HL Deb 19 June 1990 vol 520 cc735-800

3.20 p.m.

Lord Hesketh

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Hesketh.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 1: Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause:—

("Presumption against pollution

.—(1) This Part shall have effect for the purpose of preventing or reducing pollution of the environment. (2) Any person who carries on a process which is, by means of regulations made under section 2 below, a prescribed process, shall prevent the occurrence of pollution from that process except to the extent that such pollution is made the subject of an authorisation issued by the enforcing authority and in accordance with conditions attached to such an authorisation under subsection (3) and section 7 below. (3) No enforcing authority shall issue an authorisation under this Part unless it is satisfied that—

  1. (a) techniques exist to prevent the release of polluting substances into the environment from the process concerned, and the applicant has demonstrated that he has or is making use of them to secure such prevention; or
  2. (b) where no such techniques to prevent pollution as are referred to in paragraph (a) above exist, or where they are available only at unreasonable levels of cost, that techniques exist to reduce the release of polluting substances into the environment and the applicant has demonstrated that he has used or is using them to the fullest extent practicable; or
  3. (c) where no such techniques for the reduction of pollution as are referred to in paragraph (b) above are available at other than unreasonable levels of cost, that adequate arrangements have been agreed with the enforcing authority for the progressive reduction of pollution over such period as the enforcing authority may determine.
(4) In any case where the enforcing authority is not satisfied that reductions have not been achieved under subsection 3(c) above, the enforcing authority may specify a date by which the process concerned shall cease. (5) For the purposes of this Part, the determination of "unreasonable cost" in relation to any process shall be made by the enforcing authority, subject to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State".

The noble Lords said: With the usual necessary pause to allow the Committee to assume the membership which noble Lords consider appropriate, I rise to move Amendment No. 1 standing in my name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Addington.

Those noble Lords who were present at the very lengthy Second Reading—in fact, the lengthiest Second Reading which has taken place on a Friday for some time—will recall that noble Lords on all sides of the House, not just from these Benches, expressed admiration for the motivation behind the Bill and support for the general objectives expressed in the Bill but considerable disquiet about the means available to the Government, to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution and to the local authorities—which after all are the environmental protection agency and have been for many years—about the difficulty of making the Bill effective to cover the wide range of sources of pollution and potential pollution which afflict our country.

In all their discussions of environmental pollution the Government pay a great deal of attention to the phrase which has now become a sort of chant—the polluter pays principle. In moving this amendment I suggest that there are many ways in which what appears to be the simplicity of the polluter pays principle is inadequate for the problems that face us and that the provisions of this new clause will go a considerable way—by no means the whole way, because there are many other amendments to be considered—towards dealing with the inadequacy of that definition and putting forward a more positive and, I believe, more effective approach to the issue of pollution control.

First, the problem with the polluter pays principle, if it is interpreted in the wrong way and too narrowly, is that it does not in itself reduce pollution but simply enables some people, but not all people, to afford to continue with pollution. For example, in the United States it enables those who can afford to trade for exemption simply to treat the right to pollute as a business overhead rather than as an incentive to the reduction of pollution.

Secondly, there is always the temptation when a principle is stated as baldly as the polluter pays principle has been—indeed, as ambiguously as it is sometimes stated—that it will lead not to a progressive improvement in standards of pollution control but rather to the achievement, but no more, of minimum standards of pollution control as laid down in legislation or regulations.

Thirdly, there is the problem that what is described in the Bill as "integrated pollution control" is in fact very far from being integrated pollution control. What the Bill does is to prescribe approximately 3,500 industrial processes which are undertaken according to the terms of the Bill by larger industrial organisations and companies that may be thought to be those who are engendering pollution. It deals with those prescribed processes, both a limited number of processes and a limited number of polluters.

All the processes and activities which fall outside the prescribed process definition are not covered by the principal provisions of Part I of the Bill, which deals with integrated pollution control. To that extent, therefore, the reality of the Bill is very far from the way in which it tends to be introduced by more incautious and enthusiastic supporters of the Government and those perhaps with less knowledge of the detail of the legislation who seek to persuade the people of this country that the Government are taking major steps towards effective control over the whole range of pollution which faces us.

Fourthly, the definition of what pollution is acceptable is profoundly defective because the standard introduced in the Bill, which is used in many cases and to which we shall return on later amendments, is the standard of the best available technology not involving excessive cost. We shall see as we go through this Bill that almost every single word in that definition can be subject to misinterpretation and, most important, to misinterpretation on the side of doing as little as possible rather than providing effective pollution control.

The conclusion that we therefore come to from all these limitations on the very high and noble principles with which the Bill has been introduced and in which the Bill is described is that we need to have something more effective. We need to have a presumption against pollution. That presumption against pollution is not a new idea; it is an idea that has been accepted on many occasions when we have been debating the wider issues of global pollution. In the course of this Session we have had a number of very remarkable debates, usually on the reports of Select Committees of your Lordships' House which have referred to matters such as global warming, the ozone layer, the problems of chlorofluorocarbons and to many of the other global issues of pollution.

The constant refrain heard from all sides of this Chamber—indeed, on occasion it has been reflected not just from the Government Benches but from the Government Front Bench—has been that we cannot afford to have it proved that something is causing dangerous pollution before we take any action. In other words, we must adopt a presumption against pollution and we must make it necessary for those who wish to pollute, who are in danger of polluting or who find themselves, as they think, unable to avoid polluting to contract out of the preventive arrangements rather than that there should be an obligation on the Government, the inspectorate and local authorities to contract them into the controls.

For that reason we take the view, particularly in subsection (3) of the new clause, that there should be a progressive means of dealing with the pollution problem. We say in subsection (3), No enforcing authority shall issue an authorisation … unless it is satisfied that … techniques exist to prevent the release of polluting substances", and that they are actually being used. Then as a fallback we say that if there are no such techniques to prevent pollution, or where those techniques are available only at unreasonable levels of cost, the provision which prescribes the need to reduce the release of polluting substances comes into play. The applicant, in order to be allowed to continue with the pollution, has to demonstrate that he has used or is using them to the fullest extent practicable.

It if is not possible to devise techniques for the reduction of pollution as set out in subsection (3)(b)—and this is perhaps the third best alternative—subsection (3)(c) provides, that adequate arrangements have been agreed with the enforcing authority for the progressive reduction of pollution over such period as the enforcing authority may determine".

In other words, it should not be enough for the polluter to say, "I cannot get rid of this pollution except at excessive cost". It should not be enough for him to have the fallback position of being able to say, "I cannot reduce the pollution except at excessive cost". He has to reach an agreement with the authorities that, even if there is no way of dealing with the problem now, there will be a way of doing so within a finite time. In subsection (4) we say: In any case where the enforcing authority is not satisfied", with the reductions over a period of time, under subsection (3)(c) above, the enforcing authority may specify a date by which the process concerned shall cease".

I do not think it will be said that that is an overpowering exercise of governmental authority. The requirement that government shall demand that pollution shall be put an end to only follows at the end of a very significant process of negotiation, technical discussion and discussion about the economic feasibility of reducing pollution between the enforcement authority and the polluter or putative polluter.

I think that Members of the Committee who are particularly involved in business on a large scale will welcome that process. They would not wish a rigid set of standards to be imposed, for there to be no opportunity for debate, discussion and negotiation, and for there to be a deadline imposed without further consultation. When considering the EC deadlines some Members of the Committee felt that it was unreasonable for those deadlines for the improvement of the quality of our drinking water, for example, to be imposed without negotiation directly with those who are responsible for the maintenance of standards of drinking water. I do not think that at the time I agreed with that argument, but I appreciate how the necessity for full consultation and negotiation can be argued in favour of abatement of the more rigid and expensive requirements.

That is not what this clause does. It establishes a principle which allows negotiations to take place and which encourages them to take place. This new clause pays due respect to economic necessity and yet in the end it suggests a process for establishing a presumption against pollution which, in our view, is going to be significantly more effective than the provisions so far laid down in this Bill. In this amendment we are giving effect to the Government's wishes rather than to the way in which the Bill has been drafted. I beg to move

3.30 p.m.

Lord Addington

I support this amendment to which my name is attached. The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, has given a very good description of the amendment and of its aims. Ultimately, the idea that the polluter pays—an expression which I and many others have bandied about—is one which must be interpreted. It cannot refer just to economic and financial costs because there are more than those costs directly involved. There must be a point at which we say, "You have got to stop what you are doing". Some measures have to be adopted to make sure that the right technical steps are taken so that the situation does not continue.

I recommend that the Committee considers this amendment very clearly as the kind of action that we must take concerning the whole issue of the environment. We should take steps towards creating cleaner industrial processes. We should involve the Government in the creation of such processes.

Lord Hesketh

I am pleased that we can begin our Committee proceedings on this Bill in complete agreement in that this part of the Bill should be a waste minimisation measure. That is the purpose of the new clause tabled by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. It is also a major purpose of Clause 7 of the Bill. Both the noble Lord and I wish to see available techniques used to prevent pollution; both the noble Lord and I wish to require the applicant to show that he will make use of such techniques to prevent or reduce pollution; both the noble Lord and I agree that guidance on costs related to techniques will be necessary; and both the noble Lord and I agree that in some cases the enforcing authority may revoke an authorisation.

I am sure that the Committee will be delighted at this outbreak of mutual understanding. But I have one minor and one major criticism to make of the new clause. First, there is an implication in subsection (2) that an authorisation is a licence to pollute. It states that pollution shall be prevented except to the extent that it is made the subject of an authorisation. That, to my mind, is the wrong way of looking at an authorisation. I prefer the Bill's structure whereby the authorisation sets out the requirements to which an operator must adhere. Those requirements may set out specific requirements to prevent or minimise pollution.

The noble Lord and I are agreed that the first aim should be to prevent pollution. If that is not practical, we recognise that a second stage must follow. The noble Lord suggests in subsection (3) of the new clause that the reduction of pollution is the answer. But the Bill, in Clause 7, calls for the minimisation of the most polluting substances. It additionally requires all releases of substances to be rendered harmless. Clause 7 of the Bill also includes the first objective of the best practicable environmental option, first recommended by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, so that pollution of the environment as a whole is also minimised. I am sure the Committee will agree that if this part of the Bill should concern itself with waste minimisation, Clause 7 is a most satisfactory model.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, in his siren song at the start of the debate on this amendment mentioned a number of points, two of which I shall quickly pass over. He referred to 3,000 to 3,500 prescribed places that will be covered by IPC.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I said "processes".

Lord Hesketh

I apologise. The fact is that the number is about 5,000. It is also important to remember that in Part I of the Bill there is a very great number of further prescribed processes that are covered by local authorities' air control. They may not be as great but in certain areas many consider them to be important. The noble Lord also made reference to the trade in permits in the United States of America. That may be the case there but it will certainly not be the case here. It is for those reasons that I feel that, though the noble Lord's amendment is admirable, it is resistible.

Lord Clinton-Davis

Am I not correct in thinking that in regard to the 3,000 or 4,000 cases my noble friend Lord McIntosh was referring to major processes as distinct from the point made by the Minister? The main question I put to the noble Lord in this brief intervention is this: have not the Government elected to rely on deterrents rather than incentives? One wonders what happened to the recommendations of Professor Pearce in relation to the Government's approach. Not so very long ago we were led to suppose that incentives to provide cleaner production which was environmentally friendly was something that the Government were likely to adhere to in the future. What has happened to that approach?

Turning to the penalties themselves, my anxiety is that it is extremely improbable that the courts will impose the maximum penalties referred to in the Bill. Even if they do, I think that imprisonment is extremely unlikely, For example, if a major enterprise of the size of ICI comes before the courts, as has happened in the past, it is unlikely that the courts will impose tremendously draconian penalties—at least, draconian in the terms of the size of the enterprise. It is extremely unlikely that the directors or members of the board will be subject to imprisonment. Although I do not oppose that aspect being in the Bill, I feel that it is a little illusory if we really think of it as creating an effective deterrent in any event.

We know from the powers possessed by the courts at the present time that the penalties imposed in the past were far less than draconian. Indeed, there is an unevenness about penalties imposed for environmental offences. I suppose it might be said that that is part of the way in which we administer justice in this country because there are no guidelines that would have the effect of creating an evenness of penalty—there is a case for arguing that—but I wonder whether the Government have abandoned the far more positive approach which we were led to expect might occur when Professor Pearce intervened on this scene as the adviser to the Secretary of State not so very long ago. It is to that point that I ask the Minister to direct his reply.

Lord Hesketh

It is true to say that if the Government had produced a Bill which relied entirely on incentives I would be receiving a great weight and torrent of abuse at this Dispatch Box. On matters of such importance as pollution, deterrence has to have its role to play. Incentives may well develop in the future. Indeed, as the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, is well aware, a White Paper on the environment is at this moment under consideration.

With regard to the courts, fines will be increased to the extent that the magistrates' courts will now be able to fine up to £20,000. The noble Lord raised the aspect of whether or not a conviction might result in imprisonment. If the power is there, that will be a decision and judgment for the courts themselves, which is entirely right and proper.

Lord Renton

The question we have to consider in relation to limiting polluting processes is whether the product of the process is in the public interest and is necessary. There are probably some polluting processes which could and should be eliminated altogether at the first opportunity. Nothing in the noble Lord's amendment deals with that point.

I have been looking at Clauses 3 and 7, to which my noble friend the Minister referred. At first sight the word "objectives" might seem to cover the point which I have tried to make. But in Clause 7 the word "objectives" is used rather differently. It is used in relation to the method by which the pollution will be limited or the process controlled rather than in relation to the outcome and product of the process. Subject to anything that my noble friend may say, it seems at first sight that the amendment does not deal with this point. I would be happy to learn that the Bill does so.

Lord Hesketh

Products are in a sense slightly different from processes. I can best illustrate that to my noble friend by giving the example of the Montreal Convention on CFCs. The objective of the Montreal Convention in the longer term is the abolition of CFCs—in other words, the complete removal from our planet of an objectionable material. The Government take the view—and this can also be seen in our proposals for the future levels of emissions from power stations—that materials which are as objectionable as my noble friend Lord Renton suggests should be removed from the planet and not just from this country; otherwise we would not achieve the objective.

3.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

As always, the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Renton, was very helpful. He has elicited an answer from the Minister which makes it clear that the Government do not propose to follow the line proposed in my amendment. I should like to draw the Minister's attention to subsection (4) of the amendment which states that after a reasonable process of negotiation the enforcing authority, may specify a date by which the process concerned shall cease". There is a distinction there, not so much between incentives and deterrents but between two different forms of deterrent. Everyone agrees that there should be incentives to reduce or eliminate pollution—that is common ground—but there are two kinds of deterrents, as my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis made clear. The first is to fine those who create pollution. That runs the risk, as I said at the outset, of allowing pollution to become a business overhead. The fine will be accepted as part of the cost of running the operation, whether or not the operation is essential—a point to which we shall come in later amendments. But the effect of the fine will be that, for those who can afford to pay it, pollution will not cease.

The other form of deterrent is that proposed in our amendment. It is the deterrent of requiring that the process shall cease. Amendment No. 128, to which I should have referred as it is grouped with Amendment No. 1, provides that contravention of the new clause shall be an offence. I apologise to the Committee for not referring to it. In Amendment No. 128 we have the second and necessary element of deterrence—the element which requires that pollution shall cease.

In his response the Minister anticipated some later amendments. It is always a temptation when dealing with the first amendment to a complex Bill to bring forward all the arguments at the beginning of the discussion. I tried hard not to do so and I tried hard not to anticipate amendments which I and noble Lords on all sides of the Committee have put down for later debate. I tried to concentrate on one issue—the presumption against pollution.

It was interesting and worth while to have the statement from the Minister that this country will not—and presumably under the White Paper will not—move in the direction of traded permits to pollute. That is a considerable change. So far as I know, there was no indication that that was not part of future government policy. I am glad to have it confirmed by the Minister that it is not and will not be part of government policy.

The second part of the Minister's answer, in which he referred to Clause 7, does not hold water. It is not enough to say that a clause which deals with conditions of authorisation puts, as the Bill ought to do, the ball in the court of the polluter, the putative polluter or the potential polluter. Of course when matters are drawn to the notice of the authorities there will be authorisations. We are not proposing to take Clause 7 out of the Bill. But what is required is that major causes of pollution should not be, through defects in definition and through sloppy thinking—there is a good deal of sloppy thinking going around here—outwith the scope of the Bill. For that reason I believe that we must insist on attempting to put the presumption against pollution on the face of the Bill to ensure that it achieves the high objectives which we all have in mind for it.

Lord Renton

Before the noble Lord sits down, I think that he would be wise in his own interest if he were to clarify his point. He referred to subsection (4) of the amendment and said that it means that a polluting process, the product of which is not needed by the public, shall no longer take place. Subsection (4) is based upon the assumption that a polluting process may by the procedure set out in the amendment be brought to an end eventually by specifying a date. However, the trouble is that the noble Lord has not dealt with the point that a polluting process that produces a product which it cannot be in the public interest to produce shall, nevertheless, be brought to an end at once. That is what ought to happen. Having listened to my noble friend and looked at the powers in the Bill, it seems to me that we were much more likely to achieve that objective without subsection (4) of the amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The noble Lord has, unusually, failed to recognise the thrust of the argument in the amendment. Although he is right in saying that subsection (4) deals with the case where a timetable has to be set for the cessation of pollution, because there has been no other way of doing this subsection (3)(c) in turn depends upon subsection (3)(b), and that depends in turn upon subsection (3)(a). In other words, we have looked for immediate prevention. We are only going for a reduction when prevention has proved impossible, and we are only going for reduction over a period of time when immediate reduction has proved impossible. To that extent of course cessation by subsection (4) is a last resort, but there is already provision for the application of prevention in subsection (3)(a). That is what the amendment seeks to achieve. I think that that objective is in line with what the noble Lord seeks to achieve.

