HC Deb 02 May 1990 vol 171 cc1081-101

'(1) The Secretary of State shall draw up a plan to reduce the entry of harmful substances into the North Sea.

(2) The plan established under subsection (1) above shall include—

  1. (a) measures to prohibit the dumping of sewage sludge from January 1st 1993;
  2. (b) measures to achieve zero discharges of inputs harmful to the marine environment by January 1st 2000;
  3. 1082
  4. (c) measures to prohibit the dumping of flyash from January 1st 1991;
  5. (d) measures to prohibit the dumping of industrial wastes from January 1st 1991;
  6. (e) measures to limit discharges from shipping;
  7. (f) measures to limit discharges from oil and gas platforms; and
  8. (g) measures to regulate further the transport of hazardous substances and to introduce a register of accidents at sea which result in the entry of harmful substances into the marine environment.'.—[Mr. Simon Hughes.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: New clause17—Marine conservation zones'(1) A Council shall, where it is of the opinion that any area of sea, or land adjacent to such area including land which is continuously or intermittntly covered by water, is in need of protection by reason of its flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features, prepare and monitor management plans for such area, and such area is to be designated as a Marine Conservation Zone. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above, a Council shall identify and delineate such a Marine Conservation Zone by reference to a plan and each plan shall have attached a short statement of the reasons why the Council considers the area to be in need of protection. (3) The bodies listed in Schedule (Marine Conservation Zones advertising and relevant bodies) to this Act shall provide the relevant Council for their area any details of activities carried on by them or on their behalf as are required by the Council and shall after consultation with the Council agree a management plan. (4) Where there is any proposed change in or intensification of such activities the bodies shall inform the Council and agree a new management plan if the Council considers that such a plan is necessary or desirable. (5) If any body listed in Schedule (Marine Conservation Zones advertising and relevant bodies) fails to agree a management plan before the designation of a Marine Conservation Zone that body shall comply with an interim management plan drawn up by the Council for the period from the date of the designation until agreement is reached and in the absence of such agreement the interim management plan shall continue to have effect. (6) In the event of an interim management plan not being superseded by a management plan within six months of the interim management plan coming into effect the Secretary of State shall, on application by either the Council or the Body to which the interim management plan applies, decide the contents of the management plan and the date from which it is to come into effect. (7) Where the areas referred to in subsection (1) above fall within the area of more than one Council the Councils may act jointly in carrying out the duties conferred by this section. (8) The provisions of Schedule (Marine Conservation Zones advertising and relevant bodies) shall have effect with regard to the publication of the plan and statement prepared under subsection (2) above. (9) For the purposes of this section the areas of each Council shall extend to the territorial waters adjacent to Great Britain and any part of Great Britain which is bounded by territorial waters shall be taken to include the territorial waters adjacent to that part. (10) In this section "Council" means the Nature Conservancy Council for England, the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland or the Countryside Council for Wales as the case may be and "Councils" shall be construed accordingly.'. New clause 55—Retrieval of harmful substances from the marine environment'(1) Where it appears to the Secretary of State that it is necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting the marine environment, the living resources which it supports, or human health or activities, he shall carry out or cause to have carried out operations to retrieve any harmful substances from the sea in United Kingdom controlled waters, or from any land adjoining the sea in United Kingdom controlled waters. (2) Where operations are carried out under subsection (1) above the Secretary of State may recover from the owner or master of the ship or ship's boat from which the harmful substances entered the sea any expenses reasonably incurred by him in carrying out such operations.'. Amendment No. 105—a new schedule—'Marine Conservation Zones Advertising and Relevant Bodies 1. On designating a Marine Conservation Zone the Council or Councils if acting jointly shall publish details of the location of the zone by advertising the designation of the zone in the Gazette and also in at least one local newspaper circulating in the area in which the zone is situated, such advertisement to contain a short description of the extent and boundaries of the zone and the address at which a plan of the zone may be inspected and the hours during which it may be inspected. 2. In this Schedule "the Gazette" means

  1. (a) If the zone is situated in whole or in part in England and Wales, the London Gazette;
  2. (b) If the zone is situated in whole or in part in Scotland, the Edinburgh Gazette;
3. (1) The bodies to which section (Marine Conservation Zones) applies are: Crown Estate Commissioners
  • Department of Transport
  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • Department of The Environment
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Defence
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of Scotland
  • National Rivers Authority
  • Water Purification Boards
  • Sea Fisheries Committee
  • Trinity House
  • Local Authorities
  • Port and Harbour Authorities
and any other body which the Secretary of State may from time to time consider appropriate.
(2) In this Schedule, "Trinity House" means the Trinity House as defined in section 742 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894.'.

Mr. Hughes

The purpose of new clause 9 is to increase the protection of the North sea—a most important issue. The purpose of new clause 17 is to establish marine conservation. New clause 55 is a linked clause, which would give the Secretary of State power to retrieve harmful substances from the marine environment. Marine conservation, the protection of the marine environment and, in particular, the protection of the North sea are rightly being given an important place in the debate. If we want evidence of how the Government are the environmental back sliders of Europe, we see that what they do does not live up to what they say. The way in which we, as a maritime country surrounded by the sea, protect our marine environment evidences the weakness of the Government's position.

New clause 9 contains a seven-part plan. If I were back in the law courts, as opposed to this court, I would frame an indictment in which there were seven counts. At the end of the evidence there is no doubt that on a charge of failing to protect the North sea, the Government would be found guilty on each of the seven counts, which are that they have not adequately agreed to prohibit the dumping of sewage sludge, that they are not committed in any way to achieving zero discharge of inputs harmful to the marine environment in any reasonable or immediate period, that they have not committed themselves to ban the dumping of fly ash as they should have done and as it is necessary to do, that they are not committed adequately and urgently to prohibit the dumping of industrial waste in the North sea, that they are not committed to limit discharges from shipping into the North sea, that they are not committed to proper measures to limit discharges from oil and gas platforms into the North sea, and that they are not committed sufficiently to regulate the transport of hazardous substances and to maintain a register of accidents at sea as a result of which harmful substances enter the marine environment.

