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4.5 p.m.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, I beg to second my noble friend's Motion for a humble Address in reply to Her Majesty's most gracious Speech.

It is an honour to have been invited by my noble friend the Leader of the House and the Chief Whip to second this Motion and I thank them for allowing me the privilege. I must also record my pleasure at seconding a Motion moved by my noble friend Lord Wade of Chorlton. His knowledge and experience across many issues is impressive but even more impressive is the lucid manner in which my noble friend always delivers the goods. Today has been no exception.

The television lady from Cleveland may have got it wrong. I believe that many Americans would spend a lot of money to look, if they could, like my noble friend Lord Wade of Chorlton. Certainly, I believe, most people in this country would rather look like my noble friend than an American politician.

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I owe an apology to the House in that not having served in the Armed Forces, I am not in uniform. I am a member of the Royal Company of Archers—in one sense an armed force as we carry bows—which is Her Majesty's bodyguard in Scotland, and I am wearing the regimental tie. However, the regulations of that body prevent my wearing the full uniform this afternoon. Nonetheless, I extend sincere apologies to noble Lords.

I would, however, assure your Lordships that I have especial reason to respect the precedent and procedure of the House. I have a reminder of this at home in the form of the Sun newspaper dated Monday 9th October 1820. On 6th and 7th October that year my forebear, Lady Charlotte Lindsay, was summoned to the House as a witness during the trial of Queen Caroline. Lady Charlotte had been a Lady of the Bedchamber on the Queen's trip to Italy. That trip generated considerable speculation, not least about personal conduct and public life.

With the House in a determined mood, the Sun newspaper had no need of its own intrepid sleuths. Virtually every column inch of the paper was devoted to their Lordships' inquisition on the significance of certain Italian bedrooms, baths, sofas, tents, carriages, and even three-masted schooners. Few details escaped the House's persistent scrutiny and even the donkeys and asses involved attracted questions. Then, as now, whether it is a matter of Italian sofas or three-masted schooners, there are few subjects on which this House cannot boast expertise and experience from among its members.

That copy of the Sun newspaper may also reflect enduring traits about institutions other than this House. In the editorial the then editor lavishly congratulated himself on his principles and his refusal, mid-trial, to comment or prejudge. Having got that out of the way, he then stated that he owed it to his readers to repeat the allegations and speculation being printed by his unprincipled rivals, which he did in detail.

Finally, as an exclusive for Sun readers, and recommended by the editor for its wisdom, he printed some completely unrestrained comment from an anonymous source. There are some familiar inconsistencies here which have survived the test of time remarkably well though the modern reader now pays very much less for such creative skills. The seven old pence cover price in 1820 for a single broadsheet spread with one fold would equate to £1.40 today.

However, while today's journalism may cost the reader less, I believe it probably costs the environment very much more. A single tree could produce perhaps 7,000 copies of that 1820 copy of the Sun. Now it takes a whole tree to produce just 500 copies of the Guardian. Noble Lords will no doubt differ as to whether 500 copies of the Guardian qualify as a sustainable use of a tree, let alone the 800 trees required per day for its complete circulation. But, on the same basis, one might easily assume that it takes 500 trees and a truck load of chemicals to produce one copy of the Sunday Times. In fact, a single issue of the Sunday Times could involve somewhere around 3,000 trees. Whatever the statistics and whatever the newspaper, there is an irony. Newspapers have made themselves indispensable and

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one of the duties they see themselves delivering on our behalf is that of environmental watchdogs. We rely on them to point accusatory fingers at those who cause deforestation or polluting emissions to land, air and water or escalating volumes of waste, yet we forget that the messengers, vital as they may be, are partly implicated in their own bad tidings.

The newspaper industry serves mainly as a colourful and somewhat unusual example of a much wider reality, a reality which underlies one of the main features of Her Majesty's most gracious Speech. Many of the goods and services which we see as being essential for a given standard of life involve some impact on the environment, be it newspapers, industry or waste management, power generation, transport or food, or the millions of jobs they generate. Our needs cannot avoid making demands on, and emissions to, land, air and water.