Baroness Nicol

I have but one small point to make. I apologise if I am wrong in this, but there appears to be a double negative in subsection (4) of the amendment. It says: In any case where the enforcing authority is not satisfied that reductions have not been achieved". I wonder whether the wording was intended to read that way.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The double negative is not in my draft. In fact I had not noticed it in the printed version of the amendment and I am most grateful to my noble friend for drawing our attention to that point. It was not contained in the original wording we set out for the amendment.

Lord Crickhowell

I had not intended to intervene in the debate but, as the noble Lord has indicated that he will be pressing this amendment, I feel that I must do so. While listening to the discussion, I have been asking myself whether his amendment actually adds anything to the powers available to regulators which is not already there. I do not believe that it does, although I may be missing something. Clause 3 deals with the establishment of standards and objectives. If we take, for example, the case of the National Rivers Authority—of which noble Lords will know I am chairman—it is one of its duties over a period of time to establish objectives for river quality standards. Thereafter, having set those objectives, it has a duty to issue discharge consents in order that they may be achieved or to issue discharge consents—this would meet the point made in the noble Lord's amendment—in order to achieve reductions over a period of time.

I am not convinced by what I have heard so far that anything in the proposed amendment enables the National Rivers Authority and other regulators to do anything that they are not already empowered to do by the Bill as it stands.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am extremely grateful for the noble Lord's intervention because it enables me to say yes, the precautions which were taken when the Water Act was being considered last year achieve for the National Rivers Authority in its sphere of operation exactly what we are trying to achieve here. However, the problem is that other forms of pollution, especially air pollution with which Part I of the Bill is largely concerned, are not covered by the same provisions which regulate the pollution prevention activities of the National Rivers Authority. It is precisely because we want similar provisions to apply to other forms of pollution that we have proposed this amendment. It does not in any way derogate from the responsibilities of the NRA.

Lord Crickhowell

I agree that there are powers specifically written into the Water Act regarding the establishment of standards and objectives. However, as I read the Bill, Clause 3 enables the Secretary of State to make regulations, and not just regulations confined to water. It is true that the NRA will be able to write its conditions into the conditions issued to achieve the objectives set out here so far as concerns water. But what I am a little puzzled about—I ask this question out of a genuine sense of wanting to know what would be achieved by the noble Lord's objective—is why his objective cannot be achieved perfectly satisfactorily under the present wording of Clause 3.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The answer is that Clause 3, like all other clauses in this part of the Bill, is subject to the preliminary provisions contained in Clause 1. The definitions of environment, harm, health, process and so on restrict and restrain the full application of Clauses 3 and 7 and many other admirable clauses.

Perhaps I may take one example and draw the noble Lord's attention to Clause 1(5), which says: 'Process' means any activities carried on in Great Britain, whether on premises or by means of mobile plant, which are capable of causing pollution of the environment". "Prescribed process" is then defined in Clause 2. Clause 2 is defined by regulation. In his response to the first introduction to this amendment the Minister said that the number of processes which are expected to be prescribed is of the order of 5,000 rather than the 3,000 to 4,000 which I anticipated. I am delighted to have this increase, but I think that the noble Lord, and, indeed, all other noble Lords, will acknowledge that the prescription of approximately 5,000 processes for a restricted number of potential polluters is not the same as the very extensive powers which the National Rivers Authority has in order to deal with all the potential polluters of drinking water and of the rivers.

Lord Crickhowell

I am sorry to intervene yet again, but one of the matters of concern which arose while we were working out the relationship between the National Rivers Authority and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution was the fact that the overwhelming majority of industrial processes are covered. Indeed, we calculate that probably over 80 per cent. are covered. Of course it is always open to the Secretary of State to add to that list. I remain as unconvinced as I was earlier about the need for the noble Lord's amendment in order to achieve the objectives which I think we both share.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Clearly I am not going to convince the noble Lord. However, I say to him specifically that I have never doubted that the procedures which the National Rivers Authority will be using in order to fit its existing powers into the context of the Bill will be perfectly easy to achieve. I have never doubted the fact that there is no conflict between the NRA's powers and those given under the provisions of the Bill. That was not in any way a part of my argument. My argument is that there are many factors outwith the sphere of the NRA's responsibility which are still inadequately covered by the Bill.

The Lord said that 80 per cent. of the major industrial processes are included in the list, and he is right in saying that there is the opportunity to add to that list. However, unless the presumption is that pollution has to be drawn to the attention of the authorities and authorised rather than that the authorities should have to seek it out, and unless the provision is that a deterrent is achieved by prohibition, as well as by a financial penalty, then the Bill's full objectives will not be achieved. It is on that basis that I seek the opinion of the Committee.

4 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 93; Not-Contents, 139.

Addington, L. Listowel, E.
Airedale, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Ardwick, L.
Aylestone, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.
Birk, B. Lockwood, B.
Blackstone, B. Longford, E.
Bonham-Carter, L. Lovell-Davis, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. McCarthy, L.
Bottomley, L. McGregor of Durris, L.
Broadbridge, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. McNair, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. Mason of Barnsley, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Carter, L. Monson, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. Morris of Kenwood, L.
David, B. Nicol, B.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Northfield, L.
Diamond, L. Ogmore, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Oram, L.
Dormand of Easington, L. Parry, L.
Ennals, L. Peston, L.
Ewart-Biggs, B. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Ezra, L. Ritchie of Dundee, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Robson of Kiddington, B.
Foot, L. Rochester, L.
Gallacher, L. Ross of Newport, L.
Galpern, L. Russell, E.
Gladwyn, L. Sainsbury, L.
Glenamara, L. Scanlon, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.] Serota, B.
Shackleton, L.
Grey, E. Stallard, L.
Hampton, L. Stedman, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Hatch of Lusby, L. Strabolgi, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Tordoff, L. [Teller.]
Howie of Troon, L. Turner of Camden, B.
Hunt, L Wallace of Coslany, L.
Jay, L. Walston, L.
Jeger, B. Whaddon, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L. White, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Wigoder, L.
John-Mackie, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Kirkhill, L. Winstanley, L.
Leatherland, L. Zuckerman, L.
Ailesbury, M. Killearn, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L. Kimball, L.
Allerton, L. King of Wartnaby, L.
Alport, L. Kings Norton, L.
Ampthill, L. Kinnaird, L.
Annaly, L. Kitchener, E.
Annan, L. Knights, L.
Arran, E. Lauderdale, E.
Auckland, L. Liverpool, E.
Balfour, E. Lloyd of Hampstead, L.
Beloff, L. Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.
Belstead, L. Long, V.
Bessborough, E. Lovat, L.
Blatch, B. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Boardman, L. Luke, L.
Borthwick, L. Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Brain, L. Mancroft, L.
Brigstocke, B. Melville, V.
Burton, L. Merrivale, L.
Butterworth, L. Mersey, V.
Buxton of Alsa, L. Morris, L.
Caithness, E. Mottistone, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Mountevans, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Carnock, L. Munster, E.
Carr of Hadley, L. Nathan, L.
Cavendish of Furness, L. Nelson, E.
Cawley, L. Norrie, L.
Clanwilliam, E. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Cockfield, L. Onslow, E.
Cottesloe, L. Orkney, E.
Cox, B. Orr-Ewing, L.
Craigton, L. Oxfuird, V.
Crickhowell, L. Porritt, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Quinton, L.
Cumberlege, B. Radnor, E.
Dacre of Glanton, L. Rankeillour, L.
Davidson, V. [Teller.] Reay, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Renton, L.
Dulverton, L. Rodney, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Eden of Winton, L. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Effingham, E. Seebohm, L.
Ellenborough, L. Shannon, E.
Elles, B. Sharples, B.
Elliot of Harwood, B. Shaughnessy, L.
Faithfull, B. Skelmersdale, L.
Foley, L. Slim, V.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L. Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Gainford, L.
Gibson, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Gisborough, L. Strange, B.
Grantchester, L. Strathclyde, L.
Greenhill of Harrow, L. Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Gridley, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Strathspey, L.
Swinton, E.
Halsbury, E. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Havers, L. Trefgarne, L.
Hayter, L. Trumpington, B.
Henley, L. Ullswater, V.
Hesketh, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Hives, L. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Home of the Hirsel, L. Walton of Detchant, L.
Hood, V. Wedgwood, L.
Hooper, B. Westbury, L.
Howe, E. Whitelaw, V.
Hunter of Newington, L. Windlesham, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Wynford, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L. Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

4.9 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 2: Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause:

("Environmental Protection Executive

.—(1) The Secretary of State may by order transfer such of his functions under this Act as he considers appropriate, including any of the functions specified in subsection (3) below which are vested in him under this Act, to any body etablished in accordance with subsection (2) below.

(2) The Secretary of State may by order establish an Environmental Protection Executive with a regional structure corresponding in area to any regional authorities established in England, Scotland and Wales.

(3) The functions of any body established under this section may by order made by the Secretary of State include—

  1. (a) the promotion of preventive measures against pollution, and for the promotion of clean technologies and the development of integrated pollution control generally;
  2. (b) the prescription of processes falling within national control in accordance with the provisions of Part I of this Act;
  3. (c) the issuing of advice as to best practice in the management of waste, including hazardous waste, in accordance with the provisions of Part II below;
  4. (d) the promotion of recycling and the reduction of waste;
  5. (e) the monitoring of national standards as to pollution, waste management, statutory nuisance, litter and substances and organisms falling within Parts V and VI below;
  6. (f) the promotion with local authorities of Environmental Impact Analysis in planning matters;
  7. (g) the undertaking of long-term research on environmental and ecological matters;
  8. (h) the promotion of public education as to environmental matters, where appropriate in liaison with local education authorities;
  9. (i) the co-ordination of improvements to the environment in inner city areas, including the reclamation of urban land;
  10. (j) the exercise on behalf of the Secretary of State of functions under sections 130 or 131 in relation to toxic waste;
  11. (k) the monitoring of activities connected with dumping at sea as referred to in section 133 below;
  12. (l) the provision of advice and recommendations as to financial assistance for environmental purposes in accordance with section 136 below; and
  13. (m) the promotion of international co-operation on environmental measures and the dissemination of best practice.

(4) The Executive shall have such a membership as appears to the Secretary of State to be representative of organisations concerned with environmental, scientific and conservation matters, and of local authorities.").

The noble Lord said: With Amendment No. 2 which is also a new clause before Clause 1, we raise for the first time, but not I fear for the last, one of the major themes of our concern about the effectiveness of this laudable Bill; that is, whether we have the organisational structure fit to meet the demands which the public will increasingly make for an improved, pollution-free environment, and whether we have the relationship right between the organisational structure at central government level and local government level.

Nothing that I say should be taken as in any way a criticism of Her Majestry's Inspectorate of Pollution. It has never been my policy, in dealing with legislation in this House, to do anything other than attack the Government; never the Government's servants. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution has had an extraordinarily difficult task over the years. It has dealt with increasing demands for a better environment, an increasing number of processes which are damaging to the environment, and an inceasing number of circumstances in which higher standards are required. Yet there has been a failure to provide the resources to achieve its objectives.

We understand from government Statements and from the memorandum at the front of the Bill that it is proposed to strengthen further Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution. We welcome that, but I do not think that it is enough to deal with the fundamental hole which exists in the Bill. There is lack of a single, central government body, not reporting to a single Secretary of State but responsible—as is the Health and Safety Executive—for advising government as a whole and for acting on behalf of government as a whole.

Members of the Committee who were present when the noble Earl, Lord Cranbrook, introduced his Environment Protection Bill, earlier in the Session will have heard the argument for a body analogous to the Health and Safety Executive effectively put forward. The noble Earl drafted an entire Bill. I give him credit for that; it is not something that I could have done. The functions of the Health and Safety Executive, which is not responsible to a single department of state, were applied to the process of pollution control. Unfortunately—and it was entirely his privilege—the noble Earl felt it right not to proceed with the Second Reading of his Bill. I have no doubt that if he were able to be here today he would take an active part in your Lordships' Committee. He still feels, I know, that the analogy of the Health and Safety Executive—a body independent of a single Ministry yet with the full range of functions necessary for environmental protection—should have been put forward in the Bill.

The second analogy that I would like to draw, having referred to the Bill of the noble Earl, Lord Cranbrook, follows a suggestion of the noble Earl, Lord Shannon, who recently in your Lordships' House put forward the case for a national environmental waste standards council. The council would specifically have the responsibility of controlling the waste disposal activities of companies and would also have responsibility for recycling and the efficient disposal of waste. I understand that the noble Earl proposes to put down amendments for later consideration by the Committee. However, if he were present he would agree—and I have discussed the matter with him—that the amendments before the Committee are on similar lines.

What are the functions which a national environmental protection executive could undertake? In our amendment we have largely taken the functions from the Bill itself. The functions are those of monitoring, of environmental impact analysis, and of research. They are not specifically referred to in the Bill; they will have to be added afterwards. Subsection (3) of the new clause takes a number of the functions in Parts I, II, IV, V and VI which the Government recognise as being proper subjects for inclusion in the Bill.

We add the requirement that the environmental protection executive should be independent of a single department; that it should have the responsibility for monitoring progress towards an improved environment; that it should have the central responsibility for environmental impact analysis; that it should have responsibility for research and education; and that it should have responsibility for ensuring international co-operation on environmental protection matters.

There is nothing more important than for us to recognise the close links between the need to improve the environment in this country, locally and nationally, and the need to improve it internationally. It is no longer possible to say—as it perhaps was a few years ago—that they are two separate issues to be dealt with in entirely separate ways. The two are closely linked. Our actions on transport policy and energy conservation as well as our policies on emissions from energy generation have a local and national impact. However, equally they have a global impact. It is necessary for those with the responsibility for local environmental protection to have regard to the international framework.

Amendment No. 3, to which the noble Lord, Lord Addington, has added his name and which I suggest should be taken with Amendment No. 2, deals with the other part of the protection which we believe to be necessary—that is, the role of local authorities. As has been said on many occasions, local authorities are the environmental protection agency in this country and have been for 150 years. There are many respects in which the Bill provides, very properly, for collaboration between Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution and the local environmental health officers. All that is entirely proper.

What is not clear is where the functions of one and the functions of another lie; what the division is between policy and a national plan for environmental protection and the day-to-day leg work—the local enforcement. There is no clear and concise definition of the role of local authorities in environmental protection, even though they are in existence as the most effective local environmental protection network in the country.

We say in the amendment that if these two bodies are to work and to co-ordinate effectively, if there is to be a national body with overall responsibility to all of government, covering the activities of all government departments, then it must work effectively with the local authorities. The local authorities must have an explicit area of responsibility which is properly defined and for which proper resources are available.

I do not wish to anticipate later amendments about the role of local authorities. I certainly do not wish to deal now with the issue of resources which will permeate our debates in Committee. I suggest to your Lordships that without this kind of framework it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the Bill's objectives. I beg to move.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, does not appear to realise that there is a basic contradiction between the terms of his amendment and at any rate one of the observations that he made in moving it. He said, very properly, that on public issues of this kind his policy was not to attack outside bodies, organisations or people but to attack the Government. That seems to me wholly the right approach. I do not know whether the noble Lord has appreciated what would be the effect of carrying into law the amendment which he has just moved. The amendment states: The Secretary of State may by order transfer such of his functions … as he considers appropriate … to any body established in accordance with subsection (2) below". It is a common experience that when functions have been transferred from a Minister to an outside body created by statute, the Minister is neither liable nor indeed able to answer questions about the working of that organisation. There is a certain analogy with the nationalised industries, in respect of which, as the Committee knows, our rules of procedure have recently been tightened up. As I read the amendment it seems clear to me that if the Secretary of State, perhaps for that very reason, were cunningly to transfer all his functions under this Bill—they are listed at great length in the amendment—to the environmental protection executive, that would largely rule out any parliamentary criticism or indeed any parliamentary control.

This is far too important a matter to be shunted out of Whitehall and therefore shunted out of the survey of Parliament. For that reason alone, apart from anything else, I find this amendment most objectionable. It would be ridiculous, in view of the public interest that there now rightly is in environmental matters, if Parliament were to push the whole matter off to an outside statutory body without any direct responsibility to Parliament for its actions. It is perfectly true that ultimately if such a body committed outrageous actions, the Secretary of State could either withdraw the functions he had conferred upon it or sack the individuals concerned. However, that is an extreme step which all Secretaries of State would be unwilling to take. Meanwhile we would have to face the fact that on this extremely important public issue both Houses of Parliament were virtually powerless. I hope therefore that the noble Lord will decide to back what he said in his speech rather than the amendment which he has moved.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I must respond to that immediately. That was a vintage intervention from the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter. I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Crickhowell, is still in his place because what we are proposing here is exactly what occurred with the National Rivers Authority under the terms of the Water Act. The National Rivers Authority exercises functions assigned to it by the Secretary of State in exactly the same way as proposed in this amendment. I did not hear the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, object to the establishment of the National Rivers Authority on the grounds that he has just argued, which are that to assign the functions of the Secretary of State to a body which is not under his direct control and which performs functions which he specifies by order is somehow a derogation from democracy or from the rights of Parliament. The noble Lord may be tempted to respond but I hope he will first let me finish my argument.