One tragedy of Britain is that we regularly put at risk not just the land, which is our responsibility, but the large expanses of water around us over which we have significant influence. Over the years the North sea and the Irish sea—although the debate is not about the Irish sea—have become dumping grounds for much of the country's waste. The worst evidence against us as a nation is that on many of the seven charges in the indictment we are the only country which is committing the offences. Other countries have long since stopped doing so.

Taking the seven counts in turn, on sewage sludge the new clause has been tabled because we believe that until the Government stop embarrassing the country at international conferences and become committed to urgent deadlines that make it clear that the environment comes first and not second to other interests, it is necessary for us to establish the deadlines. The presumption is that that should be done sooner rather than later. The Government have never adequately rebutted that presumption.

We are the only country in the world to continue to dump sewage sludge in the North sea. The amount is not small; last year it was 3.5 million tonnes, much of it contaminated by heavy metals. That sewage sludge probably contains viruses because, unlike other countries, we do not pasteurise our sewage. I understand that there is one small pasteurisation plant in north Yorkshire, and only last month in an answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce), the Minister said that this country has no plans to require more extensive use of such facilities.

There is some confusion about the urgency of the problem. On the one hand, Ministers from the Department of the Environment have said in answer to a letter from one of my colleagues: We do not permit the dumping of harmful industrial waste at sea". Yet in an answer to me the following month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food made the clear admission that shellfish were being examined for viruses, which have no doubt developed because of the dumping of sludge, not in a single isolated site, but in many sites off our coasts.

6.30 pm

This is a serious problem, of enormous scale. Perhaps the best people to judge its seriousness are the fishermen who fish in the North sea and who have to work in a foul environment. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food accepts that those fishermen have complained regularly that they become ill as a result of fishing near sludge disposal sites. Although the Ministry has taken those complaints seriously, it has not yet done anything about the problem. It is a tragedy that fishing is now dangerous in much of the North sea because of the amount of sludge that we have dumped there, which directly affects the people who use the sea.

It is no good saying that we are beginning to deal with the problem adequately by sifting out the plastic and sewage sludge because, although it is true that there is some screening, it is not comprehensive. Another recent written answer from MAFF made it clear that there is now screening at one of the treatment plants, but not at the other.

It is a sordid business and a sordid sea. Fishermen regularly discover that they are fishing through floating layers of unlimited faeces. On 24 February this year, an article described the sea off Tyneside, which is not far from the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith): When fishermen's nets are hauled in off the Tyne, they are dense with treated faeces and thousands of condoms and sanitary towels. 'It can turn the stomach of the most experienced seaman', said Ray Morse, skipper of the Conduan, based in North Shields. Next comes the important evidence: Thirty years ago, fishermen had bumper catches—but these have all gone. Last week, one trawler netted two boxes in five hours. Trawlermen are now considering fishing up to 100 miles out at sea, compared with a few miles five years ago. That harms the fishing industry because many vessels are not equipped to travel as far as is now necessary to fish for the catches upon which the fishermen depend for their living.

The Government have said that it is all right to deal with the problem by 1998, but that is not sufficient. They should show greater seriousness and adopt a much earlier deadline. We have proposed a deadline of the beginning of 1993.

I hope that the Government realise that this matter is now of significant interest, not only to the fishing and farming industries, but to the whole community. Just before the North sea conference earlier this year, I received not only the clearly prompted, standard-form letters from people who are members of environmental organisations, but letters that had been personally written. I received one such letter from a constituent who I remember as a troublesome youth a few years ago. He is now in prison and wrote to me, having been persuaded of the importance of international environmental issues. This is the first letter that I have received from him since he has been in prison and it is worth noting that, although prisoners write to their Members of Parliament about many things, they do not normally write about international environmental issues. It is interesting that having had a chance to reflect on his life and condition, the way in which we treat our environment was the issue on which that prisoner chose to write to me.

We should attack the problem urgently. It is no good saying that we can put it off for nearly another decade.

Mr. Hugo Summerson (Walthamstow)

We have heard the hon. Gentleman speak at some length about the problems caused by the dumping of sewage sludge in the North sea. The essence of politics is that one not only criticises, but comes up with a solution to the problem. The hon. Gentleman has said that 3.5 million tonnes of sewage sludge are dumped in the North sea—that is an awful lot of sewage sludge—so what would he do about it right now? Would he spread it on the land? Would he build incinerator plants? What would he do about the problem between now and January 1993?

Mr. Hughes

It is generally accepted that we should dispose of what there is where we can control it. I hope that the hon. Gentleman accepts that one criticism of what we are doing to spoil our marine environment is that we have adopted what is basically an "out of sight, out of mind" disposal solution. It is believed that if things are removed from visibility, they do not matter and that the problem flows away when it is invisible.

Sewage sludge should be treated and screened properly and we should have the necessary processes for that. We should ensure that we have alternative land sites rather than sea sites. That point has been argued consistently. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is aware that the problem is not confined to sewage sludge, but relates to everything that we export off the coasts of our country. It is no good simply saying that we should send our waste or burn our toxic materials offshore; that can do just as much, if not more, harm at sea as on the land.

Since I have been a Member of the House, it has been the general view of the Government—and everybody else—that disposals should take place where one can see what one is doing and where one can control and monitor the effects of the disposal of anything that is toxic or harmful.

Our second proposal relates to achieving by the end of the decade zero discharges of inputs that are harmful to the marine environment. Although that is not a short time scale, it is important that we have such a target, because at the moment we have only an inadequate list of materials for which we have targets.

Our third proposal relates to the dumping of fly ash, which causes a particular problem because some people claim—and the Government argue this case—that such dumping does not cause any harm to the marine environment because it is inert. In addition, it is argued that there are no land-based alternatives. However. there is also a serious dispute about whether we are in breach of the international requirements on fly ash. There is no doubt that fly ash will continue to be created, but the problem is what we do with it. Another dispute relates to the implications of such dumping both now and in the future.

