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Mrs. Gorman: Sixty thousand to 80,000.

Mr. Gray: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for correcting me. Those incidents are largely a result of the landfill tax. How much extra fly tipping will the Bill cause?

We would all like our rubbish to be incinerated rather than put in landfill sites. Will the Bill affect rubbish incineration sites? Will it affect waste-to-energy sites?

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The Minister might like to consult his officials before he responds so that he can tell us whether they are included. If they are, he might like to tell us whether the regulations will make it easier or more difficult to set up a waste-to-electricity site.

In my rural constituency I am particularly concerned about farmers. I have several poultry farmers and a large number of pig farmers. Thanks to the Government's two years in office, my pig farmers are nearly all going out of business. Anyone who attended the Royal Bath and West show last week will know that--the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was concerned by what he saw of the pig farmers. We have told our pig farmers to get rid of their stalls and tethers, their prices have gone through the floor, and they are worse off than European pig farmers and going bankrupt--and now we are going to regulate what they do with their pig dung and invite the local authority and people near the farm to tell us what they think about it. Those of us who are green and organic would much rather chicken and pig dung was used on the fields instead of fertilisers--although the Minister for the Environment may differ from that view--but it smells and attracts flies. If we invite every villager in the surrounding area to complain and use the legislation to stop the farmer from using dung, the cost of disposing of it and growing the produce in the fields where it is currently used will increase. The Bill will have a significant effect on pig and chicken farmers in my constituency and elsewhere. I do not believe that the Government have taken proper account of the damage that the Bill will do to them.

Small businesses have been mentioned a great deal during the debate. They concern us all, particularly the Conservatives, because we are the party of small businesses. The Minister has shown that the Government are not excessively concerned. Small businesses may be bad polluters individually, but the percentage of pollution that they produce collectively is relatively small. The Bill may bear down particularly heavily on small individual polluters, even though 70 per cent. of all pollution is produced by the chemical industry. The Minister might like to consult more fully with the Federation of Small Businesses on its concerns about the Bill. He might care to respond to the federation's submission before the Bill goes to Committee. In Committee he might like to find ways of addressing its reasonable worries.

I have concerns about the format of the Bill and its practical effects. It is easy to talk about it as a tidying-up measure. Throughout the debates in the other place, Lord Whitty consistently said that the Bill was a small administrative matter and the Government were tidying up so that we have one pollution control system instead of three. He told us not to worry, because it was just a small matter of implementing a European directive that the Government would get through on a one-line Whip on a quiet evening. Some 6,000 extra businesses will be covered. It is important to look carefully at what the Bill will mean to them.

This is a baby and bath water Bill. We want to know which babies will be thrown out with the bath water. Which babies are in the bath? Is the bath gold plated? The Minister is not listening, or he might appreciate my reference. We want to know what will happen. Which businesses will be terminally affected? Which pig farmers or chicken farmers--already on their uppers thanks to the Government--will go out of business as a result of the

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Bill? Above all, what will the Minister do to protect small businesses, to whose representations the Government have been notably reluctant to listen?

7.10 pm

Mr. Nick Ainger (West Carmarthen and South Pembrokeshire): I congratulate the Government on introducing the legislation. Throughout the 1990s, I have been involved in dealing with the effects of an application by National Power to burn orimulsion at Pembroke power station in my constituency. In an unconnected incident, the Sea Empress ran aground at the mouth of Milford Haven resulting in what is still the sixth worst oil pollution incident in the world. I therefore have some knowledge of pollution and integrated pollution control.

What followed the application by National Power was a model of how not to regulate the potential for pollution. In 1991, the company made an application to burn orimulsion at its then oil-burning power station. It finally withdrew the application, which had gone through various processes, in the summer of 1997, although no decision had been reached. The process probably cost the company in the region of £2 million to £3 million. The three local authorities involved also put in a great deal of expenditure and staff time.

The matter was originally dealt with by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, which then became the Environment Agency. Obviously, massive amounts of staff time were devoted to the application. The Countryside Council for Wales was also heavily involved in respect of environmental impact, both marine and land. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was also involved in respect of potential marine pollution resulting from the importation of orimulsion, and the Welsh Office was involved in planning and environmental protection matters.

Despite the involvement of all those agencies, no decision was reached. When, some six years after the original application, the Department of Trade and Industry decided--rightly, in my view--that there should be a public inquiry, the company decided to withdraw the application.

A holistic approach and a truly integrated system of pollution prevention and control are clearly needed. Although I take on board some of the comments made by Opposition Members about the Environmental Protection Act 1990, that measure did not deliver in respect of a large, complex and expensive project--it would have cost £500 million to convert Pembroke power station. When the directive is incorporated in British law, it will make the system more effective and efficient and I am sure business will welcome that.

I turn to the comments of Opposition Members, particularly in relation to competition. Again, I refer to National Power and its plan to burn orimulsion. What really annoyed National Power was the fact that PowerGen, its prime competitor in power generation in the United Kingdom, was burning orimulsion without any of the pollution controls that the Environmental Protection Agency would have imposed on National Power. The same applies to other industries that have not reached the same point in the integration of pollution control, particularly in continental Europe.

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About a year ago I saw the pollution that was emitted by the refineries in Algeciras, in southern Spain. I do not know whether it was part of the Spanish Government's attitude to Gibraltar, but whenever I looked over at Algeciras, the pollution was blowing straight over Gibraltar. The refineries at Milford Haven in my constituency, where top-quality management insists on the highest environmental standards, are competing with refineries in Algeciras and elsewhere around the Mediterranean where there seem to be many old and rather dirty oil refineries which clearly have not made the same investments as British refineries. It is unfair competition.

The hon. Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Gray) should realise that because the directive applies throughout Europe, it will improve the competitive position of British companies. I accept his point about Germany, but because we have made the necessary investment, we are very close to the German position in a number of respects. It is unfair that British companies, particularly in the oil refining and power generation industries, have to compete with refineries and power stations in continental Europe which have not implemented top-quality pollution controls.

Mr. Gray: I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman about the offshore oil industry. What does he think about the pig industry, and the fact that stalls and tethers have been banned in the United Kingdom, but not in Europe? The Bill will drive our pig farmers out of business.

Mr. Ainger: No pig farmer has ever told me that the problems in the pig industry--which are cyclical, not structural--resulted from the banning of stall and tether. Like the hon. Gentleman, I represent a rural constituency where there are pig farmers, and none of them has made that point. There is a cyclical problem, which in many cases relates to overproduction, which in turn is creating difficulties for pig farmers. The animal welfare issues are not to blame.

Ms Glenda Jackson: I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware, even though the hon. Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Gray) is not, that in respect of pigs and chickens there is a requirement to apply the integrated pollution prevention control directive that was brought into being by the former boss of the hon. Member for North Wiltshire, the right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer). I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware that there are no proposals whatever to adopt lower thresholds than those in that directive.

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