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Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday, a Committee of this House reported on the conduct of the Minister for Europe, the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz). One of the many disturbing features of the report was a statement that several important allegations could not be properly investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards because the Minister and some of his close associates in his constituency organisation were not prepared to co-operate with the inquiry.
Is there a way that the commissioner can be asked to reopen the inquiry and that the Minister and his friends and associates can be required to comply with the wishes of the House? I thought that the Government wanted to bust sleaze, but now we have a Minister who does not. Many of us think that the hon. Gentleman should resign while the matter is investigated. Can you advise us on how to pursue that?
Mr. Michael Fabricant (Lichfield): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. At Health questions, the Minister of State, Department of Health, the right hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham), announced that the Secretary of State would make a statement on GP recruitment and retention payments, which are a new Government initiative. However, that was announced on the lunchtime news today, and was also in The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent. Is that not an abuse of the House by a Government who make a habit of abusing the House?
As I said, there is general concern about that. I am worried that, if transportation were stopped, that might cause more of a problem. Would you look favourably on any request for a statement on transportation, Mr. Speaker?
Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Pursuant to your ruling on the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope), would it be appropriate to remove motion 13 from today's Order Paper until the full text has been agreed by European Standing Committee C--on which I too serve--so that it can be considered by the whole House?
Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. A moment or two ago, you indicated that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was coming to make a statement. Could you clarify that, please?
Mr. Stephen O'Brien (Eddisbury): Further to the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Halton (Mr. Twigg), Mr. Speaker. The transportation of infected carcases through Cheshire is causing grave concern. I raised that in a point of order yesterday and, quite rightly, the hon. Member for Halton has referred to farmers' anxieties. No one in the House would condone actions that did not conform with the law but, apart from the dangers of vented trucks carrying carcases passing through an area, neither the police nor the trading standards authorities were informed of the transportation before it took place.
I urge you to use your best offices, Mr. Speaker, to ask the Minister to attend the House as soon as possible so that those matters can receive proper attention and so that assurance can be given to farmers, who are desperately worried.
Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Further to the report in that journal of truth and wisdom, The Sunday Telegraph, to the effect that the application for a passport by Mr. Duncan Fletcher, the excellent Zimbabwe-born coach of the England cricket team, has been refused, have you received any indication from a Minister at the Home Office that he or she intends to come to the House to explain that curious conduct, particularly to assure hon. Members that the rejection is not explained by the fact that Mr. Fletcher is neither a donor to the Labour party nor a sponsor of the millennium dome?
Mr. Fabricant: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This is a separate point of order from my earlier one. First, may I apologise to you, and give an explanation for losing my normal calmness and amiable demeanour following the answer to my question at Health Question Time? May I explain that I was quoting from the South Staffordshire health authority report, so I could not understand why the Minister said that the contents of the report were nonsense? Furthermore--
Mr. Patrick McLoughlin (West Derbyshire): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am grateful to you for showing your understanding and sympathy for constituencies that are badly affected by outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. It is encouraging that you have informed the House that we can expect a statement some time later this week. However, we ought to have had a statement today, following the Prime Minister's summit, because our constituents are ringing us and asking us about the television and radio reports of that meeting. It would have been a little more respectful if the Government had arranged a statement today on these important matters. Many people in my constituency just want information about the restrictions on movement that are being discussed.
The environmental benefits of recycling are clear. It reduces the need for landfill sites, and we should remember that to meet EU targets we must reduce waste to landfill sites by 25 per cent. by 2010, and by 65 per cent. by 2020. We must reduce the need for incinerators and their potential for giving off cancer-inducing dioxins. We need to protect the earth's resources, which continue to be plundered, and we must reduce the potential for pollution.
There are clear cost benefits. Recycling aluminium cans alone could save £21 million a year, and in the process cut greenhouse gas emissions by 95 per cent., compared with the use of raw aluminium. Recycling can create jobs. Wastewatch, the organisation that prepared a report on the subject, found that a 30 per cent. recycling target could create 45,000 new jobs.
The benefits are evident. The question is how much recycling is already undertaken. Nationally, 9 per cent. of household waste is recycled. In Shrewsbury, we are above average, with 11 per cent. household waste recycling covering 87 per cent. of that rural borough. My congratulations go to Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council on what it has achieved, but I know that the council wants to achieve far more.
In their document entitled "Waste Strategy 2000", the Government set out a series of targets. Within two years, 17 per cent. of household waste should be recycled. By 2010, the target is 25 per cent., and by 2020, it is 33 per cent. In the next two years, we need to double the amount of household rubbish being recycled, but after that, the increases tail off. That is not good enough. The targets are too low.
Let us consider the position further afield. In Switzerland, 52 per cent. of rubbish is recycled, and in Holland the figure is 48 per cent. Even the United States, which is renowned for its greedy culture, recycles 22 per cent. In the Scandinavian countries, Austria and Germany, the recycling of half of household rubbish was achieved more than five years ago. The potential is massive, but we need a new partnership between businesses, councils, residents and the Government. In "Recycler Review" this month, it is reported that Daventry district council recycles up to 70 per cent., Wealden council 53 per cent. and Sutton council 44 per cent. I believe that 60 per cent. of household rubbish could be recycled, and that that is achievable in the short term. It is not rocket science; it is simply a case of being serious about recycling.
My Bill would make the process far more efficient by ensuring doorstep collection for all households. We already collect rubbish door to door, so we need only to build on the best available practices and ask people to separate waste ready for collection. Once we have created a recycling network, we can include batteries and electrical goods in addition to newspapers, tin cans, food cans in general, glass bottles and plastics. The cost, about which everybody invariably asks, is £10 per household, or an estimated £240 million a year. Where would that money come from? Last year alone, the landfill tax brought in £462 million, so all I ask is that the Treasury give half that money directly to recycling schemes so that we can extend them nationwide.
The Government--especially my right hon. Friends the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for the Environment--are to be congratulated on their dedication to pushing a green agenda. On 24 October last year, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in a speech to the Green Alliance:
Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Paul Marsden, Mr. David Chaytor, Mr. Lembit Öpik, Sir Sydney Chapman, Valerie Davey, Mr. Don Foster, Dr. Doug Naysmith, Mr. Tom Brake, Ms Joan Walley and Mr. Simon Thomas.