We believe that the commitment that Britain made in the agreement that was signed at the 1987 international conference was to phase out the dumping of industrial waste in the North sea by 31 December 1989. We further believe that fly ash dumping breaks the terms of that agreement because it harms the marine environment by killing the sea bed. Alternative disposal methods are available, such as using landfill sites or using energy conservation measures to reduce the amount that needs to be dumped. Furthermore, such dumping cannot be justified by the arguments that the Prime Minister and other Ministers regularly use, such as the prior justification procedure argument—that there is no practical alternative on the one hand and, on the other hand, that harm is not caused.

The tragedy is that the north-east coast of Britain is the only place in Europe where fly ash is dumped at sea. Furthermore, the amount that is dumped at sea is small and is therefore capable of elimination. In simple scientific terms, it effectively renders the sea bed inert. It is not as solid as, but it is like putting down, a concrete particle substance, and certainly much life is killed by being smothered with fly ash. There is a great problem in monitoring the effects of what we do and the extent of fly ash dumping. I hope, therefore, that the Government realise that it is not that we pretend that there is no problem—there is an issue, because we create fly ash as a result of burning coal—but there are alternative disposal solutions which we have advocated and which are perfectly feasible and proper.

We also propose measures to prohibit the dumping of industrial wastes from the beginning of next year. This is where the Government are at their most vulnerable. The Government said that they would phase out the dumping of industrial wastes by the end of 1989, but they have granted licences which take us beyond the end of 1989 to the end of 1992 and potentially into 1993. What they did was made worse by the way in which they argued their case. They said that they were ending dumping—there were great press releases and great declarations of intent—but then they talked about exceptions. In answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce), they admitted the extent of the exceptions. My hon. Friend's question was: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many licences to dump chemical industrial wastes in the North sea will be terminated by 31 December 1992; and how many will continue to be in force; (2) what percentage of chemical industrial wastes dumped in the North sea will be terminated by 31 December 1992; and what percentage will continue. The answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean), was: It is my intention that all licences to dispose of industrial wastes in the North sea covered by the 1987 North sea declaration will be terminated by 31 December 1992. For two of the wastes, however, involving 77 per cent. of the current total annual licensed tonnage, it might not be technically feasible to meet this deadline. I will extend the licences for these last two wastes into 1993 only if absolutely necessary on technical grounds and for the shortest possible part of that year."—[Official Report, 8 March 1990; Vol. 168, c. 853.] It is not acceptable for the Government to say that they are willing to sign up to get rid of wastes by 1989 only for us to discover that they have exceptions which not just prove the rule but break it.

Mr. Summerson

I am most grateful to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) for giving way to me a second time. One of the exceptions that he talks about is ICI, which employs thousands of people. Under the hon. Gentleman's proposals, ICI would have to close down its works and sack thousands of its employees. What answer would the hon. Gentleman give them?

Mr. Hughes

The hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Summerson) is being very naive. That is the same argument as is used about Sellafield: that closing down Sellafield would cause wholesale unemployment among its large work force in Cumbria. The hon. Gentleman knows that it is quite within the capacity of ICI's research and development to deal with these issues and to solve the problems. If firms such as ICI are required to do so, they have the capacity. ICI is one of the most eminent private sector enterprises in the world and would be able and willing to solve the problems; it is a matter of Government will and requirement. Second, many people currently employed in ICI plants in the north-east could use their skills to bring about more environmentally acceptable processes of chemical production such as we discussed only on Monday of this week.

This is a very important point to make about environmental issues generally: there need be no unemployment as a result of environmental improvement. One obvious example is that all the energy that we use and waste and all the potential for conservation that we possess could be turned to reducing much harmful energy consumption and employing people to make sure that we conserve energy rather than waste it.

Mr. Tim Devlin (Stockton, South)

My constituents will be extremely pleased to hear what the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) has to say, because it is their jobs that will be at stake. Will the hon. Gentleman address his mind, before making immediate demands for a complete clean-up of chemical and other industries, which are already making a significant effort to this end, to the time scale? He is right to say that research will yield technically feasible options for cleaning up waste streams and so forth; it is a question of how long one has in which to do it. My hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Summerson) is absolutely right: if all these waste streams had to be stopped tomorrow morning, ICI, Monsanto and a number of other companies would be stopped tomorrow morning.

6.45 pm
Mr. Hughes

My hon. Friends and I do not propose that the deadline for implementation of these policies should be today or tomorrow. If hon. Members will look at the list, they will see that there are different deadlines for different requirements. What is more, it is not as if the Government have just come into office—they have been in office for over 10 years—and we do not find it acceptable that late in the day they are prepared to have the latest deadline of any of our European neighbours and then to grant exemptions and assent that that is sufficient. It is no good always postponing making the environment an immediate priority. That is unacceptable. While we must accept what is technically feasible, there are ways, technically and politically, of ensuring that imminent deadlines, as they are set out in our proposals—and we are quite willing to have them debated—are met. But in default of a Government commitment to honour obligations that they have entered into and to uphold deadlines that others find acceptable, we propose these as realistic and technically attainable.

I would like to deal more briefly with the last three categories, discharges from shipping, from oil and gas platforms and from the transport of hazardous substances. All these are matters which are capable of immediate resolution. Sometimes there is intentional discharge into the North sea. Some vessels deliberately leak fuel. There is a regular practice of throwing rubbish overboard. Such practices are more easily controlled at sea than on land, and people in charge of vessels are far more likely to be able to enforce controls.

Inasmuch as we use the North sea, as we properly should, for commerce, industry, travel, energy exploration and the rest, we have a responsibility to make sure that we use it properly and wisely. Looking back over the quotations of the Government's good faith and the practical implications of the Government's policy, we have seen a tragedy writ very large indeed over the past 10 years.