As I made clear in introducing the proposed new clause, apart from the case of the National Rivers Authority there is a clear analogy with the functions of the Health and Safety Executive which was established under the 1974 Act in much the same way. I cannot guarantee that every single word is identical, but certainly the concept of an analogous body to the Health and Safety Executive is the basis of this new clause. The concept of the establishment of an executive was argued in the case of the Health and Safety Executive—I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, intervened on that occasion—and also when the noble Earl, Lord Cranbrook, moved his Environment Protection Bill earlier this Session. However, I was present on the latter occasion and the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, did not intervene.

There is nothing new therefore about the establishment of an executive to which a Secretary of State may transfer his functions. In this case the words "Secretary of State" deliberately refer to more than one Secretary of State as we are deliberately talking about the whole range of pollution and that covers the Departments of Transport and Energy and indeed the Department of Defence as well as the Department of the Environment. There is nothing new about this concept but I admire the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, intervened on this matter.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

That was a rather non-vintage reply if I may say so. The noble Lord seems to be in a state of some confusion in respect of the analogies that he referred to. I speak with due diffidence and timidity on the subject of the National Rivers Authority as a consequence of the noble Lord sitting behind me. The National Rivers Authority has specific, serious and important responsibilities. However, those responsibilities cover a specific area.

What we are concerned with here is pollution right across the board. We are concerned with a Bill which is intended to give to the Secretary of State—I take the noble Lord's point that the measure refers to any Secretary of State although primarily it concerns the Secretary of State for the Environment—wide powers to deal with pollution. Therefore deliberately to give him powers at the same time to shunt all responsibility—I use the word "shunt" deliberately—off on to an outside body whose actions he would not be responsible for in answering to either House of Parliament seems to me highly dangerous. The noble Lord appears to admit that the Secretary of State would not be responsible for the actions of the outside body.

I hope that the Committee will decide not to abdicate in this matter. If we pass the Bill, as I hope we will, Ministers, whoever they may be, will have to stand at the Dispatch Box and justify their action or inaction in all the innumerable respects mentioned in the amendment and covered by the Bill.

Lord Clinton-Davis

Perhaps I may—

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I hope my noble friend will forgive me if I reply to that specific point. The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, is now saying that what is objectionable is the range of functions which will be assigned to the executive. He has not challenged my fundamental analogies where I asserted that it is possible and may be laudable to assign some functions of the Secretary of State to another body. He does not dispute that that was the right thing to do with the National Rivers Authority. He did not argue against the analogy with the Health and Safety Executive or against the case of the Bill of his noble friend Lord Cranbrook. However, he is now saying that the amendment is objectionable because the specific functions proposed in the new clause under subsection (3) are wider than is democratically desirable.

All I can say about that is that those functions are drawn from the Bill. They are not drawn from an attempt to produce a wider Bill, much as we would wish that to occur. These are functions of the existing Bill that we now propose should be dealt with by a single body which has the range of responsibilities necessary to deal with them.

I should have thought the noble Lord would recognise that the thrust of this proposal to set up an executive is in line with the Government's policies. What, after all, is meant by the next steps procedures or by the setting up of executive agencies and the setting up of government trading organisations except exactly the desire to give independence and responsibility to those who carry out functions in the public sector? I am surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, is going against the policy trend of his own Government.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

I am surprised that the noble Lord does not see the point that there is an enormous difference between looking at a body such as the National Rivers Authority and deciding that in those circumstances power should be delegated to that distinguished body and dealing with a Bill which goes right across the field of pollution. I do not accept that in the case of a Bill which covers every aspect of pollution, it should be contemplated that power should be given to the Minister to delegate all the functions of the Bill outside parliamentary control. If the noble Lord cannot see the difference between those two cases, I cannot help him further.

Lord Clinton-Davis

I am always intrigued by the eloquent interventions of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter. I had a great deal of pleasure working with him when he was chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and I was the Minister with responsibility for aviation. He will be the first to recall that the Civil Aviation Authority was given powers by the government which I believe was led by Edward Heath precisely the same in principle as my noble friend Lord McIntosh envisages in this case. The Civil Aviation Authority was established long before those powers were granted, but eventually it was decided that there were many technical matters which required independence of government and objectivity. I believe that is what my noble friend is reaching out for here.

There is a germ of truth in the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, that there needs to be a certain measure of parliamentary accountability. If my memory serves me right—and the noble Lord will correct me if I am wrong—the Civil Aviation Authority has to report to Parliament annually as to its operations. It may be that there is an omission here as far as that organisation is concerned, but we are debating the principle.

As to the principle, it is the need to have a greater degree of independence and objectivity on environmental issues that has produced this proposal as far as my honourable friend is concerned. Indeed, as I understand it, this matter arose previously in the House during the debate on the Bill introduced by the noble Earl, Lord Cranbrook.

I know that it is always dangerous to cite examples from abroad, but the United States Environmental Protection Agency was established to provide independence from the Government, as we are seeking to do here. Nobody can say that the record of the EPA is other than a very good one in general terms. It does not seem to have produced a situation in the democracy of the United States which has been harmful to that democracy; indeed, the reverse is true. So I think the noble Lord is over-egging the pudding a little in the observations that he has made in relation to my noble friend's speech. Perhaps he would like to answer the point I have made about the Civil Aviation Authority.

4.30 p.m.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

The Civil Aviation Authority was given considerable powers, but, as the noble Lord will recall from the days of his very helpful co-operation—which I am pleased to thank him for now after many years—when he was the Minister concerned there was still a residue of authority left in the Department of Trade and a certain number of questions could be asked. If I may add one pendant to that, I was told that I, as chairman and a Member of the House, could attend your Lordships' House when those questions were asked. I was not allowed to intervene but, said the civil servants, "facial expression is not excluded".

The Earl of Onslow

I apologise for arriving slightly late in the debate on this clause, but it seems to me that there is a wealth of difference between controlling civil aviation and controlling pollution. Pollution is a much wider issue and a much less easily defined subject than civil aviation. It would seem to me that pollution is much more political than civil aviation, so the parallel is not exactly right.

That is all I wanted to say. Perhaps as somebody who has only listened to the argument without having had experience of the matter I can hope to judge without being parti pris either way.

Lord Ross of Newport

I should like to ask the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, whether the relevant clause is not: The Secretary of State may by order transfer such of his functions under this Act as he considers appropriate". We are not asking for anything to be transferred in this amendment, only such functions as the Secretary of State himself thinks are appropriate.

Lord Campbell of Croy

This amendment raises matters conveniently at an early stage of the Committee on which I should like to seek clarification. They concern drafting and interpretation.

This is a United Kingdom Bill. A few parts only apply to Northern Ireland, and they are designated in Clause 147(4), but the Bill as a whole is drafted so that where there are separate systems in Scotland the appropriate words are inserted. For example, there is a separate inspectorate in Scotland. HM inspectorate has been spoken about in the singular so far this afternoon, but there is a separate one in Scotland. The National Rivers Authority, which has been mentioned several times this afternoon, deals with England and Wales only. Therefore, as noble Lords will already have seen, we find at various places in the Bill that the Scottish river pollution authorities are specially mentioned.

We also have the code and the system, to which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, has already referred, that the words "the Secretary of State" in the singular cover any Secretary of State or several Secretaries of State. That is the way our parliamentary legislation is drafted. It is always confusing to the public outside, or to those of them who are unfamiliar with the system, as most of them are.

For example, at the beginning of Clauses 2 and 3 we find the words "The Secretary of State". In many cases it will be thought that that means the Secretary of State for the Environment, but where those words occur they could mean any Secretary of State. In Clause 3(5), which is one of the parts that deal with Northern Ireland, it could apply to as many as four Secretaries of State. I am speaking now about the parts of the United Kingdom rather than the functions of defence or transport, which is what the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, mentioned.

This raises the question of what should happen in the amendment. The new clause, Amendment No. 2, appears to establish one environmental protection executive with one Secretary of State—I think most people reading this would think it was the Secretary of State for the Environment—taking the action proposed. But in the way that our statutes and Bills are drafted, and as Scotland is mentioned in subsection (2) of the amendment, it is clearly supposed to extend beyond England and Wales and therefore beyond the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Perhaps I may ask the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, whether this means that if the new clause were accepted the Secretary of State for Scotland would be acting, in transferring functions and making orders, for that part of this new agency, this authority, which again is supposed to follow the "regional structure" in Scotland, taking the words used. These are the complications that arise.

The Secretary of State for the Environment has no environmental functions or responsibilities in Scotland. I would remind your Lordships that the Scottish Office is over 100 years old and the Welsh Office is nearly 30 years old but has been taking over more functions, including all these, I am reliably informed. So there are the problems of different Secretaries of State for the parts of the United Kingdom as well as the Secretaries of State who have such functions as defence or transport.

I should like to ask the Minister to tell us at this stage, or in his reply later in the debate, whether the Bill in any part of it is going to change the position so far as Scotland is concerned. Is the Secretary of State for the Environment—for the first time for over 30 years, to my knowledge—to have some functions in Scotland? I would add that this is not a propitious moment to subtract from the functions devolved for Scotland because of the movement towards more devolution and nationalism in Scotland.

However, I should make it clear that although the functions under our existing statutes are separate where the Secretaries of State are concerned for different parts of the United Kingdom, my view is that the Secretary of State for the Environment should be the lead Minister on formulating policy for the United Kingdom and taking initiatives generally, as well as in international co-operation and negotiations. That has been the position in recent governments.

There will be even more for the Secretary of State for the Environment to do in that respect not only because of the Bill but because of the increased awareness throughout the world of the need for environmental protection. Nonetheless, in drafting amendments and changing or adding provisions to the Bill, we must work on the functions as they now exist which means, for example, that the Department of the Environment has no functions in Scotland.

I felt that I should raise these matters now partly because two noble Lords—my noble friend Lord Glenkinglas and a personal friend, Lord Ross of Marnock—are, I regret, no longer with us. I am certain that, as two other former Secretaries of State for Scotland, they would have raised those points. I ask for clarification not only from the mover of the amendment, but also in general in due course from the Government about how the problems will be dealt with in the Bill, given the separate functions and responsibilities of the four Secretaries of State.

Lord Addington

I should like to speak briefly to Amendment No. 3, but, before doing so, I should like to comment on Amendment No. 2.

Ultimately, we shall need a body which takes over an integrated environmental control role and the protection of our environment for the simple reason that it is far too wide a subject for the present structure to handle. We are talking about something that affects every part of our environment and government and goes beyond our national boundaries. Ultimately, we must probably head towards a European-wide structure. I am not qualified to join in the debate as to whether this is the correct form in which to put forward the proposal, but ultimately the idea must be considered in some form and another.

Lord Parry

It might be helpful to the Committee to remind ourselves at this stage of the Addison Rules. Two points are made in those rules, regarding the setting up of public bodies and the possibility of surrender of the Minister's authority to such a body if Parliament is not careful, which should be mentioned in the debate at this point. It is clear that, if an executive body were set up and the Addision Rules were followed, when questions affecting public bodies arise in Parliament, the Government are alone responsible to Parliament. That is the practice, not just the concept.

The rules go on to say: If Board members who happen also to be Lords were to give the House information about the day-to-day operations of the Board or to answer criticisms respecting it, the House would in fact be exercising a measure of parliamentary supervision over matters of management. It would also be difficult for the responsible Minister not to give similar information to the House of Commons". The Committee should accept that it is a convention and practice that any body set up outside the House to carry out a function does not subsume the control of the Secretary of State. That is why chairmen of such bodies do not normally intervene without explanation in debates in the Chamber.

Lord Addington

As that point has been succinctly dealt with, I should like to say that Amendment No. 3 is probably the kind of amendment that we should encourage as it states exactly what the local authorities are supposed to do in relation to any other bodies around them. It has been described as leg work. If you are expected to do leg work, it is only decent that you should know exactly what you are supposed to be doing. A breakdown of functions should surely have occurred a long time ago. We should allow local authorities to know what they should do to help those who are in a greater position of power and have a co-ordinating role. I therefore recommend that Amendment No. 3 at least should be accepted.

4.45 p.m.

Lord Crickhowell

I intended to intervene only briefly to make one point, but I am prompted by the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Parry, to make one other observation; namely, that the difficulty about the arrangement which he describes is that it is the practice of Ministers to refer all questions to the chairman of the appropriate body and it is the chairman who then answers by correspondence. So in practice it takes the ability to cross-examine away from the Chambers of both Houses of Parliament.

The one simple point that I wanted to make was that the heart of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, is in the right place, but I fear that the method and the time that he has chosen are wrong. He argued that we should have a wider set of arrangements. In the Second Reading debate, I said that there would have to be further changes. I suggested that Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution should be taken out of the Department of the Environment. I said that the National Rivers Authority had already put suggestions to government for a wider rationalisation of arrangements. I do not disagree that some further steps may be necessary, but the difficulty of taking them in this Bill is that you must arrive at a set of arrangements without prior discussion, examination and consideration.

On looking at the selection of functions chosen by the noble Lord, I am bound to say that I remain pretty unconvinced because he has not carried out the essential task of working out the exact relationships between the various agencies and organisations. That is a vital first step. It is a step that the National Rivers Authority took because we are concerned about those relationships. It seems to me that, to use the words of the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, he has reached out for a solution and quite self-evidently failed to find it and therefore fallen down a deep hole. Surely the proper way to legislate on as important a matter as this is to come forward with detailed proposals in a White Paper, to consider them adequately and then to include them in a Bill. It is wrong to include a major change in the structure of our arrangements for looking after the environment by amendment at a late stage in the passage of a Bill of this kind.

I cannot even accept the argument that has been advanced that we need something like the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States. One point about that agency is clear: it does not work a system of integrated pollution control. Anyone who has examined the way in which it works would not seek to base a model on it.

My simple point is this: I agree that there will be a need for further changes, but, as the Secretary of State observed, this is but a single Bill in a series of environmental Bills. There was an important environment Bill last year in the form of the Water Act. This is another Bill and clearly there will have to be later Bills. Surely on this occasion we are doing no more than having a brief canter round the course looking at the principles. I hope that the Committee will not accept the solutions that have been put forward.

The Earl of Onslow

There is something that I should like to say arising from what my noble friend Lord Campell said. To treat litter, pollution or the environment differently in Scotland or in Wales from in England is to go down the wrong path. A dirty blue plastic bag in the Tweed is just as nasty as in the River Wey. Litter on the streets of Edinburgh is just as bad as litter on the streets of Scunthorpe. That is one of the great dangers that we shall face.

I admit that I am perhaps going slightly away from the subject by talking about the structure of the United Kingdom, but those matters should be dealt with by one Secretary of State, not two. It is no good if the Secretary of State for Wales arrives at one conclusion about what should happen on one side of the River Usk and the Secretary of State for the Environment arrives at a different conclusion as to what should happen on the other side of the river. It is no good if the Secretary of State for Scotland arrives at one conclusion about what should happen on one side of the River Tweed and the Secretary of State for the Environment arrives at a different conclusion about what should happen on the other. That is about the most ridiculous method of trying to control pollution or to look after the environment as it is conceivable to imagine. Surely we should take away those powers from outlying principalities. That is nothing to do with nationalism; it is to do with common sense. If I were a Scotsman, I should like to have just as good pollution control as my English counterparts. There is nothing Scottish, Welsh or English about a dirty beer can in a high street.

Lord Campbell of Croy

Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding. My noble friend said that his intervention was based on what I said. I was not commenting; I was merely saying what the facts and the functions are and showing how the Bill has been drafted. To my knowledge, those arrangements have certainly existed in Scotland for well over 30 years and probably much longer. Bills have been drafted with those functions and Parliament expects the various Secretaries of State to answer to Parliament for the sectors for which they are responsible. It is a little difficult in a single Bill to upset that constitutional division of functions.

I was not raising the question of litter whether in one place or another. I was pointing out what the powers are now and how we can therefore draft. I have also asked the Government whether there is any intention to change. I shall be interested to hear the answer. I am sure that my noble friend Lord Onslow will also be interested to hear whether the effect of the Bill will be to make any transfer in functions between the various Ministers. I have not yet seen any sign of that. That is the problem with the kind of amendments that we are considering now.

While I am on my feet I should like to say that the Health and Safety Executive is somewhat facilitated by the fact that the Department of Trade and Industry is a United Kingdom department—it covers Scotland, England and Wales. I suggest that most of the safety and health activities are in the field of trade and industry. That made it easier for that measure to go through.

I am not against the principle that has been suggested. I merely point out that there are difficulties under our present division of responsibilities and ask for clarification.

Lord Parry

The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, would not expect me to agree too readily with the points that he made. He might expect some sympathy and I offer it to him. He could not think of a Welsh town whose name he could pronounce. The only river that he could pronounce was the single syllabled River Usk.

We have a particular responsibility in Wales because the beer can was invented there by Felinfoel Ales. Beer was first canned in Britain in Llanelli.

Lord Hesketh

One learns something every day in this Chamber. The proposal of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, for an environmental protection executive has a very respectable lineage. My noble friend Lord Cranbrook floated a similar idea last year, and the year before that in another place the Select Committteee on the Environment recommended the creation of such an executive.

The creation of an EPA does have arguments in its favour. But we believe, too, as we said in our response to the Select Committee's report, that the proposals that we are bringing forward in this Bill, taken together with the creation of the NRA under last year's Water Act, produce a sound system for the management of pollution control both at the national and local level. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State said, in introducing this Bill in another place, that he would look at the institutional arrangements for pollution control and that will no doubt be reflected in the White Paper to be published later this year.

