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Baroness Hilton of Eggardon: I should like to speak to the amendments that are in the same group as Amendment No. 112. I refer to Amendments Nos. 113, 115, 116, 117, 119 and 121, which stand in my name. I strongly support what the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, said about his amendment. One of mine goes rather further and suggests that more than half of the membership of the environment protection advisory committee should be made up of local authority representatives.

My other point in Amendment No. 113 is that the boundaries of the regions should be coterminous and the same as those of the local authorities. Throughout my police service I was bedevilled by different boundaries for police stations, courts, coroner's offices, and so on. It causes absolute chaos. I urge the Minister to accept

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that this straightforward amendment would make the administration of the regions very much simpler and more sensible. It would enable them to relate to local people—quite apart from the local authority members who are represented on the regional committees.

Amendment No. 119 goes further in attempting to get local representation to be balanced and to include the views and expertise of those who have knowledge of pollution control and nature conservation. Amendment No. 121 is merely a consequential definition of what constitutes a local authority.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I rise to support the amendments relating to the question of local authority representation on the regional advisory committees. There is an additional fundamental reason why local authorities should be involved at this level, and I look forward with interest to hearing what my noble friend the Minister has to say about it. That fundamental reason is that the local authorities are the planning authorities. Anybody who has seen a planning permission for waste disposal, which is inevitably and always highly controversial, will realise that it is exceedingly difficult to make a distinction between where a planning permission begins and ends and where the matter of waste regulation begins and ends. The two are intimately and inextricably intertwined. Since the agency is taking over the matter of waste regulation, I believe that the future development of this aspect of its work would be helped enormously if local authorities were intimately involved in discussions at this level at the very least and as of right.

10 p.m.

Baroness Hamwee: Apart from the reasons given by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, I argued at about the same time—a couple of days ago—for the retention of waste regulation as a local authority function. I hope that we shall find a way of coming back to this subject later in the proceedings at a time when we can spend a little longer on it, otherwise we shall inevitably fail to do justice to the very important issues raised by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, and others.

I support the raft of amendments. It will be only second best if local authority input is at the level of advisory committees; but it must be there for waste regulation and in connection with the other functions that the agency will undertake.

Lord Greenway: My Amendment No. 123 is also grouped with these amendments. Looking at the Clock, and bearing in mind what was said earlier, as I wish to speak to the amendment I wonder whether it will be convenient to the Committee if I do not speak to it now but bring forward the amendment again at a later stage. I do not know how the noble Viscount feels about that.

Lord Moran: I would welcome that because I should like to add a word on it as it affects fisheries. As there is minus half a minute, I should much prefer to deal

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with it in a more orderly way at a later stage if that is possible, or talk to the Minister with my noble friend Lord Greenway.

Viscount Ullswater: I am in the hands of the Committee. If the Committee feels that that would be a suitable way to proceed, I am quite content to go along with it.

The new provisions in Clause 12 and Schedule 3 for appointing members to regional environmental protection committees are designed to provide an open and transparent method of ensuring that those committees reflect a wide range of interests in the agency's work in a region.

Amendment No. 112, introduced by my noble friend Lord Jenkin of Roding, seeks to change the agency's duty "to consider any representations" from an advisory committee to a duty "to have regard to" its "recommendations". There is little difference between "considering" and "having regard to" representations or recommendations—in either case they must be taken account of and given due thought. But "representations", in the current wording, would include recommendations and might also include complaints or requests for information. I think my noble friend's proposed formulation is rather narrower than what we have at present.

The group of Amendments Nos. 113, 115, 116 and 121 appears to attempt to ensure significant local authority representation on the agency's regional environment protection advisory committees. I can understand the wish of the noble Baroness to ensure that local authority interests are taken into account in the way the agency carries out its functions in any region, but I do not think this is an appropriate way of going about it. First, by seeking to ensure that regions for these purposes follow local authority boundaries, she is effectively removing the discretion of the agency to decide what the appropriate regions should be. It seems to me important that this should be left for the agency to decide.

Secondly, I do not think that giving local authorities the power to nominate 50 per cent. of the membership of a committee is the best way of ensuring that local interests in general are taken into account. Amendment No. 118 makes a similar proposal, but with one-third elected members for each committee. I should expect to see some local authority members on a committee—although not as representatives, rather as individuals who would play an active part in the work of that body. But I would not wish to specify the numbers that would be included. There are many other organisations and bodies which will need to have a place, and it is important to ensure a balanced membership with a wide range of expertise and experience relating to the agency's functions.

The agency will be required to draw up schemes for the appointment of members, specifying the kinds of organisations or individuals which the agency believes are likely to have a significant interest in the way the agency carries out its functions in that region, and indicating how the membership of the advisory committee is to reflect these different interests. Regional

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interests will be consulted both on the preparation of schemes, and on the appointments to be made under them. The decision on the proportion of local authority membership on a particular committee will be taken in the light of that consultation. I would not wish to limit the effects of this new provision by laying down in the legislation that local authorities would have the power to nominate, with no further consultation, half or one-third of the committee's members.

Amendment No. 117 seeks to establish regional advisory committees made up entirely of elected members. That would be even less appropriate than the noble Baroness's other proposal and I do not believe that it would necessarily result in balanced committees.

Amendment No. 119 proposes further express provision in respect of the balance of members on REPACs. It is by no means clear to me how that could possibly be achieved if Amendment No. 117 were accepted. The provisions for appointing members are designed to ensure that these committees reflect a wide range of interests in the agency's work in a region. These provisions, with their requirements for consultation, will provide an open and transparent way of ensuring a balanced committee; I do not think there is any need for the amendment to make further express provision that representation on the committee should be balanced, and in particular include those with views and expertise on pollution control and nature conservation. Schedule 3 to the Bill should achieve that result; other amendments put forward by the noble Lord and the noble Baroness would not.

Amendment No. 114 proposes that chairmen of REPACs should be elected by the other members. I think it is right that the chairman should be a ministerial appointment. These advisory committees will be important and influential bodies. The Secretary of State, in appointing a person to take on that role, will be under a duty to have regard to the need for appointing someone with relevant experience and expertise, and will be answerable to Parliament for the appointments he makes. With that explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will see fit to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: I shall not detain the Committee at this hour. These are important points, and it is sad that we have had to debate them in a ridiculously short time. I shall reflect upon what my noble friend has said, but we shall want to return to the matter at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn

[Amendments Nos. 113 to 121 not moved.]

Clause 12 agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Environment protection advisory committees]:

Lord Lucas of Chilworth moved Amendment No. 122:

Page 123, line 28, at end insert:
("( ) make provision for inclusion on the advisory committee of a person who has experience in, or knowledge of, the waste management industry.").

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The noble Lord said: This is a different argument from that I deployed when we discussed a similar matter on the first day of Committee. The last series of amendments which were discussed so briefly has thrown up a number of variations in the membership of the advisory committees. That is a point that I would have brought up. It seems to me that I can best serve the Committee by considering what my noble friend the Minister said in relation to the other amendments relating to membership, set that against what I am seeking in the amendment, and come back at a later stage. Upon that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Clause 13 [Regional and local fisheries advisory committees]:

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