The right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer), who is the present Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, was brazen enough at the end of last year to say that the United Kingdom was fully meeting international agreements reached unanimously by North sea countries. The hon. Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley), then the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment and now the Minister for Health, said in the autumn of last year that the United Kingdom places a high priority on implementing the decisions adopted by the two North sea conferences". Perhaps the most amazingly brazen statement of all—no prizes for guessing its author—was back in the spring of 1988: The Government has moved more quickly than any other North sea country in following up the declaration"— that is the declaration of the North sea conference in 1987— with proposals for action. No prizes forguessing that the words were said by the present Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, the right hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), then Secretary of State for the Environment.

We say that the Government have been complacent for long enough and it is about time that the North sea had the benefit of protection from the people who use it most.

I turn briefly to our proposal for marine conservation zones around our shores. Parliament legislated for marine nature reserves in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It has not been a great success. Only one area has been designated, the island of Lundy. It is very beautiful and it is proper that it should be designated, but this initiative has hardly been followed round our coasts. The reason why we have had only one area designated is that the bureaucracy involved in getting everyone to agree to declare a marine nature reserve has proved in practice to be relatively, if not entirely, unworkable.

It is possible to declare a site of special scientific interest. Indeed, such sites can be designated to include tidal and coastal areas. However, they do not cover areas below low tide. They extend to different watermarks in Scotland and England. Perhaps most important, they fail to prevent damaging activities in tidal and marine habitats.

There are many reasons why, above all, we should have a regime that provides protection for the marine habitat and environment which is just as strong as the protection for the shore. Our coastal waters are the resting place and breeding grounds of enormous numbers of species of global significance. Those of us who have been privileged enough to spend holidays in Orkney, in my case, the north-east coast of Scotland or the north-east coast of England are aware that enormous numbers of sea birds use those coastal waters. About 4.25 million sea birds breed around our North sea coasts. It is about 10 per cent. of the world's population of some species and the majority of some wonderful species such as the fulmar, the Arctic skua and the puffin.

We must make sure that we preserve the marine environment in a way that we are failing to do at present. My hon. Friend the Member for Gordon and I propose that one of the conservancy councils, the status of which we discussed earlier, should have the power to designate a marine area that is in need of protection by reason of its flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features a marine conservation zone. I challenge the Government to say that our proposal is not both practical and urgent.

The last of our new clauses is new clause 55. It is a rescue clause. It is a simple proposal. I hope that the Government will accept it. It says: Where it appears to the Secretary of State that it is necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting the marine environment, the living resources which it supports, or human health or activities, he shall carry out or cause to have carried out operations to retrieve any harmful substances from the sea in United Kingdom controlled waters, or from any land adjoining the sea in United Kingdom controlled waters. If those who had caused the pollution were to blame they would be required to pay the price of retrieving any substances from the sea.

Sadly, for too long Britain has been regarded—I apologise for using a sexist phrase—as the dirty man of Europe. We have turned our attention to making sure that our backyards are environmentally clean but we have not made sure that our national backyard is environmentally clean. The worst evidence of that is the North sea. My hon. Friends and I hope that the House will accept the new clause.

Mr. Devlin

I have a long-term interest in the North sea as one who comes from the north-east of England and who has taken an active interest in ecology since I was at school, when I established a society called the Survival Society to look after the ecology of the world. We set up our own school paper recycling project, a model which, 10 years later, has been copied all over Britain. At that time I was young and innocent, and I was a member of Friends of the Earth. Just as people say, "If you are not a socialist when you are 20 you do not have a heart, and if you are not a Conservative by the time you are 40 you do not have a head," perhaps if one is not a member of Friends of the Earth at the age of 20 one does not have a heart, and if one has not seen sense by the time one is 30, one certainly does not have a brain.

I came to represent Stockton, South with great interest, because I thought that it would give me a unique opportunity to get to grips with some of the problems of the North sea. I was worried about what would happen to rubbish dumped in the North sea. Many of my constituents fish in the North sea and they have told me of the disgusting problem, for example, of pulling nets out of deep sludge from sewage outfalls in the North sea. In respect of that part of his speech, I agree with the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes).

The hon. Member also referred to the problem of ash which comes predominantly from inefficient incineration and to the major problem of sewage sludge. I have maintained some links with organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and they have sent me their briefs. Last August I had an opportunity to go aboard the Rainbow Warrior when it docked at La Rochelle in France.

I found it interesting that the speech of the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey closely followed the Greenpeace brief called "Reasons why the UK is still the Dirty Man of Europe" issued on 6 March 1990. It sets out seven areas in which the United Kingdom is still the dirty man of Europe. When I received that brief, I was worried about some of the issues that it threw up. I immediately wrote to Paul Horsman, the United Kingdom toxics divisional director of Greenpeace, to ask him some questions about it. I shall deal with some of the points raised.

Paul Horsman is the Max Headroom of Greenpeace. He does not seem to exist. He is a name on the bottom of notepaper and at the top of various newspapers published by Greenpeace. When one writes to him one eventually receives any number of letters from people who sign "per pro Paul Horsman". If hon. Members are looking for an interesting way to spend their term in Parliament, perhaps they should find someone from Greenpeace to work for them as their secretary. They can then spend their five years in Torremolinos or whatever place takes their fancy.

On 9 January, I wrote to Mr. Horsman about the pollution of the North sea. I asked whether he would prefer landfill or incineration to the dumping of sewage sludge. On 12 January 1990, he wrote back, not on that subject but enclosing a circular on another matter. On 22 January, I wrote to him asking if he intended to reply to my letter of 9 January. Someone acknowledged my letter saying that he was out of the country.

I wrote a further reminder. On 6 February I received a further circular addressed "Dear Member of Parliament". On 22 February, I wrote a further reminder. On 26 April, I received a reply. The House may be interested to hear some of the points in reply. I am sure that its position is the same as that of the Liberals, because they follow the Greenpeace brief. It says: Greenpeace is not only opposed to dumping waste at sea (a practice ended by most other European countries), but also to incineration—an acknowledged environmentally damaging waste disposal technology. With great respect to that organisation, which commands significant support throughout Britain, it is not true by any means that incineration is acknowledged to be environmentally damaging. It is the only way that we have at present of dealing with PCBs.