I have to say, however, that the new clause tabled by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, is not an EPA along the lines of that proposed by either my noble friend or the Select Committee of the other place. It is rather limited and is confined to the functions of the Secretary of State under this Act. In fact, I believe that the new clause is a recipe for some confusion. As an example of that confusion, one can take the first main clause of the Bill—Clause 2. Under the new clause the executive will become responsible for prescribing the processes to come under IPC—although I note with surprise not for local air pollution control—but it would not prescribe the substances for control. That would mean that regulation of all the precautionary preventive control of the Part I system (to minimise releases of particularly nasty substances) would presumably remain with the Secretary of State while the processes were controlled by the executive. I cannot see the logic in that.

One of the factors that needs to be taken into account in considering the merits of an EPE is how such an organisation would fit in with or intrude upon the role of local authorities. Local knowledge and the capacity for a fast response which lies with local authorities could be put at risk by a centralised system. In Amendment No. 3 the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, recognises the role that local authorities play. But I hardly think it necessary to impose upon them the requirements of that new clause. They are for the most part fulfilling its requirements already, particularly in making environmental information available and monitoring and auditing the quality of the local environment.

Many noble Lords went into the finer points of the relationship between the NRA and which parts were best to take out of which Bills to add together to produce the perfect EPA. However, it is important to remember that the EPA—about which I have heard the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, wax lyrical in this Chamber on many occasions in previous years—is at this moment in the United States being absorbed into the government. The director of the EPA is being made a Member of the Cabinet of the President of the White House. That may say something. I think the answer is that although the EPA is extraordinarily attractive—for want of not using any further words than that—in political terms, the reality is that we have come up with a particularly British solution, a solution that is designed to work even though it may not look so good in terms of an advertising hoarding.

Finally, in reply to my noble friend Lord Campbell, there are two answers: yes and no. The answer "yes" refers to the fact that the Secretary of State for Scotland will in particular continue to take the lead on national matters, as he does at present. With special adaptations the Bill applies as and where required to Scotland as to England and Wales, but the functions of the Secreatary of State for Scotland remain entirely unaltered. The only areas that will affect Scotland directly in this Bill in a way that changes the position will be with regard to the NCC in Part VII.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I have been delighted by this short debate if perhaps not quite for the reasons which all those who took part in it might expect. I am particularly grateful to the Minister for his last remarks about what he calls the peculiarly "British" solution. It is indeed in many respects the peculiarly British solution that has landed us with the name of the dirty man of Europe, with a less effective system of pollution control than the United States has had for many years and a far less effective system of pollution control than many European countries. It has also led us to be under continuous attack from international organisations and the European Commission over the inadequacy of our response to environmental protection matters. I acknowledge that the Bill is an attempt in some limited way to deal with the problems which may be identified as going along with a peculiarly British solution, but if I were the Minister I should not boast about it.

I can deal fairly quickly with the issue of the Scottish and Welsh dimensions. The provisions in the new clause are no different from the provisions in the Bill itself. As the Minister made quite clear in his reply, nothing in the Bill takes away from the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Secretary of State for Wales or the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. What is intended, and I believe achieved, by this amendment is quite different. It is not intended to deal with matters between the regions of England and—let me get it right—the Kingdom of Scotland and the Principality of Wales. That is not the object of the exercise. Our object is to ensure that we no longer get away with the peculiarly British solution of thinking that we have dealt with the environment and its protection by giving one Secretary of State the smart title the Secretary of State for the Environment when we know perfectly well that he is the Secretary of State responsible for local government, housing and planning with a little bit of environment tacked on at the end.

Lord Campbell of Croy

That is in England and Wales.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I acknowledge what the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, says—in England and Wales. The objective of the amendment and the reason that it is deliberately phrased in this way is so that there should be a co-ordinated view of environmental protection and that it should take into account—later amendments will spell it out in more detail—the responsibilities of the Secretaries of State for Transport, for Defence, for Energy and any other departments which have an impact on the environment. That is exactly what this amendment is about; that is exactly what this Bill will not achieve.

The Minister may think that it is a response to my arguments to say that the Environmental Protection Agency has now been enlarged by the addition of a Minister in the American Cabinet. I do not disagree, although there was always an Interior Secretary who had many of those responsibilities. I refer him to the Labour Party policy document that has just been published. Not only shall we have an Environmental Protection Executive of the kind proposed in this amendment but it will report to a Minister in the Cabinet with overall responsibility for protection of the environment. What the Minister has described as happening in the United States is exactly Labour Party policy.

I appreciate that I am not doing my best to secure support for the amendment in all corners of the Committee but at least I am being consistent. At least we have our eyes on what is achievable and at the only time that it is achievable. If Members of the Committee believe that it is possible to delay these issues by saying that there will be a White Paper in the autumn and legislation later they are neglecting the fact that time is at our heels.

There must be a general election within two years, which means that there is only one more full Session of Parliament. It is already clear, and I challenge any Minister to deny it, that there will be no legislation to implement a White Paper on environmental protection in the 1990–91 Session. That means that there will be no other major legislation on environmental protection in the last Parliament of this Government. For that reason it is essential for the Committee to set out what it believes to be the proper concerns of an Environmental Protection Bill in the true sense rather than in the more limited measure which is now before us.

Lord Hesketh

When I referred to a peculiarly British solution the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, saw that as an opportunity immediately to denigrate my remarks. Since the passage of the Water Act last year my office has looked at the Order Papers as having a veritable drought of Questions with regard to the pollution of water. We have combined two bodies—HMIP and the NRA—to produce success. It is no good the noble Lord saying that because we are not to have an EPA it does not work, because we have shown that it has worked.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I take it that the Minister means a veritable flood of Questions rather than a veritable drought.

Lord Hesketh

No, I mean no Questions.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Whether the Government wished it or not, in changing the ownership of the water and sewerage industries the effect of the Water Act was to raise public awareness of the defects of our water supply. All credit to the Government for having done that, even though they did so without fully intending it.

The objections that have been raised about the scope of Amendment No. 2 and its relationship to Amendment No. 3 have not been well substantiated. The amendment provides what the Bill does not, that is, an adequate mechanism at central government level and collaboration between central and local government for the implementation of an environmental protection industry. The Bill as drafted does not provide that. I commend the amendment to the Committee.

5.3 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 94; Not-Contents, 130.

Addington, L. John-Mackie, L
Airedale, L. Kagan, L.
Ardwick, L. Kennet, L.
Aylestone, L. Kilbracken, L.
Barnett, L. Kilmarnock, L.
Birk, B. Kirkhill, L.
Blackstone, B. Listowel, E.
Boston of Faversham, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Bottomley, L.
Broadbridge, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. Lockwood, B.
Bruce of Donington, L. Lovell-Davis, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McNair, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.] Mason of Barnsley, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Mayhew, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. Milner of Leeds, L.
Dacre of Glanton, L. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
David, B. Mulley, L.
Davies, L. Nicol, B.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Ogmore, L.
Dean of Beswick, L. Oram, L.
Diamond, L. Parry, L.
Dormand of Easington, L. Peston, L.
Ennals, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Ewart-Biggs, B. Rea, L.
Ezra, L. Richard, L.
Falkender, B. Ritchie of Dundee, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Robson of Kiddington, B.
Foot, L. Rochester, L.
Gallacher, L. Ross of Newport, L.
Galpern, L. Russell, E.
Gladwyn, L. Sainsbury, L.
Glenamara, L. Scanlon, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.] Serota, B.
Shackleton, L.
Gregson, L. Stallard, L.
Grey, E. Stedman, B.
Hampton, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Hatch of Lusby, L. Strabolgi, L.
Hirshfield, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B. Tordoff, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Turner of Camden, B.
Hughes, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L. Whaddon, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. White, B.
Jay, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Jeger, B. Winstanley, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L. Ampthill, L.
Allerton, L. Arran, E.
Alport, L. Ashbourne, L.
Auckland, L. King of Wartnaby, L.
Balfour, E. Kinnaird, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Kitchener, E.
Beloff, L. Lauderdale, E.
Belstead, L. Liverpool, E.
Bessborough, E. Lloyd of Hampstead, L.
Blatch, B. Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.
Blyth, L. Long, V.
Boardman, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Borthwick, L. Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Marshall of Leeds, L.
Brain, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Brigstocke, B. Melville, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Merrivale, L.
Burton, L. Mersey, V.
Butterworth, L. Mottistone, L.
Caccia, L. Mountevans, L.
Caithness, E. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Moyne, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Munster, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Nathan, L.
Carnock, L. Nelson, E.
Carr of Hadley, L. Nelson of Stafford, L.
Cavendish of Furness, L. Norrie, L.
Cawley, L. Onslow, E.
Clanwilliam, E. Orkney, E.
Cottesloe, L. Orr-Ewing, L.
Cox, B. Oxfuird, V.
Craigavon, V. Porritt, L.
Craigmyle, L. Quinton, L.
Craigton, L. Radnor, E.
Crickhowell, L. Rankeillour, L.
Cumberlege, B. Reay, L.
Davidson, V. [Teller.] Renton, L.
Denham, L. Renwick, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B. Rodney, L.
Eden of Winton, L. St. John of Bletso, L.
Elibank, L. Salisbury, M.
Ellenborough, L. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Elles, B. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Erroll of Hale, L. Sharples, B.
Fanshawe of Richmond, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Foley, L. Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gainford, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Strathclyde, L.
Gibson, L. Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Gisborough, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Swinfen, L.
Swinton, E.
Halsbury, E. Teviot, L.
Hanson, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Hayter, L. Trefgarne, L.
Henley, L. Trumpington, B.
Hesketh, L. Ullswater, V. [Teller.]
Hives, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Home of the Hirsel, L. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Hood, V. Westbury, L.
Hooper, B. Whitelaw, V.
Howe, E. Wise, L.
Hunter of Newington, L. Woolton, E.
Hylton-Foster, B. Wynford, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L. Young, B.
Kimball, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

5.11 p.m.

[Amendment No. 3 not moved.]

Lord Ross of Newport moved Amendment No. 4: Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause:

("General duty to protect the environment

. This Part shall be interpreted as subject to a general duty on the Secretary of State and on other persons to whom functions are assigned under it to promote the protection, conservation and improvement of the environment.").

The noble Lord said: The purpose of this amendment is to place a general duty on the Secretary of State, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution and local authorities and to write the imposition of that duty on to the face of the Bill.

On Report in the other place the Minister said at col. 749 of Hansard that integrated pollution control is a radical new measure putting Great Britain in the forefront of pollution control. In my Second Reading speech I said that noble Lords on all sides welcomed the introduction of integrated pollution control. The Bill is an important measure in any future environmental policy and practice. Surely it could have been expected that a general duty to protect, conserve and improve the environment would be set out clearly and unequivocally at the beginning.

The Bill gives some 70 new powers to the Secretary of State and places many new onerous obligations on Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution and also on the local authorities. My proposed new clause spells out the terms of reference which are missing from Part I and goes some way towards allaying the anxieties expressed by organisations and individuals. Proper resources for monitoring and research as well as enforcement of the new powers, including the necessary training and recruitment, are essential if the good intentions of the Bill are to be put into practice. The duty imposed by this amendment, initially upon the Secretary of State, carries with it the presumption that resources must be made available to meet that obligation.

Earlier debates focused on the need for adequate staffing of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution. The Government have promised that HMIP will have whatever staff it needs. That is very welcome. However, that contrasts with the provision of the Bill for only 15 additional staff. That applies only to Part I. Admittedly there are further provisions made for staff in other areas, but not many. Local authorities are worried that the cost recovery system will not provide adequate funds in the initial stages of the new scheme.

There are doubts about the current Bill, which I am sure the Government appreciate. There is a great deal of evidence and representations have been made from bodies involved with the environment on the forthcoming White Paper. There are doubts on the limited scope of integrated pollution control. The Minister said that there will be 5,000 major producers of polluted waste, although today the figure of 3,500 was mentioned. Processes causing a less dramatic level of pollution still fall outside the scope of the Bill. Waste management is being passed to arm's-length companies in England and Wales. However, that measure is not replicated in Scotland and we do not know how that will work.

HMIP entertains many expectations. We do not know—the matter was dealt with very honestly by the noble Lord, Lord Crickhowell, in his Second Reading speech and again today—how HMIP and the NRA will relate to each other. He said that further co-ordination will be necessary. How are we to resource the new litter proposals? The Minister indicated that he will consider requests for additional resourcing on a case by case basis within the RSG mechanism. That is hardly conducive to proper forward planning and environmental protection. I dread to think what will happen if there is additional charge capping. We have heard rumours about that from 10 Downing Street. I do not know how local authorities will deal with the problems of litter and waste throughout our countryside if they are not in a position to give incentives to people to tidy the countryside.

A commitment to the broad aims of environmental protection at the start of the Bill would give some reassurance on such issues. It is anticipated that the White Paper will be published at the end of September in time for the Conservative Party Conference. The Government's willingness to consult on the wider issues, including consultation with local authority associations, has been most welcome. I put on record that I am very grateful to the Minister, Mr. Trippier, who recently saw representatives of Wildlife Link. We submitted our own suggestions as to what should be in the White Paper and we were able to make personal representations to the Minister and his civil servants.

However, a White Paper is not legislation. It appears that apart from what the Minister said on Report about a further planning Bill there will be no further legislation in the immediate future. That is what we are all so worried about. This is a very worthy Bill but it does not cover the real problems of pollution control and environmental protection. It may be several years before we are able to put into legislation some provisions which have been discussed for a long time and which many of us believe are highly desirable and should be dealt with here and now.

On Saturday, Mr. Trippier was in Dublin. Perhaps the Minister responding today can tell us what happened at that conference. He is looking very mystified, but I understand that Mr. Trippier was there and that there is now a suggestion that there may be a European-wide environmental body to which we should have to respond. I hope that such matters are proceeding apace. The Government have initiated certain conferences on global warming. Therefore, anxieties have been expressed which are not dealt with by this legislation. It is important to emphasise in this Bill the need to develop essential strategies and authorisation processes. In this part of the Bill only one element has such a strategy. I beg to move.

5.15 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Harringey

I support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Newport. In many ways it complements the amendments which I have already moved. I am glad that he supported them. Without anticipating more than is absolutely necessary our subsequent debate in Committee, this amendment is essential if we are to be convinced that the Government mean what they say when they are putting forward an environmental protection Bill of this sort.

The reason that it is necessary to state that there should be a general duty not only upon the Secretary of State has been well rehearsed; that is, because a general duty to protect the environment is required of government as a whole rather than only the Secretary of State for the Environment. I shall not go into that argument again.

However, the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Ross, raises another issue of fundamental importance; namely, the role of local authorities and the resources available to them. Again, we shall deal with those matters on later amendments.

Perhaps I could refer back to the explanatory and financial memorandum to the Bill. It says that the pollution control regime—integrated pollution control—is set up under Part I of the Bill for prescribed industrial, commercial and other processes"— I will not go into the England, Wales or Scotland argument— to be operated by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution, and a parallel regime providing for local authority control of air emissions from a second tier of less polluting processes". That is a most unsatisfactory situation for local authorities. Restricting their level of responsibility under Part I of the Bill to air pollution and within air pollution to a second tier of less polluting processes is not the way in which we should be seeking to achieve, or are likely to achieve, the full collaboration between local and central government which is necessary if effective integrated pollution control is to work.

For that reason I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Ross, that it is necessary to say that that part of the Bill should be interpreted as being subject to a general duty on the Secretary of State and other persons to whom functions are assigned under it. Other functions are assigned to local authorities. They must have a general duty if affected—putting it as neutrally as I can—by swings in one direction or another in the nature of local authority funding. There might be swings in the balance between central funding of local authority services and locally raised funding and changes in the way in which locally raised funding—for example, the community charge—is applied. We understand that there are proposals in train to make such changes which may include wider community charge capping, as the noble Lord, Lord Ross, rightly pointed out.

If there is that degree of uncertainty, as I believe there is, in local authority funding, how will environmental protection be secured as an essential part of the range of services and activities of local authorities? Let us not forget that a large part of the duties and therefore the expenditure of local authorities is imposed on them by central government. Education, community care—which has been debated in this Chamber—and many other features of local authority expenditure impose statutory duties on the local authority. Local authorities can be pursued at law if they fail to fulfil that statutory duty.

Is environmental protection to be the poor relation of local authority expenditure? No local authority would wish that to be the case. If collaboration between local authorities and central government is to be achieved there must be some way of securing adequate resources and a general duty in connection with those resources laid upon local authorities. I take that to be the purpose of the amendment; I therefore support it.

Lord Parry

It might be helpful if I guide the Committee regarding what happened in Wales some years ago when I was chairman of the Wales Council of Keep Britain Tidy. I was introduced to a system which very much involved local government. All local councils in Wales were participants and leaders in the clean-up of Wales attempted at that time.

When I became chairman throughout Britain of Keep Britain Tidy and eventually of the Tidy Britain Group, I found that other local authorities were keen to follow the pattern of Wales but that their money was already budgeted in committee. It is essential to understand—if the Committee does not support the amendment—that there is a great concern among local authorities committed to environmental cleansing that the funds must be forthcoming. I should also like to lay before the Committee the fact that the problem is increasing and is no more than ameliorated by the measures taken by the various organisations assigned to the task.

A great deal of unfortunate misunderstanding has existed over the past few years as to who was to be responsible for litter. We have had some difficulty in resolving the question. Some 14 weeks ago I picked up the first beer can at Land's End for a private enterprise group—Ideal Homes—who committed the whole of their staff and a great deal of resources to a clean-up of aluminium cans for recycling. The task has just been completed; I picked up the last can at John O'Groats last Thursday afternoon. That one company, with the support of local authorities and by devoting a great deal of effort to the task, has collected cans which would extend to twice the height of Mount Everest. Yet there are many more cans left in the hedgerows of Britain waiting to be collected.

