HL Deb 13 November 2003 vol 654 c1676

2 Clause 2, page 1, line 7, leave out Clause 2

Lord Whitty

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2. The government amendment removes Clause 2 from the Bill that left this House. Clause 2 placed a duty on the Secretary of State to make regulations to implement aspects of the Water Framework Directive. That clause as it stood when it left this House did not transpose the directive and in some respects went beyond its requirements. An enabling power to transpose the directive already exists in the European Communities Act 1972. The Government published a third consultation paper, in August, with proposed draft transposing regulations. October marked the end of successive government consultations on transposition, which started in March 2001.

As with most European legislation, it has been the longstanding practice, agreed in the House and used by successive governments, to transpose European legislation using the European Communities Act. The regulations will of course come to Parliament in the normal way.

The Government obviously are already under a legal obligation to implement the directive because it is a piece of European legislation. No specific provision along the lines proposed in Amendment No. 2A is necessary. Indeed, it would duplicate the powers under the European Communities Act.

The Government's proposed regulations to transpose the directive, which were published in August, already contain regulations transposing Articles 5 and 8, to which the noble Baroness's amendment refers. The corresponding draft regulations are already there. No further provision along the lines of subsections (2) and (3) of the amendment is therefore needed in the Bill.

I therefore hope that the noble Baroness, and others who support the amendment, will recognise that it would be counterproductive and duplication to provide this provision under the Bill, and that the normal procedure should apply to the Water Framework Directive as it applies to the vast majority of European legislation and regulation.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2.—(Lord Whitty.)