The letter went on to discuss the two incinerators on Teesside and Tyneside which are to burn not only sewage sludge but hazardous waste. On that point Greenpeace is absolutely right. One cannot burn sewage sludge with industrial waste. No one has the technology. Even the chemical industry looks sceptically on whether sewage sludge can be burned with chemical waste. Greenpeace went on to say: Incineration of industrially contaminated sewage sludge or of sewage sludge with hazardous waste can only increase the residue problems. The problem with that is that household sewage, that horrible stuff that goes down the drains to our sewage farms, is polluted by many different substances such as heavy metals and many other contaminants. In the past people thought that that was due to the fact that some industry was dumping chemicals down the drain. It now looks as if many of the chemicals that go down the drain are from ordinary household uses.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey will recall that, on Monday night, when we were discussing the chemical industry, I pointed out that all sorts of chemicals are used every day in bleach, oven cleaners, and nail varnish. They all go down the drain and find their way out into the North sea through that drainage system. It is not a simple matter to take the industrial waste out of our sewage to produce the so-called "clean" sewage. The solution proposed by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth is to implement such clean technology and production. I am minded to question what they mean by the clean production of sewage, but I shall not go into that now.

7 pm

It is worth while considering some of the products that go down the drains and become sewage. There is a certain product whose contents are outrageous and I know that the House will be extremely concerned about it. It contains chemicals such as acetone, acetaldehyde, methyl butrate, ethyl caproaie, hexy acetate, methanol acrolein and even some stuff called crotonaldehyde. How could anyone dose up with a product that contains so many chemicals? One would think that, at the very least, the producers would be forced to print those ingredients on the product.

That would be rather a problem, however, because the product I have described is a fresh strawberry, naturally grown, with no man-made ingredients. The next time hon. Members see a reasonably ripe strawberry on their plate, they might like to think about what is going on in that little chemical reactor. Strawberries end up in our drains.

I agree that a waste reduction audit is necessary—I am sure that many hon. Members agree about that. If we can reduce the amount of waste that industry and others create in the environment in the first place, it will help to solve the problem. I saw representatives of the chemical industry today and asked them about the problems associated with clean technology and clean production and whether such production would be possible. One can never say what might be possible as a result of new research, but the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey suggested that all that was needed was for a company the size of ICI to turn its technological effort to waste minimisation and, hey presto, the whole problem would be solved in a matter of moments.

It is important to inform the House of the environmental objectives of the Chemical Industries Association; every chemical-producing company in the country is a signatory to those objectives. The CIA states: The chemical industry accepts its duty to manage its operations so that they are socially acceptable as well as complying with all relevant statutory provisions. It is a primary responsibility of the management of the chemical industry to protect the environment as an integral part of good business practice. The problem of waste is being addressed by the chemical industry, and in the past 10 years the clean up of the River Tees has been dramatic. We must now look at further ways in which to clean up the environment.

If we do not intend to continue to dump sewage and other things into the sea, we must find alternatives. If the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey came up to the north-east he would learn that planning applications have been made for two toxic waste incineraters—one in Tyneside at Howden, the other in Portrack, near to my constituency. The hon. Gentleman's colleague, the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), can confirm that there is massive public disapproval of those schemes and great opposition to them.

We have given a commitment to clean up the North sea, but it appears that we are riot prepared to meet the environmental price for doing so by finding an alternative. There are two alternatives to dumping. One can put waste in landfill sites, but we are desperately short of landfill sites, and problems are also associated with them because of the escape of methane and other gases.

The only other option currently available is expensive and politically sensitive—incineration. The disposal of waste through incineration is extremely expensive, as is disposal in landfill sites. The chemical industry already has a major incentive to cut down its waste streams wherever possible because of that expense. I recently visited Teesside with the all-party chemical industries group and I know that work to reduce such waste streams is already going on throughout the industry.

Some might argue that to tackle the problem all one needs to do is disconnect our industries from the sewerage system. If that happened, some of our smaller companies would go out of business immediately. We must address that problem. We do not want such companies to dump chemicals into the drains, but we want them to remain in business so that they can provide us with a vibrant pharmaceutical and chemical industry in the next century.

If one dumps sewage on landfill sites, there is bound to be some run off. It has been suggested that such sewage could he put on the land, but supply would quickly outstrip demand. Greenpeace has also informed me that it is possible to compost sludge with straw and substitute it for some of the uses of peat in agriculture and horticulture. That may be possible, but I am advised that that practice would deal with only a small amount of sewage.

It is important to consider waste disposal in its widest perspective. Other European states have demanded that sewage dumping at sea should end by 1995, and I know that the Government want to achieve that. The difficulty arises in finding alternatives to such dumping, especially as they are costly and politically sensitive.

The recently published "Interim Report on the Quality Status of the North Sea" said that the United Kingdom ranks second to the Netherlands as the largest contributor of the most dangerous heavy metals that go into the North sea. Some might argue that our contribution is more significant than that of the Dutch, as their figure includes products from Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and West Germany. I understand that the report has since cast doubt on the validity of the figures given, and that further studies are planned.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey is correct to say that the United Kingdom is now the only country dumping fly ash in the sea. That practice is scheduled to end in 1992. The companies concerned are actively seeking alternatives, but, once again, they face problems in obtaining planning permission and the necessary capital.

Waste disposal needs a great deal more research. It is simple for the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey and others to get up to say what is wrong with current practices in the United Kingdom. The research that backs up the statistical charges of inefficiency by the Government is often poorly founded; we need better facts and figures before we can point to this country as the dirty man of Europe.

Industry throughout the north-east, where most of the pollution comes from, is making a significant effort to address the problems and it is making inroads. I hope that the House will urge that industry to do as much as it can in the future and will not accept the new clause, which is ill-founded and in need of greater research.

