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Division No. 201
[5.26 pm


AYES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Ashton, Joe
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Ballard, Jackie
Barnes, Harry
Beard, Nigel
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Borrow, David
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chaytor, David
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Cohen, Harry
Collins, Tim
Colvin, Michael
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Curry, Rt Hon David
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Dawson, Hilton
Day, Stephen
Donohoe, Brian H
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Duncan, Alan
Edwards, Huw
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fallon, Michael
Fearn, Ronnie
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibb, Nick
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gill, Christopher
Godman, Dr Norman A
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Heald, Oliver
Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Hinchliffe, David
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Key, Robert
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Lidington, David
Livingstone, Ken
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Love, Andrew
Luff, Peter
McDonnell, John
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
May, Mrs Theresa
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Mountford, Kali
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Nicholls, Patrick
Oaten, Mark
O'Hara, Eddie
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pendry, Tom
Pickles, Eric
Pike, Peter L
Pond, Chris
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Sarwar, Mohammad
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spring, Richard
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stringer, Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Syms, Robert
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Townend, John
Trend, Michael
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Vis, Dr Rudi
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve
White, Brian
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Wise, Audrey
Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. James Gray and
Mr. Andrew Robathan.


NOES


Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Eric Forth and
Mr. John Bercow.

Question accordingly agreed to.

8 Jun 1999 : Column 495

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Tony Baldry, Mr. Roy Beggs, Mrs. Angela Browning, Mr. David Curry, Mr. David Faber, Mr. Douglas Hogg, Mr. Lindsay Hoyle, Mr. Archy Kirkwood, Mr. David Prior, Angela Smith and Mr. Tim Yeo.

Animal Welfare (Prohibition of Imports)

Mr. Tony Baldry accordingly presented a Bill to make it illegal to import into the United Kingdom any meat or food product originating from any country where animal welfare standards are not certified as being equivalent to animal welfare standards in the United Kingdom: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 11 June, and to be printed[Bill 113].

8 Jun 1999 : Column 496

Orders of the Day

Pollution Prevention and Control Bill [Lords]

Order for Second Reading read.

5.38 pm

The Minister for the Environment (Mr. Michael Meacher): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The Bill is short but important. It flows from a piece of European legislation--the integrated pollution prevention and control directive, which the United Kingdom and, to be fair, the previous Government can be rightly proud of pioneering. It is, if I may use a famous phrase, a win, win, win Bill. It will be good for the environment, for industry, for local people and for local democracy. What is more, the benefits will be reaped across the whole of Europe. Integrated pollution prevention and control is an example of the European Union at its best, improving the quality of life for all citizens and extending a level playing field on which industry may compete. It is an example of how well the EU can be made to work when there is constructive engagement from the UK.

Much in the Bill is not new. The directive's roots are firmly planted in current UK pollution control regimes, and I shall explain briefly how those work. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 established a number of pollution control regimes. In particular, it established integrated pollution control and local air pollution control. The integrated approach was first put forward by the royal commission on environmental pollution in 1976 to tackle difficult industrial problems at source, whether they affect air, water or land.

Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York): Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Meacher: I am just starting to explain the background. I will give way, but I suggest that the hon. Lady should allow me to make a little progress.

The royal commission cited a ridiculous case in which a company had been required to use water to prevent gaseous fluoride from causing air pollution. The contaminated water ended up in sewage sludge, which was in turn spread on grazing land--the cattle developed fluorosis and a minor air pollution problem became a serious land pollution problem.

The integrated pollution control regime covers around 2,000 industrial processes in England and Wales and about 200 in Scotland. It is operated by the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. It affects mainly the power generation, oil refining, metal, mineral and waste disposal industries--in other words, in general big installations with significant potential to pollute.

Miss McIntosh rose--

Mr. Meacher: I can see that the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) is not going to allow me to proceed, so she had better make her point.

Miss McIntosh: I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. Is he aware that the directive now extends

8 Jun 1999 : Column 497

to pig farms? Did the Government intend that it should do so? Did Labour Members of the European Parliament draft an amendment to extend it to pig farms under his instructions, although those farmers are suffering difficult competitive conditions?

Mr. Meacher: As I said, the integrated pollution and prevention control regime originated in Europe under the previous Government. The extension to intensive pig and poultry installations is, indeed, part of the IPPC directive. I am surprised that the hon. Lady has raised that point because the previous Conservative Government agreed the directive in Europe. We certainly take the view that that extension is perfectly sensible and proper.

I was explaining the existing IPC regime. Under the parallel system of local air pollution control, local authorities regulate about 13,000 less polluting processes for emissions to air only. The regimes require an operator to have a permit before he or she can operate a specified process. The regulator then sets conditions on the permit to require the use of the best available technology not entailing excessive costs--to use the awful acronym, BATNEEC--to prevent or minimise polluting emissions.

At their core, the regimes are based on a site-specific, case-by-case judgment about the best cost-effective pollution control for that plant. It is an approach that ensures sensitivity to local conditions and to the circumstances of the operator. It is much more effective and efficient than, say, a rigid set of emission standards.

This flexible approach can reduce the operator's costs. I shall give an example. Permit conditions for coal handling usually require that a wheel washing machine, costing around £40,000, be installed to remove coal dust. My Department decided an appeal where an operator had covered his yard in tarmac and was scrupulous about maintaining and cleaning his site. In the circumstances, the equipment was not necessary.

The IPPC directive now extends those principles throughout the European Union.


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