HC Deb 25 November 1991 vol 199 cc369-70W
Mr. Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how he proposes to allocate resources in 1992–93 for waste disposal from within the local authority other services block.

Mr. Heseltine

I have decided that more investment in waste disposal facilities is needed so as to improve environmental standards. However, this cannot be achieved because local authority investment is necessarily restricted by public expenditure considerations. I have therefore decided that in future, investment in new facilities or major improvements in existing facilities will be drawn from the private sector unless there are overwhelming arguments to the contrary. To bring into effect these arrangements, I have decided that all capital expenditure resources for waste disposal within the other services block should be allocated by way of supplementary credit approvals (SCAs). These are divided between four main programmes as follows:

1992–93 £ million
Landfill gas/contaminated land 25
Recycling 15
Incinerators 10
Waste disposal (main progamme) 50

Furthermore, I have decided that in line with the Government's policy of increasing the role of the private sector in the disposal of municipal waste, main programme waste disposal schemes, and incinerators, will be considered for supplementary credit approvals only if they fall within the following categories:

  1. (a) expenditure which is contractually committed on 25 November 1991;
  2. (b) works necessary to make good and maintain sites and facilities which will not be transferred to the private sector;
  3. (c) essential works necessary to keep sites and facilities operational until they can be transferred to the private sector, or until alternative private sector sites and facilities can be provided;
  4. (d) investment in existing sites and facilities for which the authority have been unable to attract private sector investment, or secure satisfactory alternative provision from the private sector;
  5. (e) expenditure related to authorities' regulatory functions.

These criteria do not affect the requirement under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for authorities to devolve operational control to a Local Authority Waste Disposal Company (LAWDC), joint venture, or private company.

My Department will be writing to waste disposal authorities to let them know the detailed arrangements under which these SCAs will be allocated.

The scope of the current programme of SCAs for landfill gas has been extended to include work on land contaminated by other pollutants.