§ Mr. Leslie
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to review and update the waste management policies set out in the 1995 White Paper "Making Waste Work: A Strategy for Sustainable Waste Management in England and Wales". 
§ Mr. Meacher
Reducing the waste we generate, making better use of waste, and ensuring that the remainder is disposed of safely, are all critical components of a more sustainable society. The Government set a high priority on improving our waste management. That is why I am announcing today the preparation of a new waste strategy for England and Wales.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have asked officials, working with the Environment Agency and other interested parties, to begin preparation of the new strategy which will fulfil the requirements of the Environment Act 1995. The first step towards this goal will be a wide public consultation beginning in the Spring of this year, leading to publication of a White Paper in 1999.
The 1995 White Paper "Making Waste Work" set out the previous Government's policy framework for the management of waste, identified ways in which waste could be managed in a more sustainable way and set a number of targets for achieving that aim. It recognised the principles of the waste hierarchy and best practicable environmental option as being at the heart of waste policy, and set out a number of options by which central Government, local authorities, industry and commerce, the waste management industry, householders, and the voluntary and community sectors could help achieve that strategy's aims.
This Government support the broad thrust of the policies set out in the 1995 White Paper but nevertheless believe that the time is now right for a comprehensive review of waste management in England and Wales. I am sure that this will be welcomed by all interested parties. They will want to know what our future priorities will be so that they can plan and invest for them.