I thank the Minister for leaving me some time. This has been an excellent debate—the latest in an ongoing series. I have no doubt that, as Peter Grant said, if it was not us here, it would be a different 10 MPs, but the message would be the same. I hope that Rolton Kilbride, the applicant for the proposed gasification plant in my constituency, has been listening—I am sure that it has—and that it withdraws its appeal. I live in hope.
The Minister mentioned the low rates of recycling in Sunderland, and I agree that they need to be much better, but that needs investment, as other hon. Members have said, and the hard truth is that the Government have cut Sunderland City Council’s budget by £350 million in the past 10 years, so perhaps the Minister can address investment to support councils to recycle more—I am sure they would.
Elliot Colburn mentioned the Environment Agency—that is who the Minister said would monitor the plant in my area if it went ahead—and the number of breaches at his local plant being unacceptable. My hon. Friend Darren Jones said that the Environment Agency needs more powers, and I agree, especially on powers to spot-fine and revoke permits—I have raised that in past debates—without needing to go through protracted legal processes in the courts.
The solution to all this has to lie in more and better recycling and looking to other countries that are doing so much better than we are, but we also have to look to ourselves and how we live and consume and to be more considerate consumers. We need to create less waste.
Question put and agreed to.
That this House
has considered waste incineration facilities.