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

I support the new clause tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes). I accept that industry is making great efforts. It is so far ahead in the technology of waste management that we could, as we did in Victorian times, export our technology and knowledge. In common with energy efficiency, waste technology is a worthwhile area in which our industries should take a lead.

I represent nearly 50 miles of the North sea coastline, and many of my constituents work on the sea in the fishing industry. Many others who live near the coast feel strongly about the existing level of pollution. The public row to which the hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) referred, about the proposed incinerators, is a further aspect of public anxiety about pollution in the north east.

All those various types of pollution have aroused concern and my constituents have complained about them for many years, but there has been little response. All of a sudden, other people are interested, it is on national television screens and the Greenpeace ship and inflatables are there for all to see, interfering with fly ash dumping and other activities. There are two possible reactions to that. Sometimes, people resent it and say, "We have known about that for a long time," or say, as many do, "Thank goodness that somebody else is at last taking an interest in our problem."

All the various types of dumping have aroused deep concern. Pharmaceutical wastes, which place into the North sea substances that can reappear in the food chain, particularly through fish, are a source of great anxiety. The dumping of fly ash provides a solid bed in a concentrated area of the North sea in the middle of important fishing grounds. The fishing industry in Northumberland faces difficult times for a series of reasons, and to have the accumulating effect of fly ash dumping in the middle of that adds to the problems.

The fly ash comes from north-east power stations that use the coal from north-east pits, particularly at Blyth and Stella. Nobody in the north-east wants to see an end to coal-fired electricity generation in the north-east, but that is a problem that can be solved; National Power clearly recognises that it can be, as it must, because the Government have committed it to solving the problem.

It has been suggested in my constituency that it is absurd that, when lorries are trundling into Blyth day after day with the products of opencast sites, they cannot be filled with fly ash to take back and put in the hole from which the opencast material has come. When so many holes are being dug in the north-east, there is surely some prospect of filling some of them with the very fly ash produced by the coal from the north-east. There is clearly some scope for the intelligent use of opportunities that are already available.

Sewage sludge and sewage output contribute greatly to the problems faced by fishermen in the north-east, and early action is clearly required. As well as all the factors mentioned in the debate, there are also problems of colliery waste tipping and polluted beaches. Such problems exist at Lynemouth in Northumberland. That is basically the same problem that exists on Durham beaches and is deeply depressing for those who know what those beaches used to look like.

There is a complex and interlocking chain of problems. The waste is tipped from the Lynemouth-Ellington colliery complex, which is of great employment importance in the region, and supplies an aluminium smelter. Some of the proposed ways of dealing with the complex problem might not solve it, particularly when one takes into account the possible rise in sea levels and the global warming effect. We may lose the whole lot, including the smelter, if there is an incursion from the sea into the area where this is taking place. It requires careful management.

There has been a limited commitment of Government funds to a possible future scheme to solve the colliery dumping problem at Lynemouth. That is clearly not enough, and the scheme first produced will be inadequate. I hope for continued and more expensive Government involvement in whatever scheme is most likely to end the dumping and secure the future of the Ellington colliery complex and smelter for as long as possible. It is obviously an efficient arrangement to have a colliery and a smelter working side by side, but it will be better if we can control the waste management from it more effectively than has been done so far.

Much more progress has been made with all these matters since someone started to set timetables. My hon. Friends are keen on the amendments, because they strengthen and tighten those timetables. It is amazing that this was allowed to continue for so long without any significant improvement, until we became involved in international obligations to meet deadlines. That leads me to believe that my right hon. and hon. Friends are right to table amendments seeking an earlier achievement of those targets.

7.15 pm
Mr. Morley

I shall touch on a few points that have been raised in the debate. The Opposition give their broad support to the principles put forward by the Liberal Democrats. We are concerned about one or two matters, such as the time-scale laid down for the phasing out of sea dumping.

It is fair to say, as did the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), that a time-scale focuses the mind towards working towards the set date. It is also fair to say that the Government have given commitments that they will work to dates, but they have then reneged on them. Those commitments should have been given on the understanding that the Government would honour them, not renege on by them extending the deadlines beyond those previously given at North sea conferences.

There is no doubt that our record on sea dumping is one of the worst in Europe. There have been 10 years of inaction on dealing with raw sewage going into our seas from pipelines and sewage sludge. I take up the point made by the hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin). One cannot simply switch off industrial effluent tomorrow because of the impact it would have on the industries involved and jobs. However, we should work towards that. ICI has said that if it had been given a tighter programme by the Government, it would have adjusted its capital investment programme to meet the deadlines and that it could have phased out the dumping of industrial effluent earlier if the Government had laid on the line more clearly what was expected. The Department of Trade and Industry seems inactive when it comes to working with industry and trying to assist it in finding alternatives such as recycling effluent and reducing the amount of effluent that goes into our water courses and sea.

Some of the deadlines in the Liberal Democrat new clause are more easily met than others. There is no doubt that there are quick alternatives to dumping fly ash in the North sea. Apart from the points that have rightly been made about its effect on sterilising the sea bed, it also tends to solidify into large lumps and causes enormous damage to fishermen's gear when they catch their trawls in the lumps of fly ash. They have had no financial compensation from the people dumping fly ash in the sea and damaging their gear, and I believe that the people responsible should be liable for that.

It is, at the very least, most unpleasant for those catching fish in our seas to trawl up filth from raw sewage because of the sewage dumping that takes place. Fish is one of the few foods that, without doubt, is healthy and good for people. The Government should give greater priority to ensuring that the quality of that product is maintained at its present high standards.

We support the concept of marine conservation zones. We are sorry that there is only one designated marine nature reserve. The problem seems to be the tortuous consultation procedure that must be carried out. That is why we are not meeting our EC commitments to protect important sea bed sites.

In Committee I moved an amendment on behalf of the Opposition calling for a national environmental audit to include the whole of the coastline to look at the organic matter that goes into our coast and the parts of our coastline that need particular support and attention because they are under threat. I was sorry that the Liberal Democrat spokesman voted with the Government against that amendment, because I felt that that was a poor position to adopt—

Mr. Simon Hughes

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that there has been a change of roles since then, when a colleague of mine took the view that the amendment was a good idea but somewhat impractical. No one wants less knowledge about what we are doing to our marine environment and coastline; it is a matter of how we go about protecting them.