Whatever the Committee resolves, it should be understood that the problem is a large one. It is essentially connected with local government funding and raising funds from other sources. Even were a great deal of money devoted to the problem, it could not be solved.

Lord Hesketh

The noble Lord, Lord Ross, wishes Part I to be interpreted as placing a general duty on the Secretary of State and others to protect, conserve and improve the environment. Those are worthy sentiments but the amendment itself is unnecessary. The amendment gives me the opportunity to make categorically clear that the purpose of the Environmental Protection Bill is indeed to protect the environment. I am confident there is no possible room for doubt about that; I can say that in Part I of the Bill we are introducing the most sophisticated pollution control system in Europe.

The proposed duty on the Secretary of State allows no possible room for doubt about his intentions in fulfilling any of his function under the Bill. Our record on the environment over the past 10 years and more puts that beyond question. We are taking an international lead in protecting the atmosphere. Billions of pounds are being spent on cleaning up power stations, improving the quality of our rivers, our beaches and our drinking water.

A number of people including the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, in the amendment which proceeded this one, continue to bring accusations of Britain being the dirty man of Europe. I shall not repeat the arguments I made a moment ago. This Bill, with the strong measures I have outlined, carries the process further forward. The duties and functions of local authorities under Part I of the Bill are clear and explicit. There is also the matter of cost recovery charging. The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, made the reasonable point that we could have a series of debates on each of the amendments which are effectively covered by later amendments, Amendment No. 59 in the case of this particular amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

We shall; not we could.

Lord Hesketh

It is in a state of complete certainty that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, says that. I reassure the Committee that if the Secretary of State, speaking purely hypothetically, were to act in any way other to promote the protection and improvement of the environment, he would be acting beyond his powers and therefore unlawfully. For those reasons we resist the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Ross.

Lord Ross of Newport

I am grateful for the response of the Minister. The noble Lord, Lord Parry, has been involved in the picking up of cans from Land's End to John O'Groats: he is now an expert on cans. However, he had perhaps better go north to the Shetlands. I spent a holiday in the Shetlands 30 years ago before the oil boom. One could be 20 miles from Lerwick in the midst of the most barren countryside; yet if one stepped out of the car one automatically stood on a McEwan's beer can. There are probably millions of McEwan's beer cans all over the Shetlands. People obviously went into town, filled up the car with cans then threw them out on their way home. I am afraid that there is a large problem in the Shetlands.

We were given a glowing account of the Government's achievements by the Minister. No doubt he will be in the good books of the Prime Minister. However, some of us are not quite so impressed with the Government's achievements, although we think that the Bill is very worthy and therefore will not argue too much. However, I think that the Minister goes a bit over the top in saying how much is being spent and how much is being done. A lot of us think that this country is dragging its feet. I am not saying that we are the dirtiest country in Europe because that covers Eastern Europe, which is absolutely filthy in parts, and this country has done some good things though there is still a long way to go. However, I do not intend to press the amendment and I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.30 p.m.

Lord Ross of Newport moved Amendment No. 5: Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause:

("Statement of objectives etc. in relation to environmental protection

—(1) The Secretary of State shall, within six months of the date of Royal Assent to this Act, and periodically as he considers appropriate thereafter, lay before Parliament a statement of the objectives and practices which he considers desirable to be undertaken by other persons in relation to environmental protection.

(2) For the purposes of this section, environmental protection shall be taken to include activities falling within the scope of this Act or such other activities as the Secretary of State may consider appropriate.

(3) The Secretary of State shall, before laying any statement made under this section, consult organisations concerned with, or exercising duties in relation to, the protection or conservation of the environment or the regulation of activities likely to affect the environment, or on whom such duties are placed under his Act.").

The noble Lord said: This amendment also appears in the name of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey. Its purpose is to create a mechanism which will allow Parliament to debate strategic issues affecting the environment based on a statement drawn up and revised after substantial consultation. Recent debate has acknowledged the need, if not for a national plan at the very least for a national strategy which will improve and safeguard the environment. In particular, the development of an effective system of integrated pollution control will rely on a network of central and local government agencies, voluntary organisations and individuals. Many issues such as global warming must be considered in an international context.

While the Bill has received a qualified welcome and has been improved during its passage through the other place, it is essential that neither this legislation nor the promised White Paper is seen as an end in itself. The amendment now before the Committee would require a clear statement of environmental objectives and best practice periodically to be laid before Parliament. While the responsibility for initiating this statement would rest with the Secretary of State for the Environment, the amendment would also ensure that organisations and agencies concerned with implementing protection or conservation measures would have the opportunity to express their views, if only during the consultation period.

I repeat: I am sure the Minister will see that the response received from the outside NGOs to the opportunity to make representations to the Government on the forthcoming White Paper shows the interest that has been expressed by those bodies. Some excellent documents have been sent in and I am sure that Members of this Committee will have seen a copy of the excellent contribution from the CPRE.

It is widely acknowledged that all people are, or are becoming, more environmentally conscious than ever before. That needs to be reflected in the way that Parliament deals with environmental issues. Crisis management is inappropriate. These issues affect us all and should be given appropriate priority in the business of the House. In the other place the Minister took the view that the Department of the Environment's annual digest of environmental statistics offered sufficient information to make a regular statement of strategy unnecessary. That digest is obviously a very worthy document and I gather that there have been promises that it will be improved, but a digest of statistics is an historical snapshot. It does not in itself address the wider strategic issues which concern all parties or provide a mechanism for consultation with those organisations responsible for giving effect to the law.

Moreover, we do not yet know the full implications of the Water Act 1989, and the mechanics established by that Act for setting and monitoring standards of water quality have not yet been properly tested. Indeed, concern has been expressed during debates on strategy, resourcing and implementation. For example, inspectors who specialise in specific areas of pollution control will be expected to regulate a wide variety of industrial processes. Improved standards are essential, but how are they to be resourced and who will pay? What should be the timetable for implementation? Who needs to be consulted? What do they have to say?

At present we are struggling to come to terms with the European perspective, yet instances like Chernobyl and the ghastly recent oil spills in New York and the Gulf of Mexico make clear that a global perspective is equally essential. I suggest that that perspective is precisely what this Bill lacks.

The amendment gives an opportunity to express a wider vision which the Government repeatedly state they hold. In response to the previous amendment the Minister clearly stated that he holds that view. I beg to move.

Lord Clinton-Davis

I should like to explore something with the Government on the basis of the amendment that has been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Ross. In fact, as the noble Lord said, it is important to have a national strategy dealing with environmental policy which invokes the aid of a whole range of voluntary organisations, non-governmental organisations, and so on.

There has been a very interesting development in the United States and I wonder whether the Government will deem to give this sort of development their approval in relation to the United Kingdom. The perfectly responsible and authoritative environmental organisations have undertaken an initiative in relation to American corporations which seeks to utilise the right of corporate shareholders to place matters to a vote before shareholders as a way of giving prominence to environmental issues. Specifically, what the organisations have done is to develop a set of principles which they encourage shareholders to adopt. These are known as the Valdez principles, after the notorious "Exxon Valdez" case.

Shareholders are encouraged publicly to affirm their belief in the form of these principles that they have responsibility for environmental protection—which, in my judgment, they certainly should have—and that the corporations concerned should conduct their business as responsible stewards of the environment; and in determining their policies and seeking their profits to do so in a manner that leaves the earth healthy and safe.

I shall not go into the detail of those principles but they cover matters such as protection of the biosphere; minimising and striving to eliminate the release of pollutants that can cause environmental damage to the air, water, the earth or its inhabitants; to recognise the need for sustainable use of natural resources; to deal with the reduction and disposal of waste; the wise use of energy; commitment to minimise the environmental health and safety risks to employees and the communities in which the industry operates by employing safe technologies and operating procedures and by being constantly prepared for emergencies; the marketing of safe products and services; damage compensation; disclosure; and a host of other matters. They rely extensively on assessment and annual audits in relation to the environment.

It seems to me that it would be a perfectly reasonable development, perhaps equally in the field of company law as environmental law, to follow a similar course given the encouragement of government as far as concerns the various environmental agencies. I should very much like to hear whether in principle the Government welcome that sort of approach—an approach which, as I have said before, seems to be having considerable success in the United States.

Lord Nathan

This amendment seems to produce a very constructive idea which has been tried successfully in the European Community. Since 1972 there has been a succession of environmental action programmes within the EC which I believe could well form a model for government here. The action programmes—I think we are on the fourth at the moment—deal with broad principles but they also deal with fairly specific programmes without being too detailed, so that questions of philosophy are certainly mentioned; for example, the emphasis on the preventative approach which has now been accepted everywhere but which some years ago was not accepted in this country at all.

There is the question of the priorities to be given to different actions. For example, we talk a great deal about pollution but not very much at the moment about the question of national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and their protection, the integration of the environmentally sensitive areas and how all these matters should be developed.

Some come in the agricultural context and some are environmental questions. It would be a great advantage if once a year or, if desired, once every four years, government put out a statement of their broad programme and intent in relation to the environment. Without that there is a tendency which we have witnessed to leap from emergency to emergency. One wants a guideline and an outline of the policy and programme against which one can assess how far it has been carried through and how far there has been a falling short. There is much to be said for the proposals contained in the amendment which has just been moved.

Lord Hesketh

I am happy to say that the Government are already doing what the amendment asks for. They are engaged in a comprehensive review of environmental policy which will lead to a complete statement of the Government's strategies, principles, priorities and policies in relation to environmental protection. The White Paper is to be published this autumn and it will address the role and the responsibilities of individuals, business and public bodies, as well as those of the Government. I can assure the Committee that in preparing the White Paper the Government have sought the views of those concerned on an unprecedentedly wide scale. For the sake of completeness, I add that the Government have consulted extensively on the preparation of this Bill and will continue to consult extensively on its implementation.

I hope that others share my view that it is quite superfluous to require by statute that the Government should perform a task that they are already implementing. The noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, referred to the Valdez Principles. I find that a most interesting notion. I hope that shareholders encourage their company boards to consider all environmental aspects of their work and the greening of industry. We believe it is a process that is taking off and the Government are keen to encourage it.

When I say that the Government are keen to encourage it, I draw the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, to a press release issued by the Department of the Environment on 29th January in which my right honourable friend the Minister of State produced a 10-point green audit for British commence and industry. The noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, was entirely correct in drawing attention to the fact that if this issue became a legislative matter it would be a matter for company law, as he suggested. He is absolutely correct in that respect. We believe that the White Paper will comprehensively cover the point that the noble Lords' amendment makes. More importantly, the White Paper will appear considerably sooner than within six months of the Bill becoming an Act.

Lord Clinton-Davis

While I appreciate what has been said by the Minister in response to the question affecting the Valdez Principles, I wonder whether he would like to reflect on ways of pursuing the point rather more actively than has already been done. I do not deny for one moment that the Government have addressed some of these points. On reflection, perhaps the Minister would care to write to me, having considered the application of the Valdez Principles, on a more effective way in which the Government can address the specific point. Perhaps he can do that in conjunction with his right honourable friend the Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry.

I advert to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Nathan. I do not think that the Minister answered it. Merely to say that the Government will consult is not meeting the point at all. As I understand it, what was envisaged was that the Government would from time to time—the exact time does not matter for the purpose of this debate—set out a statement of principles rather like the fourth action programme for which I had some responsibility and which the Government, like all the other member states, have accepted in principle.

We have a changing scenario all the time in the environmental field. It would be helpful if the Government were periodically to set out how they reflect on the necessity for change within the period in question. I hope that the Minister will reflect further on what I thought was an extremely valuable and constructive point made by the noble Lord.

5.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

To some extent I too was taken aback by the Minister's reponse, which I thought did more credit to his heart than to his understanding of the way in which governments work. It is one thing to say that there will be this glorious tuppence-coloured, all-bells-ringing White Paper to come out for the Conservative Party Conference. No doubt the first priority of the Government at the present time is to rally and restore confidence in their own supporters.

That is not quite the same thing as showing to the electorate as a whole that the Government are serious about environmental protection. I am surprised that the Government should resist the offer made by the noble Lord, Lord Ross, of an opportunity to say at regular intervals, "These are the objectives that we are setting ourselves concerning environmental protection and this is the way in which we are succeeding in doing so".

If the Government are serious about giving environmental protection, it is a gift to a public relations man. It is exactly the kind of thing that Mr. Ingham and the Conservative Central Office would love to have. It is difficult to see why the Government should resist this offer other than on the ground which I suspect lies behind the resistance; namely, that they do not intend to do very much except to issue White Papers at Conservative Party conferences.

Lord Hesketh

I take slight issue with the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, about the last statement. The White Paper will be produced for everyone. It is not being produced for the Conservative Party Conference. He quite rightly said that it was more my heart speaking than my experience in government. I say to the noble Lord that, as he rightly pointed out earlier, there are four Secretaries of State involved with environmental questions, and that is a minimum figure. Having seen what is involved in producing a White Paper where there are a minimum of four departments concerned, providing a useful document every six months on the basis of what four departments can agree among themselves will not, I suspect, give the benefit that the promoters of this amendment expect.

Lord Ross of Newport

I correct the Minister. We do not say that a report should be produced every six months, but we say that one should be produced within six months of the Bill becoming law. We then talk about a report being made periodically. I believe that there has been a blow-your-own-trumpet session in the Department of the Environment before the Minister came here today. If that is what the answer is to be throughout the passage of this Bill, I warn him that he will be on his feet for a long time.

His reply was not good enough. It was far too glib. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, for his support, which was very timely. I am grateful for the contribution that he made in pointing out what happens elsewhere. As the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, said, we live in changing times and the scenario changes. It is not good enough to say that we shall get a White Paper in September or October, that that is adequate and that nothing else is needed.

Defence Estimates are debated each year in the other place. There are reports made from the Royal Commission on the Environment and these are debated. Why should not the Secretary of State report back on progress every now and again? We are not saying that this should take place every six months. It may be every year or two years if it is such an ordeal. I acknowledge that the Government are consulting very widely about the White Paper. I believe that the Secretary of State intended initially that it would be a very worthwhile document. However, the reports that are now reaching us are rather less reassuring. We believe that the Minister is being pushed back a peg or two. The White Paper may not be anything like as forward looking as originally anticipated. I am not satisfied with the response and I shall divide the Committee over the issue.

5.49 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 5) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 84; Not-Contents, 120.

Addington, L. [Teller.] Harris of Greenwich, L.
Airedale, L. Hatch of Lusby, L.
Ardwick, L. Hirshfield, L.
Aylestone, L. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Blackstone, B. Houghton of Sowerby, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. Hughes, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. Hunt, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Jay, L.
Carter, L. Jeger, B.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Jenkins of Putney, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. John-Mackie, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L. Kagan, L.
Dacre of Glanton, L. Kennet, L.
David, B. Kilmarnock, L.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Kirkhill, L.
Dean of Beswick, L. Listowel, E.
Diamond, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Dormand of Easington, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.
Ennals, L. Lockwood, B.
Ewart-Biggs, B. Longford, E.
Ezra, L. Lovell-Davis, L.
Falkender, B. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Falkland, V. McNair, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Mason of Barnsley, L.
Foot, L. Mayhew, L.
Gallacher, L. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Galpern, L. Nathan, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.] Nicol, B,
Ogmore, L.
Gregson, L. Oram, L.
Grey, E. Parry, L.
Grimond, L. Peston, L.
Hampton, L. Richard, L.
Ritchie of Dundee, L. Strabolgi, L.
Robson of Kiddington, B. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Rochester, L. Tordoff, L.
Ross of Newport, L. Turner of Camden, B.
Russell, E. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Serota, B. White, B.
Shackleton, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Stedman, B. Winstanley, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Abercorn, D. Home of the Hirsel, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L. Hooper, B.
Allerton, L. Howe, E.
Alport, L. Hunter of Newington, L.
Arran, E. Hylton-Foster, B.
Ashbourne, L. Johnston of Rockport, L.
Auckland, L. Kimball, L.
Balfour, E. Kitchener, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Lauderdale, E.
Beloff, L. Lawrence, L.
Belstead, L. Liverpool, E.
Bessborough, E. Lloyd of Hampstead, L.
Blatch, B. Long, V.
Blyth, L. McColl of Dulwich, L.
Boardman, L. Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Borthwick, L. Marshall of Leeds, L.
Brigstocke, B. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Merrivale, L.
Burton, L. Mersey, V.
Butterworth, L. Mottistone, L.
Caithness, E. Mountevans, L.
Caldecote, V. Moyne, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Munster, E.
Campbell of Croy, L. Nelson, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Nelson of Stafford, L.
Carnock, L. Norrie, L.
Cavendish of Furness, L. Onslow, E.
Cawley, L. Orkney, E.
Clitheroe, L. Orr-Ewing, L.
Coleraine, L. Oxfuird, V.
Colwyn, L. Quinton, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Radnor, E.
Cottesloe, L. Rankeillour, L.
Cox, B. Reay, L.
Craigavon, V. Renton, L.
Craigmyle, L. Rodney, L.
Craigton, L. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Crickhowell, L. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Cumberlege, B. Sharples, B.
Davidson, V. [Teller.] Skelmersdale, L.
Denham, L. Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Elles, B. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Elliot of Harwood, B. Strathclyde, L.
Erroll of Hale, L. Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Faithfull, B.
Gainford, L. Swansea, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Swinfen, L.
Gisborough, L. Swinton, E.
Grantchester, L. Teviot, L.
Gray of Contin, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Greenway, L. Trefgarne, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V. [Teller.]
Halsbury, E. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Hanson, L. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L. Westbury, L.
Hayter, L. Whitelaw, V.
Henderson of Brompton, L. Windlesham, L.
Henley, L. Wise, L.
Hesketh, L. Wynford, L.
Hives, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

5.57 p.m.

