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Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 1:

Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause--

Purpose of Act

(" . The purpose of this Act is to create a single Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control system which strengthens the system introduced under sections 1 to 28 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and includes the system of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control in accordance with European Community Directive 96/61.")

Lord Renton: Before my noble friend goes further, it is important for me to point out that the grouping of the amendments is not acceptable. The Government have grouped Amendments Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 12, 19 and 20. Amendments Nos. 1, 19 and 20 deal with separate important issues, whereas Amendments Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 12 are minor government amendments dealing in detail with the regulation-making power of the Secretary of State. Amendment No. 1 is an important new purpose clause and Amendment No. 19 prevents the Government repealing Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which consists of 28 clauses, by secondary legislation that cannot be amended by either House and virtually turns both Houses into rubber stamps.

Amendment No. 20 amends the Long Title to reveal what the Bill is about, but we cannot do that until we have considered all the amendments. The Government are not entitled to require the Committee to accept the grouping. It is for your Lordships to say whether or not

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the grouping should be accepted. In those circumstances, I suggest that the grouping is not reasonable.

Lord Whitty: I understand the noble Lord's substantive point. I understood that the grouping had been agreed through the normal channels but, as always, the grouping remains informal and non-binding. The noble Lord has an agreement from the Government that we should recommit the Bill. We were open to a more flexible approach. If the noble Lord wishes to press for the removal of his amendments from the group, no doubt he can. All the amendments in the group seem to address the central issue raised in the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee and in the previous commitment stage, in terms of what is on the face of the Bill and in regulations. Therefore, it would seem logical to take all those amendments together. The noble Lord may not regard the government amendments as adequate. Nevertheless, they address the same subject and have the same origin as the other amendments in the group. At the end of the day, I am in the hands of the Committee.

Lord Renton: With respect, the Minister has not got that right. The Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee did not deal with the purpose clause. Neither did it deal with amendment of the Long Title. Those are quite separate and important matters.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I wonder if I may say a word--as, in a sense, the responsibility is mine? I would normally have been asked to agree the groupings. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, nobody contacted me about them at the end of last week. I was not aware of the potential list until I arrived here this morning at about a quarter-past 12, which was too late for the groupings to be amended in any way. The noble Lord, Lord Carter, indicates his disagreement, but that is as I understood it. I accepted what I understood to be a de facto situation. We can surely deal with this matter quite easily by taking Amendments Nos. 19 and 20 off the list and speaking to them at the end of the Committee stage. Perhaps that will go a long way towards meeting my noble friend's problem.

Lord Carter: In the usual way, the groupings list is circulated and there was plenty of time to dispute it this morning if the noble Lord wished to do so. As the grouping is voluntary, the easiest way to deal with the matter now is in the way that the Committee wishes. If it wants to degroup Amendment No. 19, it can. The amendment is in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Renton. He can speak to it in its place on the list of amendments, rather than in the first group.

Lord Renton: I am grateful to the noble Lord. Amendment No. 19 raises an important separate issue--perhaps the most important that will be considered today.

Lord Dixon-Smith: In speaking to Amendment No. 1 I want to thank the Government for agreeing to

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the recommital of the Bill. In a very busy parliamentary programme that is a generous concession. The more restricted rules of debate on Report would not have allowed proper examination of the government amendments. If those amendments are approved they will alter and improve the Bill a great deal and they also deserve our recognition as a necessary but nonetheless generous concession. Again, I express my gratitude to the Government.

We have never objected to the purposes of the Bill. We are as anxious as the Government to see a proper Bill on the statute book. Our objection was to the form of the original draft. I hope that after our debate today the Bill will make more rapid progress. The original draft was nothing more than an open framework to make regulations, which generally receive less scrutiny than primary legislation.

I asked in the Library how many Bills there have been that are similar in form to this one. The Library found only one that commences with the power to make regulations and it concerns employment tribunals--a rather more specific subject than the one we are debating. Moreover, that statute did not set out to replace a whole part of an Act of Parliament by orders, which is a subject to which we shall be returning. The Library found only two other Bills that contain order-making powers in their first section. Bills in the form of the original draft are rare.

The Select Committee on delegated powers was very critical of the original draft in its third report for this Session--stating, inter alia, that it would not wish the drafting to be used as a precedent. The Select Committee has looked again at the Bill in light of the Government's proposed amendments, which greatly modify the Bill. Once again they say that the Bill should not be regarded as a precedent. The ninth report, dated 10th March, stated:

    "We therefore wish to reiterate the following general remarks which we made in our 3rd report. 'Even if the House accepts the bill with any such amendments as being justified for the reasons which the DETR give for proceeding by such wide ranging enabling legislation, the Committee would not wish this Bill to be regarded as a precedent for the future'". However, my interpretation of that conclusion this time is that it is the same as my own. The Bill, even though far from perfect when amended, must now make progress if the United Kingdom is to have appropriate legislation on the statute book in time to meet the time limit proposed by European Community Directive 96/61.

That point returns me to the amendment. It is our view that there should be, on the face of the Bill, a purpose other than that of making regulations at the commencement, so that the Bill conforms more closely with the general way that legislation is normally drafted. The amendment does just that. The Government may argue that it is tautological. That may be so, but if the Government had tackled the Bill's drafting in a more thorough and conventional way from the start we would not be having this debate.

The amendment changes the opening lines of the Bill so that its purpose is made clear in its commencement lines. As presently drafted, the Bill's purpose might

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appear to be the making of regulations. Amendment No. 1 states that the Bill's purpose is to meet the requirements of the European directive on integrated pollution prevention and control. The power to regulate then follows. I beg to move.

Lord Renton: I support my noble friend's amendment. Purpose clauses are always desirable and sometimes necessary. I suggest that in this case, it is necessary to have a purpose clause because, quite frankly, as my noble friend pointed out--and as is well known--this is a Bill which merely enables the Secretary of State, by subordinate legislation, to do things which are of national and international importance and which have so far been covered by the primary legislation of this country.

For this Bill to go forward without revealing its purposes is utterly wrong. With those deplorable factors in mind, perhaps I may elaborate a little on the way in which my noble friend and others who have worked with him have drafted this purpose clause.

The Explanatory Notes, which are of great help and value in understanding the Bill but which are not part of the law, which the Government issued when the Bill was first published make the position quite clear in paragraphs 4 to 7. Paragraph 6 states:

    "The purpose of the Bill is to enable a single, coherent pollution control system to be set up", and it then sets out how that is to be done; namely, by regulation, which is most extraordinary. So that purpose has been expressed in the new clause.

However, the Explanatory Notes also make it clear that the Government, quite rightly, intend to strengthen our existing system which is expressed in Part I of the 1990 Act, all 28 clauses of which are to be repealed. The Government have made clear also that they intend to implement the EC Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control which must be done by 30th October this year.

Therefore, we have made clear in our purpose clause that that is a principal aim of the Bill. It is something which cannot be derived, even by careful reading, from the Bill itself. If the Government do not believe that the purpose clause goes far enough--I suppose they may think that--they can agree to this amendment now and extend the purpose clause, if they think necessary, on Report. I hope that my noble friend will receive full support from the Government in relation to this purpose clause.

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