 and amendment No. 115, which I am also minded to support. We said earlier in our discussions that we want the polluter to pay, and I hope that the clause   deals with exactly that issue. Clearly, the problem is catching people tipping waste. If they can be caught, they can be brought before the courts, where they will face a fine. On top of that, they will have to pick up the costs of disposing of the waste, which could run into many thousands of pounds. We are talking about separating the fine for doing something wrong from the clean-up costs, which the culprit should have paid in the first place. That would ensure that they do not get away with it.

As I am sure the Minister would concede, if we did not include a provision on clean-up costs, in cases in which magistrates had been a bit lenient the fine would be lower than the costs of disposing of the waste. In such a case, the person would clearly have got away with it. We do not want to make it cheaper for people to tip waste illegally. We do not want them to think that they can go through all the judicial processes and end up with a fine that is lower than the clean-up costs of the waste.

Having spoken in support of clause 43, I move to amendment No. 115, which deals with those who have not been convicted—those who are not responsible for the waste on their land. I hope that the Minister will at least say that the clause deals only with those who have been convicted and not with victims, because that is what they are. Farming is under a lot of pressure these days in any event and, by definition, people in that industry have a lot of land. Let us be realistic about farming in today's world. To make a go of it, farmers need more and more land. Farms have been bought up and merged—