Clause 1 [Preliminary]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 6: Page 2, line 11. after ("or) insert ("— (a)").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 6 I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 7 and 8, 10 to 18, 21 to 23 and 139. I realise that the grouping provided that I should speak also to Amendment No. 9 but I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, wishes for that to be dealt with separately.

These are rather more than drafting amendments. They are an attempt to deal with the considerable degree of confusion which still exists in the Bill about the definitions of the environment and related terms. I realise that some of the confusion arises because of the willingness of the Government to accept arguments put forward in another place and their decision to propose amendments of their own to give effect to those arguments. Whatever the goodwill involved the result is that we have different definitions in different parts of the Bill; many definitions that are inadequate and out of date; and definitions that do not coincide with the definitions used by the European Community. The Community will after all continue to issue directives that will have to be implemented by the Government. It is not just a matter of confusion; it is rather worse than that. I shall not go into all the amendments in detail; I shall select some of the more conspicuous ones.

My first objection is personal and aesthetic. Perhaps it may not make all that much difference to the Bill but I object to earth, water and air being called media rather than elements, as they have been known since time immemorial. I do not see what is lost by calling them elements. The term is much more elegant and much more consistent with the British literary and linguistic tradition. To call them media makes it sound as though someone has been reading far too much McLuhan and far too little of the Bible.

I hope that the Government, without any party prompting, will feel able to accept this series of minor amendments. I also hope that the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, when he comes to move Amendment No. 9 which refers to "environmental medium", will feel that the use of the word "environment" is a better way of expressing that concept.

Amendment No. 8 contains a little more detail about what is meant by the word "elements". As drafted, the Bill is not clear as to whether we are talking about the natural environment which subsists in or is supported by the elements; it is certainly not clear whether we are covering the physical environment of buildings or natural or man-made structures. I shall not risk moving into the same debate about man-made structures and archaeological remains which we moved into last year when discussing the Local Government and Housing Bill and the Water Bill. It is inadequate simply to talk about health. These days without delving into holistic medicine, I think it can be said that people recognise that health is not simply the absence of disease or its cure; it is a state of well-being. We think that that fact ought to be recognised in the amendment.

Further amendments deal with the potential harm which is not covered by the definitions in the Bill. By way of illustration, perhaps I may take as an example an occurrence which has been much mentioned. I refer to oil spillages. If you are dealing with such spillages, like those which came from the "Exxon Valdez" the "Gulf of Mexico" and the "Amoco Cadiz", and so on, one of the actions you have to take is to seek to minimise the damage from the oil spillage. Therefore, you must have the booms and the chemicals and other equipment. However, I suggest that the other action which must be taken is to ascertain what is necessary in the procedures of oil tankers as regards their crewing ratios, their crewing skills, their navigational skills and their construction in order to prevent such things happening. As the Bill is drafted at present, the definition of "pollution" will deal with the first part of my argument—that is, what happens when the pollution has already occurred—but it will not deal with the second part.

Amendments like Amendments Nos. 14 and 15 deal with issues such as graffiti. It may well be that painting objectionable words on walls is not a form of criminal damage. However, it is still very unpleasant aesthetically and people are frightened to use public places where graffiti exists. The definition ought to be extended to ensure that it also covers such situations.

I do not think that Members of the Committee would thank me if I were to go into detail about all the amendments. Indeed, some of them are somewhat repetitive and they make the same points in different ways in different parts of the Bill. However, I hope it will be understood that these amendments were intended to be constructive. They would not widen the definition of "environment" or "pollution" unnecessarily; but they would bring it into line with current practice and make the provisions of the Bill easier to apply. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, and indeed to Members of the Committee, for agreeing to deal separately with Amendment No. 9 which is tabled in my name and Amendment No. 11 tabled in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Nathan. I think that they are slightly different. The noble Lord suggested, through a number of amendments, that we ought to define as closely as we can those matters to which this part of the Bill applies. I have no quarrel in that respect.

However, the noble Lord will see that Amendment No. 14 which is tabled in his name and which reads, after ("senses") insert ("including his aesthetic sense"), is diametrically opposed to Amendment No. 13, which is tabled in my name, because it proposes to remove that whole phrase. Of course, I understand exactly what he means by "aesthetic sense". However, my amendment, which would negative his amendment were the Committee to accept my view, has been put forward because I feel that if the phrase were to be left in the Bill it would allow a considerable amount of subjective judgment on the meaning of "harm" as it relates to an individual.

In my view, a selective judgment has no form of measurement. Indeed, what may offend one person may not offend another. One would then end up by having to make some arbitrary decision. I do not know whether there would be a problem in this respect. For example, someone could decide that he did not like a chimney stack, a particular factory or that he disliked the smell emanating from a brewery. These are all matters which might have serious consequences for industry generally. As I said, they could be subjected to this subjective decision where there is no form of measurement.

I think that it is more desirable that one should remove that phrase from the Bill and that one should not accept Amendment No. 14. Rather than attempt to suggest exactly what should be included—because I do not believe that can be done—I think that we should leave the matter to good sense. I certainly accept the noble Lord's view about the general wording—for example, "elements" and so on. What he suggests seems to me to be very much more simple. Indeed, we have enough problems with this Bill.

I turn now to deal with the noble Lord's remarks about Amendment No. 9. I suggest that we refer to "the environment" and that we do not attempt to prescribe pieces of the environment to suit particular arguments. However, I do not like the idea of introducing a subjective judgment into what might offend one group of people but not another. It seems to me that that would lead to arguments. I am not happy with Amendment No. 14; I am rather happier with my amendment, Amendment No. 13. Perhaps my noble friend the Minister would care to comment on what I see as a dichotomy.

Lord McNair

I propose to speak to Amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8, to which my name is attached. I wholeheartedly agree with the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, that the word "element" is greatly preferable to the word "medium". On Second Reading, I noted the strange and strained definition of the "environment" given on page 2 of the Bill. It is difficult to see why the Government have gone to such trouble to invent a new definition when those in the dictionary are so simple and straightforward. It may be that they have phrased the legislation in such a way so as to link up with the responsibilities of the different authorities in connection with pollution control; for example, the National Rivers Authority with regard to pollution in rivers, and the local authority with regard to pollution on land. I do not know whether that assumption is correct; it is just a guess on my part. However, if that is the case, then I fear that this separation, carried through even to the very definition of the word "environment", would cause problems when pollution from a landfill site leaches through the ground into the water table and thence into a river. The NRA might say that the pollution was the fault of the local authority, and the local authority might then say, "Prove it!". We would then have a sterile episode of buck-passing while the pollution continued unchecked.

As I see it, part of the purpose of this amendment is to cause the political discussion about what we mean by the word "environment" to evolve into a more comprehensive awareness on the part of the Government of the overarching significance of the issues being tackled in the Bill. I feel very strongly that this is not a subject which we can afford to view in such a piecemeal or limited way as proposed by the Government. I therefore urge Members of the Committee to accept these amendments.

The Earl of Balfour

I am not altogether happy about the amendments. Nevertheless, it is always worthwhile for a Member of this place to question some of the definitions. Amendment No. 7 relates to the word "medium". From my reading of the legislation as it stands it appears to be the Government's intention to separate pollution of the air from pollution in other media. The control of air pollution is a local function: water pollution is the responsibility of the inspectorate, the NRA, or some similar body. I am not keen on the word "elements". To some extent it has a ring of the old definition of fire, air, earth and water, but that is a matter of opinion.

I deal now with Amendments Nos. 13 and 14. We must be careful about the use of the word "senses" because, whether we like it or not, we will always have to have materials such as caustic soda, weed killer, paint stripper and fungicides to get rid of wet and dry rot. They may be unpleasant, and some may be poisonous. However, if we are to survive, we need them.

Amendment No. 16 is a pity: it cuts out the prescribed process which is something that needs to be written into the legislation.

The Earl of Onslow

The word "element" is, I believe, an 18th century word. There used to be the three elements of earth, sea and air. I seem to think that I have a Dresden jug representing them made in about 1780. I am talking of the old meaning of the word; it now has a more scientific meaning. It means the element of hydrogen or lead, or whatever it may be. I ask my noble friend on the Front Bench to say which word makes the Bill clearer. Is it element or medium? I am not sure. I notice that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, is reaching for a dictionary. That is probably helpful. I should be hesitant to allow into the Bill anything which related pollution to aesthetics. A French friend of ours had a daughter who was complaining about her nanny. When she was asked why she did not like her nanny, her reply was, "Maman, elle gêne mon sens de l'esthétique". The nanny should surely not be convicted of environmental pollution merely because she was thought to be ugly. We should be careful about introducing words such as "aesthetic", "elements" and "medium". It is surely almost a dictionary judgment.

Lord Nathan

Perhaps it is in order for me to support the definition contained in the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas. It coincides in certain respects with Amendment No. 11 which I have tabled. The point is a short one. Surely some explanation is required—it may be a slip—as to why the definition in Clause 1(3) is different from that contained at the beginning of Part II in Clause 29(3). In Clause 29(3)— —

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, will forgive me. As the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, and my noble friend on the Front Bench have agreed to take Amendment No. 9 separately, I shall not comment on Amendment No. 11 tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, until we have dispensed with the rest of the amendments in the group.

6.15 p.m.

Lord Reay

This group of amendments deals, first, with the various related definitions of "environment", "pollution", "harm" and so forth, contained in Clause 1. They are not easy concepts to define, even in the abstract. When, however, they are required as the basis of a sophisticated and what has to be a tightly drawn system of regulatory control, the difficulties of getting them right are even greater.

The requirements of the Bill have to be paramount, which is why we have found it impossible to provide single, unified definitions which apply throughout the Bill. The overriding requirement is definitions which work for, and meet the needs of, each separate part of the Bill. It is for that reason and not because of any inherent confusion in the Bill, or any confusion inherent following its passage through another place, that different definitions are required for different parts of the measure.

We have done much to improve the definitions in each part and to enhance consistency. In other cases, we have discovered, attempts to graft on to one part concepts which had been thought out for the purposes of another part would not have worked in practice. I ask the Committee to bear that fact in mind as I turn to the definitions that we are now discussing.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, seeks to amend the definition of "environment" contained in subsection (2). We do not see an advantage in substituting "elements" for "medium", despite the noble Lord's eloquent plea. The word "medium" is important to the drafting of the Bill since we are dealing with releases of pollutants into a medium through which pollution passes, into which it enters and from which it leaves and in which one could perhaps say it is distilled. The word "elements", albeit more literary, would have unfortunate chemical connotations which would lead to confusion in the Bill. Also, as my noble friend Lord Balfour said, what happened to fire?

Perhaps I can deal with the point raised by my noble friend Lord Lucas in respect of Amendment No. 13. Smoke and smell could not be held to constitute harm unless reference to "offence to the senses" was retained in the Bill. If it were removed a major loophole in the controls would be created. The subjectivity which my noble friend regretted is no more than the element which has existed for many years in controls of statutory nuisance; for example, with regard to smoke, dust and so forth.

The amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, include one which relates to the definition of the environment. It relates not just to the three physical media but to the living environment they support which is to be part of the definition of environment. It is reasonable to claim that living organisms form part of the environment. I can reassure the Committee that the effect of all the definitions in Clause 1 taken together is to secure the protection of the living environment, not just the physical one. To include that point within the definition would complicate matters.

Part I is drafted so as to secure the control of releases to the environment. Every release must be to one part of the environment. However, can one release substances to "a natural environment" independently from a release to air, water or land? If so, the amendment risks creating a loophole in the control system. If not, it would be unnecessary. Equally, I do not see how the concept of the "physical environment of buildings" would add to the definition. I can reassure the Committee that harm to property and pollution of the air within it are fully catered for.

There are dangers in tinkering with definitions. For example, subsection (3) refers to organisms supported by the environment, but the effect of the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, would be to define those organisms as part of the environment. That is a small point of detail, but those definitions depend upon careful drafting and for that reason I cannot recommend them to the Committee.

Perhaps I could consider briefly the other amendments in the group. The noble Lord, Lord Nathan, seeks to incorporate in the definition of "pollution" in subsection (3) something extracted from a similar but not identical definition contained in Part II. That would represent a significant weakening of the regime in Part I. That allows specifically, where necessary, for the complete elimination of any release. That degree of control is central to Part I, and the Government could not accept any weakening of it such as would result from restricting the definition of pollution in this way.

In Part II, the situation is different. The duty is simply to prevent pollution. Without the qualifying concept of, "the quantity of concentration involved" in that instance, no one would be allowed to dispose of any wastes at all. However, in Part I, any release of any substance should potentially be caught within the framework of controls, no matter what the quantity of concentration.

As to the proposed amendments to the definition of "harm", I have to say that I see no need to add "well-being" to the concepts of health and offence. To specify unnecessarily hinders rather than helps.

On aesthetics, it could be argued that if a release was offensive to man's senses then it must be offensive to his aesthetic sense. However if the noble Lord has in mind in his amendment only visual aesthetics, it is no part of an IPC inspector's remit to consider whether or not a factory is visually aesthetic. Nor do we think that it could be made so. His powers are confined to protecting the environment through controlling releases. I can also give reassurance that there is no need for Amendment No. 22 since buildings and other structures are automatically covered by the use of the word "land".

Amendment No. 23 seeks to ensure that unauthorised releases to sewers are not exempted from control by virtue of the contents of sewers being defined as outwith the definition of the environment. This amendment too is unnecessary. Any release to a sewer or otherwise which contravenes the terms of the authorisation will be an offence. There is no need to prove that pollution has occurred.

The second main target of these amendments is the definitions of "process" and "prescribed process". Turning to Amendments Nos. 15 and 21 which deal with mobile plant, it is essential to place beyond doubt that authorisations can be granted to mobile plant such as roadstone coating plant and mobile incinerators which might otherwise need a fresh authorisation each time they were moved.

We do not understand the reason for seeking to delete the definition of "prescribed processes" in Amendment No. 16. It is a fundamental building block of the system. Part I controls can only bite on prescribed processes. It is a complex and exacting system designed to ensure that those processes with major pollution potential are effectively controlled. However, it is not appropriate to all activities. The vast majority of activities cause little environmental impact so we can rely on the statutory nuisance system streamlined in Part III.

Noble Lords opposite also wish to delete reference to industrial or commercial activities in the explanation of which processes will in the main be prescribed. That is in Amendment No. 17. Although the Bill allows wide scope for the prescription of appropriate processes, it is clear that the system is most appropriate for industrial and commercial activities with major pollution potential.

Finally I turn to Amendment No. 139 which relates to Part II of the Bill and is concerned with mobile plant. I wish to stress that we are dealing in Part II only with plant for treating waste: mobile incinerators, and so forth. We are not concerned and nor is the Bill with controls on vehicles for transporting waste. However, the effect of the amendment would be to give WRAs a responsibility for licensing the transport of waste. That is already the responsibility of the Department of Transport. The noble Lord's amendment would therefore only cause confusion as to which should do what.

The Bill is right as it stands. The treatment of waste by mobile plant is caught under Part II of the Bill and the transport of waste is caught in existing legislation. I hope that I have been able to persuade noble Lords that there is no case in practice for these amendments.

The Earl of Halsbury

I apologise for arriving in the middle of the debate on the amendment but the Committee dealt with Amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8 rather quickly. I therefore failed to arrive here in time.

I ask the noble Lord to reconsider the wording of the Bill. Without reference to concentration, the provisions could be nonsense. We are all accustomed to have a little salt with our food, particularly fish, for instance. However a salt cellar full of salt would be a lethal dose if one could get it down. That would not be possible because it is an emetic and one would sick it up again. Unless there is some reference to concentrations, the clause seems to be nonsense. My noble friend may not press the matter to a Division, but perhaps the Minister dealing with the Bill might give a promise to examine the references which may involve concentrations in Clause 1(3). It is difficult to explain, but one would find one part per million of arsenic in almost any substance one chooses to test. It is widely distributed material. What is present in a substance entirely depends on the sensitivity of the method of detection. Radioactive substances can be detected, we can listen to single atoms popping off one by one. However, if this happens at the rate of only one every few seconds, it will do no harm. For this reason, some amendment to the clause is necessary for fear that some officious bureaucrat would interpret the wording too literally. He might rule the compositon of certain water out of order because the water contains every mineral from every lump of granite that it has flowed over from the time when it was a spring at the top of the Grampians. This is merely an encouragement from a professional chemist to the Minister to take the Bill away and reconsider the wording.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am grateful for the detailed reply which deserves much more careful study than I am able to give on a single hearing. I shall certainly not attempt a textual analysis with the noble Lord.

The only comment he made that leaves me with a profound feeling of unease is the unwillingness to extend definitions so that they would cover the internal combustion engine. I do not believe that it is enough to say that the subject is dealt with under other laws and that it is the responsibility of the Department of Transport. If we do not cover pollution from the internal combustion engine in this Bill we are missing out what everybody understands to be a most significant element of pollution. It would not be generally understood why it is omitted other than simply for reasons of departmental boundaries. The noble Lord's arguments deserve attention. If necessary we shall come back to the matter at a later stage. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 7 and 8 not moved.]

6.30 p.m.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth moved Amendment No. 9.

Page 2, line 15, leave out subsection (3) and insert: ("(3) "Pollution of the environment" means pollution of the environment due to the release or escape from any process (into any environmental medium) of substances or articles constituting or resulting from the release, and capable (by reason of the quantity of concentrations involved) of causing harm to man or any other living organisms supported by the environment.").

