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The Earl of Lytton: My Lords, clearly, this is not an amendment that I propose to press this evening. I must say that I have some reservations. The noble Viscount said that it was open for a person accused of a pollution incident to challenge the evidence given. It is a little difficult to conceive how he could be protected if he does not have the sample or part of the sample. I can only suppose that natural justice and the due process of law—I am afraid that I do not have any direct knowledge in this area—would mean that a court would perhaps look askance if the regulatory authority had not adopted best practice in making information available to the fullest extent to the person accused. I think there is an important point that I shall have to consider further; but for the time being I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 251B not moved.]

Clause 95 [Power of Secretary of State to delegate his functions of determining, or to refer matters involved in, appeals]:

[Amendment No. 252 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 253 not moved.]

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon moved Amendment No. 253A:

After Clause 95, insert the following new clause:

("Application for waste management licence: advertisement

.—(1) Subject to subsection (4), below—
(a) an application to an enforcing authority for—
(i) a waste management licence under Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990; or
(ii) an authorisation under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993; or
(iii) a variation of an existing waste management licence or authorisation; and
(b) an appeal in connection with such an application,
must be advertised, in each case in such manner as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State.
(2) The regulations shall provide that—
(a) the advertisement shall explain that any person may make representations in writing to the enforcing authority or party considering the appeal in response to the advertisement; and

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(b) any representations so made shall be considered by the enforcing authority or the party considering the appeal in determining the application or appeal.
(3) The regulations shall provide for—
(a) when the advertisement is to be placed;
(b) for what period or periods;
(c) in what publication or publications circulating in—
(i) the location where the licensed or authorised activity would occur; and
(ii) the location which is likely to be affected by the activity;
(d) what information the advertisement shall contain regarding—
(i) the application;
(ii) the applicant;
(iii) the enforcing authority or the party considering the appeal;
(iv) the availability of further information;
(v) the matters referred to in subsection (2) above; and
(vi) the timetable for dealing with the application or appeal and in particular the period allowed for making representations; and
(e) who is to place the advertisement.
(4) In the case of an application for an authorisation referred to in subsection (1) (a) (ii) above the regulations may provide that an enforcing authority shall be entitled to disregard the requirements of the regulations if it proposes to give the authorisation applied for and considers that the action proposed to be authorised will have no appreciable effect on the environment.
(5) In this section "enforcement authority" means those authorities identified in section 90(a), (b) and (c), and "the environment" has the meaning referred to in section 53.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this is the same amendment as that discussed in Committee, but I wanted to explore some of the arguments that were put by the Minister at that stage.

The amendment relates to advertising of waste management licences applications and is, again, about keeping the public involved and informed about environmental matters as the Government have promised to do with their commitment under the Rio conventions.

In Committee the Minister said that the planning stage was the most appropriate one for inviting and considering public representations, and that it would be unnecessarily regulatory to require further advertising. He said that it would be unusual to have this two-stage consultation with the public. But there are numerous other examples in this area which require public awareness, both at the planning and the pollution control consent stage. Thus, for example, it happens in relation to waste incinerators where the plant is designed to incinerate waste at less than 50 kg. an hour. In addition to the planning permission stage, the omission of air pollutants from the process also requires authorisation from the local authority and advertisements to the public. Also, for waste incinerators and landfill sites which make discharges to controlled waters, in addition to the planning stage of inviting public comment, it must be advertised at the stage when the discharge consent is being applied for.

Similarly, in relation to the storing of hazardous substances on site, in addition to the planning stage any further application for storage of hazardous substances

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must also be advertised. For chemical waste incinerators, disposal also requires public consultation both at the planning stage and at the stage when the specific application for the authorisation is made. So this amendment will be on all fours with those controls in that the public should be made aware of what is happening both at the planning stage and when a specific application for a licence is made.

It seems illogical that when pollution control and waste disposal are undertaken by incineration the public is required to be informed by means of advertisement, but when the waste disposal is by means of a landfill—as we discussed earlier, that could include low level radioactive waste—there is apparently no requirement for the public to be made aware of what is about to be undertaken in their neighbourhood.

Therefore, I ask the Minister to consider that what is suggested in this amendment is on all fours with other aspects of pollution control. The public should be made aware of what may be about to happen in their area and should be consulted. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Hilton, suggested that the new waste management licensing regime introduced under Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 made no improvement to the waste regulation information available to the public and hence to their opportunity to participate in related environmental decisions. I believe that that was the gist of the discussion at Committee stage.

That is simply not true. The public have every opportunity to comment on the siting of waste facilities at the planning stage, when the land use and amenity impact of the development will be considered. Planning applications must be advertised and anyone likely to be affected by the development must be informed. In addition, many waste facilities will require an environmental assessment, and if they go to appeal they may be subject to a full public inquiry.

If the process of seeking permission to operate a waste facility (say, a landfill site) is considered as a two-stage process—planning permission followed by a waste management licence—then it can be seen that this permitting system is open to proper scrutiny in which the public is able to participate.

In the amendment there was also a focus on the need for the public to be informed about the disposal of low level radioactive waste to landfill sites. On an earlier amendment I indicated that officials are considering carefully all the responses to the preliminary conclusions of my department's review of radioactive waste policy. I indicated that the Government will be in a position to announce any change to policy, together with any new controls required, in another place. I said that I thought that we were moving in the right direction on that particular policy.

The Environmental Protection Act has also greatly improved the range of information which is now required to be made available on public registers. That includes, for instance, documents submitted by applicants in support of licence applications and written representations on applications from statutory

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consultees. That has given the public full access to information about licence applications should they wish to see it. I do not think that in these circumstances it is necessary or desirable to advertise applications for waste management licences.

In the circumstances of that reassurance, I hope that the noble Baroness will see fit to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon: My Lords, I am not sure that that is a complete answer to what I was suggesting about this perhaps being seen on all fours with other forms of pollution control. However, this is clearly a technical matter and I shall need to seek advice about it. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 17 [Application of certain other enactments to the Crown]:

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 254:

Page 182, line 17, leave out (""by virtue of subsection (1) (b) above"") and insert (""making provision, by virtue of subsection (1) (b) above, for the modification of section 156 below in relation to fisheries in an area"").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this amendment is designed to correct a minor defect in the Bill as currently drafted. It will provide that the consent of the appropriate authority—in this case the Crown Estate Commissioners, the Duchy of Lancaster or of Cornwall or a government department—to the making of an order under Section 115 of the Water Resources Act 1991 will be required only where such an order will modify Section 156 of the 1991 Act. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 103 [Directions]:

[Amendments Nos. 255 and 256 not moved.]

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