HC Deb 20 May 2004 vol 421 cc1094-5
15. Andrew Selous (South-West Bedfordshire) (Con)

If she will make a statement on her policy on fly-tipping and waste disposal. [174416]

The Minister for the Environment and Agri-environment (Mr. Elliot Morley)

The Government are determined to tackle fly-tipping. We issued a wide-ranging strategy for consultation in February. The consultation period closed on 14 May and responses are currently being collated. The Government's policy on waste disposal is set out in "Waste Strategy 2000". A number of actions are also being taken forward as a result of recommendations in the 2002 strategy unit report, "Waste Not, Want not".

Andrew Selous

Does the Minister recognise that there is a fundamental contradiction between his waste disposal policy and his anti-fly-tipping policy? In particular, should not small building or garden maintenance firms be allowed to take their waste to tidy tips? If we cannot differentiate between an ICI and a small business, we have got the policy wrong. In addition, will not limiting householders to a permit for one item per month significantly increase fly-tipping throughout the country?

Mr. Morley

I think that the hon. Gentleman's point relates to a decision by his local authority in respect of its disposal sites. It is entirely up to local authorities to decide what to do in respect of their own sites and how to apply such decisions. If local authorities feel that there is an issue of trade waste, it is not unreasonable to have a charge in that respect. The matters of strategy that the hon. Gentleman raises are for local councils to decide.

Sue Doughty (Guildford) (LD)

The ban on co-disposal of hazardous waste in landfill sites becomes operational this year. The industry says that few facilities will be available to deal with that waste. What will the Government do to prevent fly-tipping resulting from their inability to implement effective solutions in response to legislation that was in place in 1999?

Mr. Morley

Let me update the hon. Lady. There are about 30 applications for separate cells for the disposal of hazardous waste, and that number does not include in-house sites. We take fly-tipping seriously, which is why we have given local authorities new powers, for example, to stop, search and confiscate vehicles. We are also considering the way in which the legislation works and how to disseminate information. We are prepared to bring in further measures and to examine the level of fines, if there is a case for doing so. We are not complacent—we are dealing with these issues on a wide front, in relation to our overall waste strategies.