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House of Commons
Session 1997-98
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Recycled Content of Newsprint Bill
  Clause 1 creates a new legal duty on a newspaper publisher in Great Britain to ensure that a minimum content of recycled paper (whether pre- or post consumer) is contained in the newsprint used by that publisher over a six-month period. The minimum content is set at 40% until 2003, at 65% until 2006, at 70% until 2010 and at 80% thereafter. A publisher is required to make a return to the appropriate authority every six months, setting out, inter alia, the amounts of recycled paper contained in the newsprint used by that publisher. The records, etc. used to compile these returns must be kept for five years.
  Clause 2 gives the appropriate authorities (the Environment Agency in England and Wales and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland) the duty to monitor compliance. For this purpose, the authorities are given the same powers of entry and inspection as are conferred under the Environment Act 1995 as modified by the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (S.I., 1997, No. 648). In particular-
      these powers entitle authorised persons, where necessary, to enter premises, to investigate, to take samples, to require questions to be answered and to require production of records (Clause 2(2) and (3));
      at least seven days' prior notice must be given before entering residential premises and then entry may be made only with the occupier's consent or with a warrant (Clause 2(4));
      a warrant will always be needed where the use of force may be necessary (Clause 2(4));
      no answer to questions that a person is required to give under Clause 2(2) shall be admissible in evidence in any proceedings in England and Wales, or in any criminal proceedings in Scotland (Clause 2(5));
      supplementary provisions relating to the issue of warrants, to the manner of exercising these powers, to the admissibility of evidence, to the securing of premises and for compensation apply, being the same as those set out in Schedule 18 to the Environment Act 1995 (Clause 2(5)).
  Clause 3 requires the authorities to establish a public register comprising the returns provided to them and to ensure public access on standard terms.
  Clause 4 creates standard criminal offences, with the same penalties as provided for in the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations, save that a fine on summary conviction is set at £20,000, in line with the principal offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990; and provides for six-monthly returns to be admissible in legal proceedings.
  Clause 5 provides for the expenditure of money out of public funds.
  Clause 6 contains definitions of some of the key terms used in the Bill.
  Clause 7 provides for any Order in Council which makes similar provision in respect of Northern Ireland to be subject to the negative resolution procedure.
  Clause 8 provides for the Bill to be brought into effect at the beginning of the first six-month period following its passing.
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Prepared 23 April 1998