The noble Lord said: It is not necessary for me to go too far on this matter because my noble friend the Minister answered the problem in part when he addressed himself to the noble Lord, Lord Nathan. The substance of the amendment was discussed during Committee stage in another place. At that time, the Government promised to re-examine the definition on report in another place. However, nothing further was said or done. The subject has therefore been introduced again here.

The amendment deals with the point which the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, made. It introduces a quantitative statement into the definition of "pollution" in Part I of the Bill. This was the point raised by the noble Earl and the noble Lord, Lord Nathan in Amendment No. 11. It seems to me that for those reasons and the reasons that I described earlier, the definition should be reconsidered. I take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, about an environmental medium. In the light of the reply of my noble friend to the series of amendments, we shall have to see how that concept comes out in the wash. However, it is important that the definition in the early part of the Bill should be quite clearly understood by all those who are going to be affected by it.

It is not good enough for the Minister to say, as he said in response to the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, that the definition as set down in the Bill will do very well for Part I. The noble Lord, Lord Nathan, spoke about consistency. I was going to mention that also. Clause 29 on page 28 of the Bill quite clearly uses precisely the same terms as my amendment. It states on line 14 of page 28: substances or articles constituting or resulting from the waste and capable (by reasons of the quantity or concentrations involved) of causing harm to man". For goodness sake! There has to be some consistency throughout the Bill. The Minister cannot tell the Committee that Part I of the Bill will be treated in a certain way, while another part of the Bill will be treated in a totally different way.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, made a remark with regard to internal combustion engines. This is a Bill about pollution. It is not a transport Bill. The way internal combustion engines may be dealt with in transport legislation has little to do with this Bill. It is important that we keep the definitions in line.

The Minister also said when he was talking to an earlier series of amendments that there was a great danger in tinkering with definitions. There is only danger in tinkering if definitions are correct. In this case, I suggest to the Committee that the definition is incorrect for the reasons that I have described. That adds inconsistency throughout the Bill and poses a great danger. I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Alport)

I have to advise the Committee that if Amendment No. 9 is agreed to I cannot call Amendments Nos. 10 or 11.

Lord Reay

This amendment overlaps with the matter that we were dealing with in the previous amendment. My noble friend Lord Lucas takes over a point which we were discussing; namely, the different definitions of pollution in two parts of the Bill. That matter was also taken up by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, who raised the matter of concentrations. As I understand it, there is no reference to concentrations in Part I of the Bill where it is essential to bring all pollution, irrespective of its quantity or degree of concentration, within the framework of control. There is a reference to concentrations in Part II of the Bill which deals with solid wastes on land. Clause 29(3) makes it plain that the quantity and concentration of the waste concerned are relevant.

I have already indicated in response to the previous group of amendments that a definition of pollution modelled on that in Part II of the Bill is not suitable for Part I. I argued that such a definition would introduce an unacceptable weakening of the Part I regime by introducing the concept of controlling releases which pollute for example, by reason of quantity or concentration. I ask my noble friend to accept that the regime in Part I must be allowed to extend to any releases and any substances, whatever their quantity or concentration. If necessary, a release must be prevented.

The amendment incorporates the notion of "release or escape" whereas Part I of the Bill is drafted on the basis that there is no difference between an intentional and an unintentional release. The separate concept of escape does not therefore exist in Part I in contrast to Part II. The amendment refers to a release of substances, constituting or resulting from the release". That is not a concept that we could live with happily. If I may say so, it is the result of attempting to force a Part II definition into Part I. In the light of those remarks and those difficulties, I ask my noble friend to consider whether the existing definition is not preferable.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My noble friend has given a number of explanations. However, he may recall that I did not define either quantity or concentration. I merely drew attention to those factors largely for the sake of consistency. Whether or not the Government could live with the words, or resulting from the release", is not, I suggest, overly important. That is a technical point.

I do not propose to abandon this matter because I believe the arguments that I have proposed which have been supported by other Members of the Committee constitute the right way forward. I shall want to give further consideration to what my noble friend has said, and I may well wish to return to this matter at a later stage. In the meantime I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 10 not moved.]

Lord Nathan moved Amendment No. 11: Page 2, line 17, after ("capable") insert ("by reason of the quantity or concentrations involved").

The noble Lord said: The Minister has not adequately dealt with this matter. As the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, said, under the definition in the Bill pollution of the environment means, pollution of the environment due to the release (into am environmental medium) from any process of substances which are capable of causing harm to man". The release of substances may cause harm to man or living organisms at different concentrations, as the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, has said. Let us suppose for instance that under the terms of an EC directive there is a limit, for example five parts per million, beyond which one cannot go. The assessment of that amount has been made on the basis that at that concentration no harm will arise. However, if one states that there is to be a release of a substance which can cause harm, there could be a power under this provision by which even at less than five parts per million—ex hypothesi that could not cause harm—a prohibition could be granted on the ground that the words which appear in my amendment have not been inserted. It is therefore by reason of the quantity or concentration involved that harm can arise. I ask the Minister to reconsider the point which I have raised. I beg to move.

Lord Crickhowell

I do not see where the difficulty arises. As the Minister has said, surely in order to bring any possible discharge into consideration it is necessary to have the widest possible definition. Under Clause 3 the Secretary of State issues regulations which establish whether or not to apply the definition to a particular concentration. He may well be guided by the EC regulations. Clause 3(2) states specifically: Regulations under this subsection may— (a) in relation to releases of any substance from prescribed processes into any environmental medium, prescribe standards for any of the following matters, namely— (i) limits on the concentration". I believe the matter is perfectly adequately covered by the Bill.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Crickhowell, does not feel he is tarnished by my support. The experience with the Water Bill last year in which we provided general control of pollution and then sought to specify that in more detail, sometimes by reference to the European Commission, showed that was the right approach. Therefore, I think the Government's approach is right.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

If my noble friend Lord Crickhowell is right, the Minister must be wrong, because the Minister says that we cannot tinker with the definition as set down in the earlier amendments in Part I of the Bill because it would leave a loophole were we to embrace the definitions in the later parts of the Bill to which both the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, and I have referred. My noble friend then says "But we can cover up that deficiency by utilising the powers under Clause 3", that is the regulatory powers. It seems to me that if we have the powers to determine the various concentrates, quantities and qualities in Clause 3, we might just as well have precisely the same pattern in Part I of the Bill in defining pollution, as I suggested earlier.

The Earl of Halsbury

Perhaps I may intervene again. If one takes the case of carbon dioxide, which is a poisonous substance, all of your Lordships, including myself, are emitting carbon dioxide continuously. If we rise to speak our output of carbon dioxide goes up. If we were internal combustion engines there would be a demand to put us under control, as there is demand for such control all over the world at present. All I am suggesting is that we should not draft legislation in such wide terms that without reference to concentrations it will end up by looking silly, especially if it gets into the wrong hands.

Lord Reay

Perhaps I may briefly restate our position as I see it. There are two definitions of pollution, one in Part I and one in Part II. They differ in several respects. For example, as I mentioned earlier, in Part II there is a reference to release or escape, whereas there is not in Part I. There is also reference to substance or articles, whereas there is not in Part I. But the difference that we have concentrated on is that there is a reference to the quantity or concentrations involved, whereas there is no such qualifying description applied to pollution in Part I. The reason for that is that we do not wish pollution to be qualified in this way because it would restrict pollution that we feel should come within the scope of the pollution controls in Part I. That is our position.

Lord Nathan

There has been a fairly full debate on this matter, with very expert assistance from the Earl of Halsbury, the chemist, and others, and I do not think that this is the time to pursue the matter further. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 12 to 18 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 19: Page 3. line 4, leave out from ("exercisable") to end of line 6.

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 19 I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 28, 29, 51, 53, 54 and 56 which stand in my name.

We return here in a more modest form to an issue which was debated earlier this afternoon about the proper role of central and local government and the proper way of ensuring that central and local government together, through co-operation, achieve the range of resources and powers which are necessary to achieve the control of environmental pollution and, indeed, protection of the environment.

As the Bill is drafted, the role of local authorities in Part I—and I apologise for reading again from the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum—is extremely limited. It provides for a parallel regime providing for local authority control of air emissions from a second tier of less polluting processes, Therefore, all other forms of pollution fall to Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. Much as I regret it, we are not going to have an environmental protection executive, so we have to deal with Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution which is supposed to carry out these functions.

It is true that 30 additional staff have been authorised for HMIP in the last 12 months. It is also true that the Bill estimates in the manpower provisions that there will be necessity for another 15 staff in HMIP, but these are very small numbers indeed if the responsibilities under Part I of the Bill are to be taken seriously. I should have thought that the entire extra manpower available to Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution will be taken up with applications for authorisation and with looking at the inspection and monitoring of only the most serious polluting processes. It is difficult to see how an inspectorate with that kind of staffing could deal with very much more.

The fact of the matter is that at present the local authorities do much of the leg work for Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. They produce the examples of pollution which have to be controlled and they take the first steps towards monitoring pollution. It is not limited, as the Bill provides, to a second tier of less polluting processes. The local authorities are all over the country. They have the ability, and I would suggest that they should be required to look at all aspects of air pollution including the more serious processes, rather than there being this arbitrary division between HMIP and the local authorities.

Indeed, in the consultation process which is now going on leading up to the White Paper in September, I think the Minister will confirm, because I do not think that these things are secret, that the local authorities in their evidence have been saying very clearly that they want to be involved; they expect to be involved; and they are prepared to take the responsibility to be involved.

Without going into each one of the amendments in detail, they remove the barriers which exist in Part I which prevent local authorities from taking on a broader role in relation to integrated pollution control. I suggest to the Committee that the effect of passing these amendments would be to have a wholehearted co-operation between local authorities and Her Majesty's inspectorate which would be to the benefit of all of us. I beg to move.

6.45 p.m.

Lord Reay

These amendments seek to give local authorities integrated pollution control powers rather than just control over air pollution. Integrated pollution control is a new concept in international environmental control and represents a major development for both industry and regulators. It will not be an easy task to determine the best practicable environmental option for processes with significant pollution potential, even for the central inspectorates with their experience of sophisticated engineering control techniques or for those industries which are familiar with the current requirements of best practicable means. It is therefore not something that could be easily and rapidly be taken on by local authorities or by the industries of which they are to take control, starting as they do from a lower base line of technical process experience.

Therefore, we believe that we should proceed incrementally, building the knowledge that will be gained in the sectors falling within HMIP's control under Part A of the schedule.

Local authorities already have a major task ahead of them in expanding their relatively limited role of stopping air pollution nuisance into the substantial, proactive role they will take on for authorising all releases to one medium. We believe that we should not make their job too large at the outset.

Moreover, the industries that will form the Part B list for local authority control do not offer the same opportunities for transferring a release from one medium to another. They are basically primarily of concern in relation to their emissions to air. There is therefore much less need for integrated control over releases to land or water. In so far as there are releases to land and water, do we really want to remove the responsibility for control of such releases from the National Rivers Authority and waste disposal authorities? We do not believe so. We believe that the split of responsibility in Part I is right. HMIP will develop the complex new system of integrated pollution control. Local authority environmental health departments will impose significantly tighter controls on potential air pollution from less complex processes with smaller potential for cross-media pollution transfers. It will be time enough to consider more extensive powers for the lower tier when we see how those developments have worked out.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I find that the most extraordinary answer and I suspect that local authorities will too. I almost pass over, although perhaps I should not, that statement that the Minister made in the early part of his reply in which he said in effect that environmental health officers are all very well but that they are not capable of dealing with technical matters; that those matters are far too complicated for people who live in Bristol, Aberdeen, Birmingham, or wherever it may be; and that such work can only be done by the real experts sitting in Marsham Street.

If I were an environmental health officer, I would find that deeply offensive and rather inaccurate, bearing in mind the fact that local authorities have been the environmental protection agencies for 150 years. Again, I do not attack Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution, but I remind myself that it was formed by the bringing together of a number of pollution control agencies. I also remind myself of the constant complaints of the Factory Inspectorate; namely, that is was not able to cover more than a tiny proportion of the cases of pollution reported to it. That must still be the case.

I shall not pursue this matter now, but I shall come back to it on Report. I shall consider it in more detail and challenge the Government in more detail about the staffing levels of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution; the number of premises it will be required to inspect; the number of times per year, or perhaps per decade, that it will be able to carry out such inspections; and the way in which it will have to deal with the cases of pollution that are brought to its attention by local authorities. I shall ask the Government to show much more clearly than they have done now that the existing provision at central government level is sufficient to justify those restrictions on local authorities. I do not cast aspersions on the National Rivers Authority or on the waste disposal authorities. The amendments do not deal with them. We seek to take away restrictions on the activities of local authorities. I shall return to the matter at a later stage, but in the meantime I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne moved Amendment No. 20: Page 3, line 9, at end insert ("(which in this Part means a river purification authority within the meaning of the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Act 1951)").

The noble Earl said: This is purely a drafting amendment. There is already a definition of river purification authority in Clause 30 of the Bill, but that applies only for the purposes of Part II. It would be inconsistent to have a definition in one part of the Bill but not in another. The amendment removes that inconsistency by inserting into Part I of the Bill the same definition of river purification authority as appears in Part II. I beg to move.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

Perhaps my noble friend will explain a little more slowly what he has just said about the same definition in both parts of the Bill. I am sure that that is what he said. Perhaps he will explain to the Committee why that argument is good enough for this amendment but was insufficient for previous amendments.

The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne

So far as I understand it, this amendment refers to Scotland. Originally, Scotland was not dealt with in Part I of the Bill.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 21 to 23 not moved.]

Lord Ross of Newport moved Amendment No. 24:

Page 4, line 16, at end insert: ("(13A) An Environmental Efficiency Commission shall be established and shall determine a code of good environmental practice as set out in Schedule (Environmental Efficiency Commission) to this Act.").

The noble Lord said: We have already run over this course a little this afternoon. I shall therefore say at the outset that I do not intend to divide the Committee on the issue; nor would I be allowed to by the Clerks as I have been advised that this is a hybrid amendment and that I might be in some difficulty if I did.

The proposal was put forward in Committee in another place. I wish to bring it forward now because it has found favour with many outside bodies which are submitting evidence to the Department of the Environment on the proposals in the White Paper. The commission that we suggest should be established would have two useful functions. First, it would act as our conscience on the environment and would be the best informed body about the state of action and policy on the environment. Secondly, it would be the spur to improve environmental standards across the range of public and semi-public organisations. We have set it out in great detail. What we think should happen is at least on record.

Members other than myself have received copies of evidence to the Department of the Environment from many outside bodies such as Wildlife Link, which covers 43 NGOs—non-governmental organisations, for those who do not know what that means—the RSPB and the CPRE. Most of them have approved the evidence submitted.

In that evidence we call for an environmental audit. The Nature Conservancy Council thinks that Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution should be an independent body outside the control of the Department of the Environment. In a very good document, the CPRE calls for an environmental protection commission. It calls for the establishment of a new, independent environmental protection commission which should be a UK body of complete independence and stature, modelled on a much strengthened Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution or, in the financial sector, the Audit Commission which was set up by the Government to oversee local government expenditure.

Incidentally, it thinks that on the whole local government spends its money far more wisely than central government, but it is no good repeating that in this Chamber as it is always met with total blankness. We spend an extra £60 million on our submarines, but no one seems to question that. A sum of £60 million would cover the budget of the Isle of Wight County Council for a whole year. However, that is what we who still believe in local government try to argue. The bodies to which I referred are generally respected in the community.

An organisation of that kind will have to be established in due course. It is a great tragedy that it cannot be done now because there will be further reorganisation over the next two or three years. It might have been better if we had waited a little longer and got it right in the first place. That is one of the arguments that we put forward with regard to the NCC. We should think of the individuals employed in HMIP who may well have to move on to other bodies or be moved around the country or promoted or demoted according to the body with which we finish up to oversee environmental problems.

As I said earlier, I do not intend to divide the Committee on the issue, but I should be interested to hear a few comments from the Minister upon it. I beg to move.

Lord Hesketh

The proposal of the noble Lord, Lord Ross, to establish an environmental audit commission was made in another place. On that occasion, the amendment was a probing one.

Efficiency in any field, be it environmental or industrial, is obviously something to be applauded, so it is perhaps not surprising for the noble Lord to discover that I agree with several of his points. However, I question his solution. I am sure that the noble Lord does not seek to make the point that our record is one of environmental inactivity. Government departments are making much progress in greening their in-house working practices, for example, through the use of recycled paper products. My department has completed the type of green audit sought by the noble Lord. We found it a very useful exercise, but I would not wish to force it on others. It is widely recognised that environmental audits work well only when there is a commitment to them from the senior management of the organisation. What concerns me is that the commission proposed by the noble Lord would be seen as an unnecessary interference. Far from promoting environmental attitudes, it could cause resentment.

The new schedule also extends to cover the activities of local authorities. That may be all fine and good. I speak for myself and not for the local authorities, which will doubtless have a view. I have a sneaking feeling that, however noble the sentiment, it would not exactly be the work of a moment to get all that off the ground.

The Committee may have noticed that the list of bodies which would be subject to examination under the new schedule does not extend—although there are one or two exceptions—to industry. The schedule therefore creates a bureaucracy to police other bureaucracies.

I sympathise with the underlying objectives. Whether one thinks in terms of formal and statutory green audits or simply an entirely informal new way of thinking, I am sure that all bodies—by no means government departments alone—have much they can profit from in this area. Increasing numbers of people are realising that. There cannot be many major industrialists who are not now seriously examining the benefits of environmentally friendly practices in the widest sense and adopting corporate environmental policies. They do not need a costly bureaucracy to lead them to the water, any more. I think, than do the bodies listed on the noble Lord's amendment. I can assure the Committee that these are matters to which we shall continue to pay the fullest attention, not least in the context of the forthcoming White Paper.

