|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
The boards objectives will be to promote more sustainable waste management. To achieve those objectives, it will be able to spend money, including giving grants, and to provide advice on relevant matters to London boroughs, the Mayor and others. The London waste and recycling board will not be a waste authority. We propose that it will act in accordance with the Mayors municipal waste management strategy and in general conformity with the London spatial development strategy. In that way, it recognises that the vision and strategy for Londons waste is the Mayors, and that action will have to take place in accordance with that. I see the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) nodding his approval of that.
The board will also have the power to assist boroughs in the performance of any of their waste functions. Many interests in London, including the boroughs, are keen for us to move on that. We therefore propose to set out the details of the membership, constitution and administration of the body as soon as we can after the Bill receives Royal Assent. I commend the amendment to the House.
Robert Neill: I am grateful to the Minister for his introduction of the amendment. As he said, I welcome the Governments approach, as it seems to the Opposition a sensible and pragmatic way forward. I am glad that the Government did not listen to the blandishments of the Mayor of London and some of his supporters who lobbied immensely hard during the passage of the Bill for the creation of a single London waste authority under the Mayors control. In our judgment, that would have been a needless level of bureaucracy. I am glad that we have this sensible way forward, which recognises the importance of the Mayor as the strategy setter and the boroughs as the principal delivery agents.
Unfortunately, the one person who does not seem to be prepared to play ball with that sensible approach is the Mayor, who used his last press conference extraordinarily and petulantly to announce that, because he did not like the composition of the waste board, he would not chair it or contribute the £6 million to which he had previously agreed. As the Minister will know, and the House should know, the board is to be funded to the tune of £25 million, with £19 million coming from the Government and £6 million from the Greater London authority. If anything more aptly demonstrates the unfitness of the current Mayor for office, it is his childish, arrogant and destructive attitude towards the establishment of the board. He has effectively said, I dont like what Ive been given, and Im going to take my toys away, which demonstrates his unwillingness to tackle serious issues. He wanted something that gave him more power, but this is a sensible compromise, as all parties in the House recognise. If he is to serve the interests of London seriously, it behoves him to try to work with what he is given and pull things together.
In that context, will the Minister tell us how the Government intend to deal with their unruly childthe Mayorand bring him to heel and into co-operation? I appreciate that that is like asking the Minister how he herds cats, but I will none the less press him a little on the matter. I welcome the intention to set up the board and am grateful for the Ministers confirmation of that. I look forward to hearing the detail of the shadow board in due course. How do the Government propose to deal with the negative impact on waste and recycling in London of the Mayors apparent lack of co-operation? What do they intend to do about the potential £6 million funding gap, due to the Mayors petulance? Are there means by which the Mayor can be made to keep to the bargain, as he should be? If not, how would the funding be made up? Is recycling in London to suffer because of the Mayors petulance?
Tom Brake: I am pleased that the Mayor will not control collections, because I think that that should be the boroughs responsibility. We should welcome the fact that boroughs are being given the potential to develop schemes of their own, and to identify best practice that can then be spread to and maintained in other boroughs.
For the purpose of achieving its objectives, the Board may provide advice on such matters
(a) the Mayor;
(b) any London borough council;
(c) the Common Council;
(d) such other persons as the Board thinks fit.
Picking up a point made by the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill), may I ask whether the Minister has had time to assess the impact of the Mayors withdrawal of funds? Has he a view on what will have to be cut, or will not be done, as a result of the Ministers spitting out his dummy and withdrawing £6 million from the board?
As for the Mayors role, it has been our consistent belief that the board will benefit from the strategic direction of the Mayor as chair. It has also been our consistent view that the board and its functions will help to produce a significant change in waste management operations and recycling performance across London. Ultimately, however, the Mayors participation is a matter for him.
John Healey: We propose a number of amendments to the climate change clauses, following valuable scrutiny of the Bill in the other place. They are intended to sharpen the consideration and priority that the Greater London authority gives to climate change in exercising its functions.
I shall try to deal with the amendments fairly briefly. Among the most significant is amendment No. 18, which requires that in considering whether or how to exercise the authoritys general power, the Mayor must have regard to the effect that that would have on climate change and its consequences in general and global terms, as opposed to only in relation to Greater London. In view of the nature of climate change, I think Members in all parties will accept that it stands to reason that the Mayor should have regard to climate change issues beyond the boundaries of the Greater London area.
Amendment No. 19 requires the Mayor, when exercising the authoritys general power, to do so in the way that is best calculated to contribute to the mitigation of or adaptation to climate change in the United Kingdom.
