HL Deb 26 July 1999 vol 604 cc1355-6

3 Clause 4, page 3, line 29, after ("consequential") insert ("and minor).

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 3. In moving the amendment I shall, with the leave of the House, speak also to Commons Amendment No. 14.

The current regulatory regimes operate under the "polluter pays" principle. The regulator is obliged to recover from operators the full cost of operating the pollution control regimes. What the 1990 legislation does not enable is charges levied by one regulator to recover money spent by another. Under the new control systems, we are looking to achieve a greater degree of co-operation between regulators—in particular, between the Environment Agency and local authorities. This will include, for example, the Environment Agency now drafting certain guidance notes for my right honourable friend the Secretary of State to issue to local authorities. At present, it would not be possible under the 1990 Act to recover the cost of that guidance. The Bill includes provisions to rectify that situation.

However, the provisions in the Bill will only take effect once local authority regulated processes are phased into the new regime. These amendments, therefore, are designed to enable recovery of the cost of producing the guidance during the transitional period between enactment of the Bill and the phase-in date.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 3.—(Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton.)

Lord Renton

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her attempted explanation. However, if we look at Amendment No. 14, which is grouped with Amendment No. 3, we find that it says: The Environmental Protection Act 1990 has effect subject to the following amendments". It then purports to amend Section 8(7) of the 1990 Act. However, if we turn to Schedule 3 to this Bill, we find that Sections 1 to 28 have been repealed. Therefore, how can we be amending Section 8? It seems to me to be the most extraordinary legislative attempt, and one which is not valid. We are attempting to amend something that the Bill says should be repealed. How can that be?

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, my understanding is that the repeal has been included in the schedule so as to enable the reproduction of the provisions in regulations at the appropriate stage.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, it seems to me that we are in a slight procedural hiatus. I entirely understand that part of the 1990 is being repealed in order to permit its, if you like, reincarnation in the form of regulations. But, unfortunately, this particular amendment does not refer to the putative regulations; indeed, it refers to amending the Act. Therefore, I feel bound to support the point made by my noble friend. I am sure that the intention is that those provisions should be transposed into the regulations, but that it not actually what we have in front of us.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, the point here is that this is a transitional measure. The repeal of Sections 1 to 8 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 will not be commenced until the year 2007.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

7 p.m.