Mr. Morley

I accept the hon. Gentleman's assurances and I recognise that there has been a change of responsibilities—that may be for the better. But we believe that we need a national overview of the environment. I do not want to re-run the arguments about that, but we believe that a lack of such an overview of conservation is one of the fundamental weaknesses in part VII of the Bill. I am sure that we shall return to that matter later in the Bill's progress.

Finally, I pay tribute to the conservation work that fishermen have done. Recently I was in Plymouth talking to members of the south-west region of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, and I was impressed by the steps that local fishermen had taken to protect the sea bed—for instance, a voluntary ban on French dredging for scallops. They, above all people, recognise the need to conserve our sea beds and to control what goes on to them.

We do not disagree with the idea of polluters paying the recovery costs of harmful substances. In Committee, we moved an amendment calling for a fine and for the confiscation of vessels held responsible for dumping poisonous substances in the sea. deliberately releasing oil into it or washing their tanks at sea. Because of the costs of waste disposal and the transportation, there are enormous profits to be had by people who take the risk of breaking the law by washing tanks at sea, thereby saving turnaround times for oil tankers, or by those who deliberately push toxic substances over the side even though they have been paid to take them to a site at which they can be properly disposed of. I believe that the Government recognise this and I hope that they will consider strengthening the penalties, at least those for clean-up costs. We go one step further and ask the Government also to consider confiscating ships that break the law, because of the serious consequences of their actions.

We accept the thrust of the arguments on the new clause and the sincerity with which they were expressed, but we believe that some of the deadlines are not very realistic. We should like to hear a little more from the Liberal Democrats about how they would be met before giving our full support to the idea.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory)

I welcome this chance to debate the marine environment, because the Government are committed to protecting it and to reducing still further the discharge of dangerous substances into the North sea and the other seas around our coasts. However, I cannot accept new clause 9, because it will not take us more quickly to that objective.

The new clause is something of a random mixture of general intentions and arbitrary targets, strung together with no consideration of priorities for action to protect our seas—priorities which have marked the approach of successive North sea conferences, which have rightly focused on the dangerous substances reaching the sea, mainly through rivers, and then agreed the means to reduce them.

At The Hague conference in March agreement was reached on 36 substances for which reductions of 50 per cent. or more will be sought by a deadline of 1995; for four substances, a more ambitious target of a 70 per cent. reduction was set. The United Kingdom is well on the way to meeting those objectives. These figures, and our achievements to date, are contained in the United Kingdom's national action plan on North sea discharges, which was published on 5 March. So I do not disagree much with new clause 9(1).

The differences between us arise in subsection (2), which contains an arbitrary revision of the time scales negotiated and agreed upon at The Hague conference after full consideration of the practical realities involved. Sewage sludge dumping, about which the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) spoke at some length, accounts for only about 1 per cent. of dangerous substances reaching the North sea. River-borne pollution is by far and away the most potent source of pollution. But we have agreed to phase out sewage sludge dumping by 1998. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey must face up to the practicalities of his time scale, which would seek to phase it out within three years. The engineering and technical complexities of finding alternative means of disposal of 30 per cent. of the sewage sludge arising in the United Kingdom are great.

The reason why we have so much sludge to get rid of is that we treat more of our household sewage than any other country in Europe does. So we are talking about large volumes of waste, and it must be recognised that it can be disposed of in only three ways: into the earth, on the land or into the sea.

I should have greater respect for the hon. Gentleman's drastic timetable if I did not know that if someone wanted to construct an incinerator in or near his constituency he would be one of the first to object. We must face the fact that no alternative means of disposal is welcomed by or pleasant for those living nearby. Even when pressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Summerson), the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey would not admit that these alternatives are politically, socially and technologically difficult.

I have exactly the same objection to the hon. Gentleman's other time scales—

Mr. Simon Hughes

As it happens, when there was a proposal to build, on the boundary of my constituency, a combined heat and power plant that would burn waste, I and my colleagues supported it. If the Minister checks the record he will find that whenever we have debated the disposal of waste I and my colleagues have argued that land-based disposal is better, and we have supported the Government when they have followed that line, because such disposal is more easily monitored. It is more important to deal with the toxicity of the waste beforehand so that the potential dangers are lessened. We have consistently refused to take the NIMBY approach, by contrast with some of the Minister's predecessors in the Department.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

I am delighted—as, I am sure, Thames Water will be—to hear that the hon. Gentleman might not take a negative view if it was proposed to build an incinerator in or near his constituency to deal with the sludge from it which now all flows into the North sea.

The technical complexities of dealing with industrial waste and fly ash are also great. We are dealing with large quantities of dilute chemicals. When pressed, the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey said that he did not want to shut down these industries overnight and that his time scales would give some leeway. His new clause would set a time scale of less than eight months, whereas in realistic negotiations with the companies concerned we are setting a time scale that would take us up to 1992, or in two cases a possible continuation into the early months of 1993. That is a demanding time scale and anything else would put jobs and the industries involved at serious risk.

7.30 pm

I emphasise that we are not in breach of undertakings given at the second North sea conference. The industrial wastes being deposited in the North sea are not significantly harmful and we have presented evidence to that effect to the Oslo commission. The hon. Gentleman drew attention to the part of his new clause that calls for zero discharges of harmful substances by 2000. My hon. Friend the Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) rightly said that that was entirely unrealistic because we are dealing with a wide range of wastes—domestic, industrial and agricultural—some of which contain trace elements of contaminating substances, such as lead from pipes or from roadside dust. We also have a legacy from our past activities in mining.

All that means that whatever we do there will always be small quantities of harmful substances running off land into rivers and, therefore, to the North sea. We cannot simply wave a magic wand to try to get those discharges down to zero. We must patiently negotiate with our partners a realistic series of priorities and time scales to deal with dangerous substances. That is what we signed up to do at The Hague conference and in a few weeks we shall publish a detailed guidance note on how we shall implement The Hague conference declaration.