Amendment No. 20 introduces a new clause placing a duty on the Mayor to have regard to climate change and the consequences of climate change in either preparing or reviewing his various strategies. Amendments Nos. 23 and 29 give the Mayor the flexibility to go beyond national policy on climate change mitigation, while ensuring that his strategy is not inconsistent with national policies. The amendments will also require the Mayor to act within the boundaries of national energy policy objectives, although the use of the word objectives underlines that we are seeking the Mayor's assistance with high-level goals of energy policy such as security of supply and more competitive energy markets, rather than his assistance or conformity with specific national policy measures.
Amendments Nos. 24, 25, 26 and 28 require that the London climate change mitigation and energy strategy should contain information on levels of relevant emissions and include the Mayor's proposals and policies for minimising emissions of other significant greenhouse substances in addition to carbon dioxide.
Amendment No. 27 requires that, in setting out the policies and proposals in the strategy for supporting innovation and encouraging investment in energy technologies in Greater London, the Mayor must have regard to the desirability of advancing energy technologies that involve the emission of lower levels of substances that contribute to climate change. We recognise that the Mayor is likely to want to focus on low-carbon technologies. After all, carbon dioxide is the major contributor to climate change, but we want to keep open the possibility that he might also support technologies that are important to other energy goals.
Robert Neill: I am grateful to the Minister for the way that he has introduced the amendments. We have no issue with them; they are sensible amendments. The point about climate change knowing no boundaries is obviously well made. Various independent bodies have made the valid criticism that some of the other mayoral strategies have been, if anything, too inward looking and have not had enough regard to London's impact on the rest of the south-east. I hope that that sensibly broader approach will be something of a precedent for the way in which the Mayor deals with other statutory strategies that he has. The London plan is one that was criticised for being a bit too London-centric and for not looking enough at the linkages. Therefore, the provision is a step in the right direction in that regard.
I welcome the fact that the Government are adopting a fairly high-level and light-touch approach to their requirements of the Mayor in relation to those strategies. That could profitably be employed for the requirements that the Mayor has of the boroughs in relation to his other strategies.
I support the amendments without equivocation. As the Minister said, they are about sharpening the consideration and priority of issues to
do with climate change, which we support. In Committee, our concern was that the Mayor was going to be held back in relation to what he could do for climate change because of the linkage with national Government policies. Therefore, I welcome the additional flexibility that the Mayor has been given in that respect.
John Healey: Both amendments respond to recommendations from the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. It is right that they do so. They have been welcomed in the other place and I hope that they will be supported by hon. Members.
John Healey: Confirmation hearings, as set out in schedule 1 to the Bill, provide an important new power for the Assembly to exercise scrutiny over the important appointments that the Mayor makes. We have listened to arguments and concerns to ensure that the Assembly has sufficient time within the specified three-week period to exercise its proper role in carrying out confirmation hearings. The amendments ensure that the Assembly in all circumstances, including immediately after an election, will be able to do so. It also makes minor changes to improve the process by which decisions over confirmation hearings may be taken. I hope again that they will command the support of the House.
We accept the Ministers sensible amendments. The principle of confirmation hearings is, I concede, an area of the Bill where there is a step forward, which is welcome, but it does not go far enough and we would like to have strengthened the measure and extended the range from the previous debates. However, it would be churlish not to welcome the acceptance of the principle, which I hope can be
built on in the future. My final comment on the Bill will be that, as the Minister knows, our stance is that there are a number of missed opportunities and that there is unfinished business to which a future Government will have to return.
Tom Brake: I support the amendments with the same caveats about confirmation hearings. When we debated the matter in Committee, we were keen to see an extension to the range of people who could be subject to confirmation hearings. That has not been the case but we support these individual amendments.
Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendments Nos. 1 and 2: Tom Brake, John Healey, Chris Mole, Robert Neill and Mr. Dave Watts to be members of the Committee; John Healey to be the Chairman of the Committee; Three to be the quorum of the Committee. [ Mr. Watts. ]
That the following provisions shall apply to the Further Education and Training Bill [ Lords] for the purpose of supplementing the Order of 21st May 2007 (Further Education and Training Bill [ Lords] (Programme)):
Consideration of Lords Message
1. Proceedings on consideration of the Lords Message shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement at this days sitting.
2. Any further Message from the Lords may be considered forthwith without any Question being put.
3. The proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement. [Liz Blackman .]
The Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education (Bill Rammell): I beg to move, That this House does not insist on Commons amendments Nos. 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 to which the Lords have disagreed, but proposes amendments (a) to (f) to the Bill in lieu of the Commons amendments.
In July, the House sent the Bill to another place with amendments, following a period of intense scrutiny. The amendments, which addressed our intention to intervene in unsatisfactory further education provision, were disagreed to in the other place, which gave as its reasons:
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|