The noble Lord has already said that he will not be moving his amendment because of its hybridity aspects but I hope that he understands the position and where we stand in reply to it.

Lord Ross of Newport

I am grateful to the Minister for his response. It is on record and available. A study of our exchanges may help in formulating the environmental White Paper. The noble Lord may have noticed that I have on a green tie and there is a green handkerchief in my pocket—a suitable colour, I thought in which to be attired today. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 1, as amended agreed to.

7 p.m.

Clause 2 [Prescribed processes and prescribed substances]:

[Amendment No. 25 not moved.]

Baroness Robson of Kiddington moved Amendment No. 26: Page 4, line 19, at the end insert ("except a process to which section (Production, release and labelling of chlorofluorocarbons) below relates, with effect from such relevant date in the case of each process as is therein specified.").

The noble Baroness said: In moving this amendment I shall speak also to Amendment No. 62. Amendment No. 26 is an enabling amendment and Amendment No. 62 contains the body of what we want put into the Bill.

I envisage that the Government's objections will be twofold. First, they will say that the amendment should not form part of the Bill and that we should await the White Paper on the environment and any legislation which arises from it. The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, pointed out that we are unlikely to see any further environmental legislation during the life of the present Government. Whatever happens after that will be too late: the need for action is urgent. I also envisage the Government saying that we mist await the outcome of the 1990 Montreal Protocol meeting. That outcome, in my view, is likely to be inadequate.

I shall not go through Amendment No. 62 in detail, The Committee will remember that I did so when I introduced my Bill on the abolition of CFCs. However, based on what came out of the 1987 Montreal Protocol and what is apparently likely to come out of the 1990 meeting, according to the draft protocol that is available, the danger from the increase of CFCs in the atmosphere is quite frightening.

It is said that close on 16 million tonnes of CFCs were manufactured between 1936 and 1986. Unfortunately it is expected that 8 million tonnes of production will have been added between 1987 and the year 2000. Obviously that is an unacceptable amount in view of the knowledge that we now have about the dangers to the ozone layer.

It is in fact a matter of political will. Other nations have taken unilateral action. In Sweden there is a timetable for abolishing CFCs in aerosols, and virtually all CFCs, by 1995 following legislation introduced in 1989. The legislation extends to other ozone depleting substances, including methylchloroform in solvents used in manufacturing processes. All new manufacture and sales of halons will be abolished by mid-1991 and there will be a complete ban on the use of halons by 1995. Norway will cut its CFCs by 90 per cent. before 1995. Australia's domestic policy includes a 95 per cent. reduction in CFCs by 1995 and their complete phase-out by 1998. Germany proposes to end the production and consumption of CFCs in 1995 and halons in 1996. In addition there will be a total ban on methylchloroform from 1992. So other nations are performing better than this country.

I should like to ask the Government what is their reaction under our commitment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol. The report of Coopers and Lybrand and Deloitte compiled for the Department of Trade and Industry on our performance at local authority level proves that we are not even fulfilling our obligations.

Out of 326 councils questioned about their programmes, only one-fifth had a programme at all. Ozone damaging chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons and halons are found in a wide variety of products. Out of 65 local authorities which have schemes in operation, most projects are aimed solely at domestic refrigerators with many authorities just collecting the machines. Only two authorities were found to be collecting, recovering and recycling refrigerator coolant and there were no authorities considering recovery and recycling of CFCs or halons from foam extinguishers or solvents. From the 261 authorities without schemes, about one-third said that they were planning to implement projects this year. Most of those again will limit themselves to domestic appliances.

A few authorities are planing to tackle industrial coolants. Of the rest, 43 per cent. said that they were considering or had rejected schemes on grounds of cost, administrative difficulties or uncertainties over the supply of refrigerators and demand for the service. The remainder would not yet appear to have considered whether or not to develop a scheme.

That is an indictment of what we in this country have done about the tremendous problem that faces us. It is a matter of political will. We must show that we have such political will. We must put our own house in order. We must be an example to the rest of the world. I have not even touched on the question of what happens when the third world starts using CFCs to a much greater extent. I do not believe that as a nation we can have an influence in the world unless we ourselves have performed our part.

I am particularly saddened by what appears to be the attitude of the United States to the creation of a global fund to help third world countries and enable them to sign the protocol. I believe that if we put our own house in order in the Bill our influence in the world and perhaps in persuading the United States to become active in the setting up of a fund, will save us from what will be an increasing problem. We cannot have that influence unless we put our own house in order. I beg to move.

The Earl of Balfour

The trade name for CFCs is Freon. It is used extensively in refrigerators. Indeed, I do not believe that there is anything better on the market for the ordinary domestic refrigerator. It is still being manufactured for use in the ordinary home fridge/freezer. The advantage in using Freon in refrigerators as opposed to other products is that as a result of its process for making things cold, its pressure is below atmospheric pressure. Therefore, if air leaks into the system the Freon gas does not leak out. On grounds of the cost of manufacturing, I do not believe that there is an alternative. I admit that other materials can be used in many sprays. However, we must bear in mind that many of the other materials substituted in hair sprays and so forth are highly inflammable. A little care must be taken in that respect.

7.15 p.m.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

I support the amendment. I remind the noble Lord, Lord Reay, that we had a number of discussions when debating the Bill relating to CFCs introduced earlier this year by the noble Baroness, Lady Robson. In our final discussion on the Bill the noble Lord said that the Government had listened to what had been said and would take that into account. That led some of us to believe that although the noble Lord said that the Government would not give time for the Bill in another place they were willing to listen to the arguments that had been put forward and accept them when considering their Environmental Protection Bill.

I wish to make clear the fact that in the amendment there is no intention to detract from the Bill's effect. I am sure that the noble Baroness will agree with me. In fact, it is our purpose to strengthen it. Since the Clorofluorocarbons (Control) Bill passed through all its stages in this Chamber the situation has become more urgent. Every release of scientific data shows that urgency. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Reay, read the briefing released yesterday by Greenpeace in preparation for the discussions on the amendments to the Montreal Protocol to be determined next week. As the noble Baroness, Lady Robson, pointed out, the briefing shows that if the original Montreal Protocol is allowed to go ahead as its stands the result will be a 50 per cent. increase in the release of CFCs into the atmosphere between the signing of the protocol in 1987 and the end of the century. No one who has read or listened to anything on the subject is prepared to face the prospects of what that will do to the ozone layer, which has already been damaged for years ahead.

In addition to the effect of CFCs, the noble Lord will recall that I drew to his attention and to the attention of Members of the Committee the fact that many of the substitute gases for CFCs have an effect on the global warming process that the human race cannot afford. Only a few months after the 1987 protocol was signed the signatories admitted that their agreement to a 50 per cent. cut in the use of CFCs by 1999 was inadequate to protect the ozone layer. Now we learn that the draft for 1990 will phase out the use of CFCs by the year 2000.

Last year the United States Environmental Protection Agency published its findings showing that the environmental needs of today require an urgent 100 per cent. cut in the use of CFCs if the ozone layer is to be protected. I believe that the Government recognise that finding as do Members on all sides of the Committee. The noble Baroness, Lady Robson, and I and our supporters are putting forward an opportunity for the Committee to say that the British people recognise the danger to the ozone layer as being virtually scientifically proven—nothing is ever totally proven—together with the effect of that danger on humanity, on the ability of the planet to maintain the human race and on global warming. We must take a lead alongside other countries mentioned by the noble Baroness—Sweden, West Germany, Denmark, Australia, and so forth. I hope that the Government will take that opportunity and will be supported in Committee.

I am also anxious about the effect of what are commonly known as "market forces". If the noble Lord will read the report to which I have already referred from the United States Environmental Protection Agency he will see that the United States estimated that the increase in the price of CFCs during the 1990s will net the chemical companies approximately 5.7 billion dollars. Since the passing of the Chlorofluorocarbons (Control) Bill through this Chamber it is no accident that there has been lobbying from commercial interests, in particular ICI, suggesting that CFCs are not as dangerous to the ozone layer as is generally believed by those who have read the scientific evidence.

Finally, I wish to stress the significance of the first line of Amendment No. 62. It states: The Secretary of State shall determine timetables to prohibit the production and use of". The word "production" is particularly significant. We know that because of consumer resistance the sale of CFC materials in this country has been cut by one half. It is hardly any use to humanity for us to cut the use of CFCs in this country but then to export them to other countries for them to be released there. Therefore, the emphasis is on the abolition of the production according to those timetables.

I point out to the noble Lord who preceded me that as regards the commercial world in this country, there are advantages to be had from the new forms of technology referred to by the noble Baroness. I remind the noble Lord that during the debate on CFCs I brought evidence from the Bird group of companies which claims that in conjunction with the Germans it has developed a method for the decommissioning of refrigerators without the loss of any CFCs either from the coolant or the foam. I quoted from a letter from that group on the CFC Bill which stated that that group could not continue with that unless there was legislation because it is capital intensive. Legislation and financial support are needed for the local authorities to use that method of disposal on refrigerators. Only with that legislation could there be a prevention of the present disposal of refrigerators which releases a large percentage of CFCs into the atmosphere.

This Bill presents an opportunity for including in the Government's legislation timetables and clear powers by the Secretary of State which can put this country along with the leaders of those attempting to save our environment.

Lord Reay

The amendments address a subject of enormous importance. Depletion of the ozone layer is a problem of great consequence. The Government fully share the Committee's interests and anxieties and believe that they are tackling the question in a firm and effective way. I do not need to read the reports by Greenpeace or by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or from any other source to appreciate the importance of the issue and the need for us to do all that we can as soon as possible to reduce and eventually eliminate that global threat.

Protection of the ozone layer is a global problem and requires a global solution. The Montreal Protocol provides the framework for the control of CFCs and other ozone depleting substances. The protocol requires CFC consumption to be cut by 50 per cent. from 1986 levels by 1999. In the UK we achieved that last year—10 years early. However, the protection of the ozone layer is a global problem and requires a global solution. It is pointless for us to try and go it alone. The United Kingdom is responsible for only a small proportion of the world's consumption of CFCs. The protocol is due for revision at the second meeting of the parties which we are hosting in London next week. The meeting of officials which precedes it has already started.

We fully accept that the protocol does not go as far or as fast as it should do. We have played a major role in setting the stance which the European Community should take in these negotiations. That stance proposes cuts in the production and consumption of CFCs of 50 per cent. by 1991–92, 85 per cent. by 1995–96 and a phase out before the year 2000. Those cuts are tougher than those proposed by any other country. We are also committed to phasing out halons by the year 2000, subject to provisions for any genuinely essential uses which may remain beyond that point. Carbon tetrachloride will also be phased out and we must make the steepest cuts possible in methyl chloroform. We are arguing for a 50 per cent. cut by the year 2000.

Therefore, the tenor of the argument of the noble Baroness that other nations are doing better than us is false. Members of the Committee like to trot out the example of Sweden but ignore the fact that there is an important derogation in Swedish legislation. In Sweden companies which still need to use CFCs after the date on which they are prohibited can apply for permission to do so. We cannot tell how much use will be made of that provision but the Swedish position on the phasing out of CFCs under the Montreal Protocol is very similar to our own, and therefore we might assume that the two regulatory approaches would give similar results.

Clearly, if the revised Montreal Protocol is not as strong as we should like, we shall need to consider those areas where we can make even faster progress. The European Commission has already proposed a new regulation, and this will form the basis of discussion after the protocol has been revised. We will seek to ensure that the EC regulation reflects the fastest cuts which it is possible to make, but I have to say that these will not go as fast as those set out in these amendments.

To get rid of ozone depleting chemicals we need to have substitute chemicals or technologies to replace them so that we can continue to benefit from medical aerosols, refrigeration, insulation foam, electronic equipment, metal cleaning processes and fire-fighting equipment, all of which need and use CFCs. New chemicals must be developed. The first of those is already on the way, with British industry playing a leading role.

However, the new chemicals need to be tested for toxic side effects and their own effects on the environment must be established before the chemical companies can build plants for their production and before the refrigeration and other industries can invest in the new equipment and processes needed to use them. That is a long process. To bring forward the phase-out date for CFCs will not make it any quicker. The first of those should be ready for next year, but for others the process will take a great deal longer. For some applications proper toxicity testing and certification will take us close to the end of the century. For those reasons our own proposals for the elimination of CFCs do not go as far as those set out in these amendments.

One particular proposal gives the Government even greater anxiety. Subsection (1)(e) of Amendment No. 62 requires that any substitutes which damage the ozone layer, however slightly, or has a greater green-house effect than carbon dioxide, should have to be eliminated by the year 2000. This would seem to cover the CFC replacements now being developed.

I can think of no surer way to stop the development of these chemicals in its tracks. The new chemicals typically do either no damage to the ozone layer, or do only two to five per cent. of the damage done by the old CFCs. They do contribute to the greenhouse effect, but their contribution is typically only one tenth of that of the CFCs which they replace. The replacement of CFCs by these chemicals, at least until even safer substitutes can be identified, is therefore of great environmental benefit. This provision would stop that process, and make it impossible for us to stop using the far more damaging CFCs until well into the next century. More generally, it makes no sense to decide to ban those chemicals before we have any idea as to what is to replace them.

As I have tried to show, the Government have great sympathy with the objectives of this clause. Our aim is to reduce the emission of ozone depleting substances as quickly as possible. Our proposals for control of CFCs are the toughest of any put forward in the Montreal Protocol renegotiation. We are going as fast as we can, but it makes no sense to legislate for timetables which cannot be achieved. We cannot therefore accept these clauses.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

I should like to ask the noble Lord three questions. First, why does he continue to repeat the canard which he has dragged up from the CFC debate about going it alone? We are not talking about going it alone. As outlined by the noble Baroness, Lady Robson, certain countries in the world are setting the pace. The question is whether or not we should join them; and we are suggesting that we should.

Secondly, the noble Lord says that we have already surpassed the conditions for the Montreal Protocol and he speaks of a 50 per cent. reduction. Is he aware that that is a 50 per cent. reduction in use and not a 50 per cent. reduction in production? That is the point that I made concerning exports.

Thirdly, the noble Lord says that these are unrealisable objectives. I ask him again, as I did during the previous debate, whether he is saying that the British Government know better than the United Nations environmental programme that laid down those deadlines?

Lord Reay

I am glad that the noble Lord agrees with the Government that this is a matter which has to be tackled internationally. I can only repeat that the proposals we are putting forward in the context of the Montreal negotiations, together with our EC partners, are tougher than those proposed by anyone else. Therefore I do not think that there is a sound basis for the complaint of the noble Lord.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

Will the Minister answer my other two questions?

Baroness Robson of Kiddington

I am saddened by the response of the Government, particularly the answer the Minister gave which belittled what the country of my birth is attempting to do on this subject. He said that there are lots of derogations. I have studied the derogations and they are very tight. Even in our proposal there are derogations. We are not insisting that CFCs cannot be used in the treatment of asthma or for pain-relieving purposes. Derogations are inevitably necessary in treating certain conditions. But unless we have a timetable which is tight, the effort will not be expended in meeting it.

I am desperately concerned—as are many noble Lords in the Chamber—regarding the future if each nation has to wait until everybody around the world agrees. The only way to force agreement around the world is to set an example. I want this country to set such an example. I so move.

7.33 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 26) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 45; Not-Contents, 82.

Addington, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.
Airedale, L. Lockwood, B.
Barnett, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. McNair, L.
Meston, L.
Carter, L. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Nicol, B.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L. Parry, L.
David, B. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Dormand of Easington, L. Prys-Davies, L.
Ennals, L. Richard, L.
Ewart-Biggs, B. Robson of Kiddington, B. [Teller.]
Falkland, V.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Roskill, L.
Gallacher, L. Ross of Newport, L.
Galpern, L. Stedman, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Grey, E. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Hampton, L. Tordoff, L.
Hatch of Lusby, L. [Teller.] Walston, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B. White, B.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Jeger, B. Winstanley, L.
Liverpool, E.
Aldington, L. Borthwick, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L. Brougham and Vaux, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Burton, L.
Arran, E. Butterworth, L.
Balfour, E. Caithness, E.
Belstead, L. Campbell of Alloway, L.
Blatch, B. Carnegy of Lour, B.
Blyth, L. Carnock, L.
Clitheroe, L. Mersey, V.
Coleraine, L. Mills, V.
Colwyn, L. Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Craigmyle, L. Mottistone, L.
Craigton, L. Mountevans, L.
Crickhowell, L. Nathan, L.
Cumberlege, B. Nelson of Stafford, L.
Dacre of Glanton, L. Norrie, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B. Orkney, E.
Davidson, V. [Teller.] Orr-Ewing, L.
Denham, L. Radnor, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B. Reay, L.
Elles, B. St. John of Bletso, L.
Erroll, E. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Gisborough, L. Sharples, B.
Glenarthur, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Greenway, L. Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Henley, L. Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Hesketh, L.
Hives, L. Swinton, E.
Hooper, B. Teviot, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L. Torrington, V.
Kinloss, Ly. Trefgarne, L.
Kitchener, E. Ullswater, V.
Lauderdale, E. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Layton, L. Westbury, L.
Long, V. [Teller.] Whitelaw, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Windlesham, L.
Lyell, L. Wynford, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L. Young, B.
Merrivale, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Lord Denham

I think this is the time for us to I adjourn. In moving that the House do now resume, I suggest to the Committee that we should not return to this Bill before 8.45 p.m. I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

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