New clause 55 seeks to deal with pollution from ships. I sympathise with what the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey says, but I assure him that his new clause is not necessary because we already have in place a speedy and effective system for dealing with pollution incidents. Hon. Members may recall the efforts of the French and United Kingdom authorities to recover dangerous substances from the motor vessel Perintis which sank in the western part of the English channel last year. Those efforts showed the effectiveness of the Department of Transport's marine pollution control unit which received advice from the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and dealt with the matter. The Royal Navy managed to recover a major part of the shipment of pesticides. That shows that we have in place the means of dealing with such problems and new clause 55 will not add to the powers that are already available under the Prevention of Oil Pollution Act 1971 as supplemented by the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution) Intervention Order 1980.

Some hon. Members spoke about the need to protect, and in some cases set up, marine conservation zones. I am sympathetic to that view, but I draw the attention of the House to the procedures that already exist for setting up marine reserves under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is not possible to draw lines on maps and say that the area delineated is a conservation zone. Patient consultation with those involved is required.

The hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) complained about the time that it has taken to set up the Lundy island reserve. I think that he will understand that we must take fully into account those who live and work in such areas. In many cases we are talking about fragile local economies and we must get the wholehearted co-operation of fishermen, those who make their living along the shorelines, and those who live in such areas, even if that takes some time. I remind the House that the means exist for protecting our marine environment. I urge the House to reject the new clause.

Mr. Simon Hughes

I do not think that there is as much common ground between the Minister and my party on the matter of dealing with harmful discharges as there is between us on the other matters. I hope that he will look again at the matter of marine conservation zones. People are disappointed that only one, Lundy island, has been declared under the 1981 Act. My new clause is a practical way to deal with important sites. I hope that the Government will respond later in another place and will agree with us on that.

In speaking about new clause 9, the Minister said that we have mixed general intentions and arbitrary targets. The Government have a policy of general intentions and targets and there are dates to which the Government have subscribed. The difference between us is that we say the Government are going too slowly. We could go more quickly and the environmental targets that we urge are much more justifiable than those that the Government have so far negotiated. The evidence shows that on all the occasions when there has been a negotiated agreement, Britain has argued for a later date while everybody else has argued for an earlier one. If the Minister wants more evidence of the fact that the Government are dragging their feet, he should look at the decisions to which the United Kingdom has been a party.

For those reasons, I and my hon. Friends ask that new clause 9, which stresses the urgency of measures to protect the North sea, be put to a Division. I ask hon. Members to support us.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 28, Noes 178.

Division No. 190] [7.36 pm
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Johnston, Sir Russell
Beith, A. J. Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Kennedy, Charles
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Maclennan, Robert
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Meale, Alan
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Pike, Peter L.
Cohen, Harry Primarolo, Dawn
Crowther, Stan Skinner, Dennis
Cryer, Bob Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Duffy, A. E. P. Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Eastham, Ken Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Flynn, Paul
Hood, Jimmy Tellers for the Ayes:
Howells, Geraint Mr. James Wallace, Mr. Archy Kirkwood.
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Chope, Christopher
Amess, David Churchill, Mr
Arbuthnot, James Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Ashby, David Cran, James
Atkins, Robert Critchley, Julian
Baldry, Tony Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Batiste, Spencer Day, Stephen
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Devlin, Tim
Bellingham, Henry Dorrell, Stephen
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Benyon, W. Dover, Den
Bevan, David Gilroy Dunn, Bob
Boscawen, Hon Robert Durant, Tony
Boswell, Tim Emery, Sir Peter
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Evennett, David
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Fallon, Michael
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Fookes, Dame Janet
Brazier, Julian Forman, Nigel
Bright, Graham Forth, Eric
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Fox, Sir Marcus
Browne, John (Winchester) Freeman, Roger
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) French, Douglas
Burt, Alistair Fry, Peter
Butcher, John Gale, Roger
Butler, Chris Garel-Jones, Tristan
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Glyn, Dr Sir Alan
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Goodlad, Alastair
Carrington, Matthew Gorst, John
Cash, William Gow, Ian
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Chapman, Sydney Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Gregory, Conal Nicholls, Patrick
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Ground, Patrick Norris, Steve
Hague, William Paice, James
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hanley, Jeremy Porter, David (Waveney)
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Harris, David Riddick, Graham
Hayward, Robert Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Heathcoat-Amory, David Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Hill, James Roe, Mrs Marion
Hind, Kenneth Ryder, Richard
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Sackville, Hon Tom
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Sayeed, Jonathan
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Shaw, David (Dover)
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Hunter, Andrew Shelton, Sir William
Irvine, Michael Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Irving, Sir Charles Shersby, Michael
Jack, Michael Sims, Roger
Janman, Tim Skeet, Sir Trevor
Jessel, Toby Speed, Keith
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Speller, Tony
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Stanbrook, Ivor
Key, Robert Steen, Anthony
Kilfedder, James Stern, Michael
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Stevens, Lewis
Kirkhope, Timothy Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Knapman, Roger Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Sumberg, David
Knowles, Michael Summerson, Hugo
Lawrence, Ivan Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Lee, John (Pendle) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Lightbown, David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Lilley, Peter Trippier, David
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Trotter, Neville
Lord, Michael Twinn, Dr Ian
McCrindle, Robert Viggers, Peter
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Walden, George
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Waller, Gary
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
McLoughlin, Patrick Watts, John
Malins, Humfrey Wells, Bowen
Mans, Keith Wheeler, Sir John
Maples, John Widdecombe, Ann
Marland, Paul Winterton, Mrs Ann
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Wood, Timothy
Mates, Michael Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Maude, Hon Francis Young, Sir George (Acton)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Meyer, Sir Anthony Tellers for the Noes:
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Mr. Nicholas Baker and Mr. Irvine Patnick.
Nelson, Anthony

Question accordingly negatived.

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