It is often said that environmental emissions have little respect for international boundaries. It is equally true to say that such emissions have even less respect for barriers between the natural elements. Airborne pollution can contaminate land and water as easily as land pollution can contaminate water and air. Furthermore, some processes involve simultaneous emissions to the different elements. Environmental impacts, however and wherever they occur, become inter-related, and as such are part of a larger and more complex process. The challenge is to manage that process in the light of both the needs of the environment and the needs of humanity. They are inextricably linked, and if either is managed in isolation of the other neither will ultimately benefit.

Environmental protection clearly requires a strategic, multi-skilled, multi-disciplinary response. It requires a careful analysis of options and their consequences. Many potential solutions generate fresh costs, be they environmental, commercial or social, and the assessment of problems and options must be comprehensive.

I therefore greatly welcome the reference in Her Majesty's gracious Speech to legislation for an environment agency. It draws together Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution, the National Rivers Authority and the waste regulation authorities. As separate entities these three have been excellent, and the reputations of HMIP and the NRA stretch well beyond these shores. The NRA deserves special mention in this House because of the success with which my noble friend Lord Crickhowell has galvanised it into being one of the best of its kind in the world.

However, the potential limitations of different types of emissions and impact being dealt with by separate agencies have become apparent. The new agency will deliver more effective and efficient environmental protection through the strategic integration of the many skills required. I should add that integrated pollution control is a concept in which we are world leaders, and we are even exporting it to Brussels and the European Commission in a novel reversal of the normal flow of legislation.

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I also welcome the fact that the environment agency Bill will deal with contaminated land and the pollution associated with old mine workings. I must credit the thorough assessment and consultation which have marked the Government's approach to solving those difficult problems. I have had experience in other countries of how an impulsive or hasty response to that challenge is at best inadequate and at worst an expensive disaster.

It is especially timely that environmental matters should be so prominent in Her Majesty's gracious Speech. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales last week opened a major conference on urban growth and the environment, as its joint president. His Royal Highness's profound commitment to our future, whatever its difficulties or challenges, is undaunted and unstinting. Our commitment to his future should be equally profound, undaunted and unstinting.

Like my noble friend, I am delighted by the reference in the gracious Speech to an agricultural tenancies Bill for England and Wales. As a farmer, albeit north of the Border, I am very aware of how important that Bill promises to be. I am also aware of the amount of preparation that that Bill has entailed and the extent to which all sides of the agricultural industry have been consulted on the nature of the reforms needed. The result will be new and increased opportunities for would-be farmers. That in turn will be good for the countryside and the rural economy.

The gracious Speech announced a criminal justice Bill for Scotland. That is very welcome. It proposes measures to modernise Scottish court procedures, in particular by strengthening the system of intermediate diets, a system which has already done much to reduce unnecessary attendance at court by police and other witnesses. The provisions on bail should minimise the risk of criminals abusing the grant of bail. The provisions on confiscation and forfeiture not only give substantial effect to the very recent report of the Scottish Law Commission but will provide the courts with new machinery to ensure that criminals do not profit from crimes.

The health authorities Bill announced in the gracious Speech heralds further welcome reforms to the NHS. These measures will create a single, streamlined, central management structure. They will support and extend the successful reforms put in place in 1990. At the same time, those new reforms will cut bureaucracy and, with it, management costs. Savings of around £150 million per year will be available to be reinvested in better patient care. That is good news for patients. It will also lead to even better use being made of the substantial resources we invest in our health service.

In addition, Her Majesty's gracious Speech made reference to the mental health Bill. This will both protect the public and improve care for those who need it most. It will ensure that people with a mental disorder who may present a danger to others are subject to a clear legal constraint to comply with the care plan that has been arranged for them when they are discharged. It will also improve the care provided for mentally ill people by ensuring that priority is given to those who need the

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services most and by helping to prevent breakdown in care arrangements and thus end the cycle of repeated admission to hospital.

I thank your Lordships for listening with the patience and forbearance which this House always accords speakers.

My Lords, I beg to second my noble friend's Motion for a humble Address in reply to Her Majesty's most gracious Speech.

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