§ Mr. Gummer
My Department issued a consultation paper on 21 October, inviting comments before 17 November. Some 134 responses had been received by 25 November, including 50 from business and industry, 21 from environmental groups and 10 from local government. A list of responses will be lodged in the Libraries of both Houses and in the Department of the Environment library.
Most of the responses received were supportive of the proposals in the consultation paper, and many offered helpful suggestions that expanded upon the proposals we had made. Some 95 of the responses commented on membership, and 37 suggested topics for the round table's work programme. In the light of this response, and the need to consider all of the suggestions fully before proceeding, I have decided to call the first meeting of the round table early in the New Year, rather than on 13 December, which was mentioned as a possibility in the consultation document.