§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the maximum fine for offences under the Control of Pollution Act.
§ Mr. Moynihan
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Water and Planning to my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Mr. Conway) on 22 March 1989 at column631.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
The Department of the Environment and the Welsh Office have today issued a consultation paper which sets out proposals for a new charging system to recover the costs incurred by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in implementing the system of integrated pollution control (IPC) of the major industrial dischargers of air and water pollutants and wastes.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution's costs in granting integrated authorisations, sampling and monitoring discharges and enforcing the controls will be borne by the dischargers themselves rather than the general taxpayers, as happens at present.
This is an important extension of the principle that polluters should pay the costs of protecting the environment from their activities.
The proposed charges would cover about 70 to 75 per cent. of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution's total expenditures associated with integrated pollution control. They would fully recover the costs of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution's authorisation and inspection functions under IPC. They would not cover such Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution activities as support for policy development that serve wider Government objectives.
In working up these proposals, the Departments have paid particular attention to ensuring that the system is both practicable to administer and equitable. So a large site with a higher potential to pollute would pay substantially more than a smaller, less-polluting site.
Similar cost-recovery charging systems are levied in other European countries such as Germany and France.
The Government will finalise the details of the charging scheme in the light of the views expressed by interested bodies in response to this consultation paper.