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Lord Whitty: My Lords, perhaps I may deal first with Amendment No. 543B. I am not sure that I understand the rationale for it. The mayor will decide what additional matters are relevant or appropriate. I do not believe that the amendment adds a great deal to the Bill. However, the other amendments are more substantial.

Amendment No. 543D requires that the mayor includes information on specific pollutants in the air quality section of his report. We debated a similar amendment in Committee. I understand the reasons behind the amendment and I agree that the pollutants listed are important. However, the amendment is unnecessary and overdetailed--I am trying to avoid using the word "prescriptive". In any case, the mayor will have to pay attention to the majority of pollutants listed in the amendment, with the exception of PM2.5. These pollutants are listed specifically in the national air quality strategy which the mayor, under Clause 317, will be required to implement in London.

There is, of course, nothing to prevent the mayor from adding PM2.5 or any other pollutant to the strategy he or she produces. The Bill has the necessary flexibility for that but we do not need to repeat the list. We need a little flexibility.

Amendments Nos. 543C and 545A deal with the environmental strategy group. We debated the provision of such a group in Committee. At that time, the Opposition had slightly grander plans for the group. The amendments now on the Marshalled List indicate that they envisage only a limited role for such a group; that of advising the mayor on the issues to be covered in the state of the environment report.

It is important that the mayor mobilises all the expertise he can get. He must decide how all of those strategies which he is required to deliver can be delivered. But we want to leave a little bit of flexibility on how he delivers his obligations under this measure. He might decide to work in a number of different ways. For example, he might decide to bring together some kind of strategy group as prescribed here or to use a round table model using senior officers from the GLA, the functional bodies, the London boroughs and so forth and other environmental experts. Alternatively, he might do so by appointing a series of different

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environmental experts to work throughout the authority on the range of responsibilities in the different strategies. It may be to gather groups of advisers on each of those strategies. More probably, it will be a combination of those in order to produce a degree of consensus behind each of the strategies.

There is a different position as compared with the cultural strategy group which we are setting up in the next section because in this section the mayor has the prime responsibility in relation to drawing up these strategies. It is the mayor's responsibility to deliver.

In the cultural area, we are primarily concerned with setting up partnerships where others in the cultural scene around London will deliver. I make no implication about the importance of the environment and culture. The noble Lord was getting himself into deep water over that. But it is a different relationship. The relationship in the environmental field is clearly a mayoral responsibility. In the cultural field it is a co-operative and collective one--that is the difference. The mayor may well set up a strategy group of some sort, but he cannot be required to do so on the face of the Bill. I beg the noble Lord not to press the amendments.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his reply. As always, he is helpful and informative, even when he does not completely agree with me. I hear what he has to say, but he has to produce a "state of the environment" report, which will need to pull together all the other specialist aspects which I mentioned earlier and on which the Minister touched. Bringing together a lot of specialists can be a successful way of producing a unified report, but it can also be a successful way of producing an almost interminable disagreement on points of detail.

It was partly with that in mind as well as the significant importance of this particular issue for the whole strategic future of London that we tabled the important Amendment No. 545A. I have heard the Minister's comments and I shall study them with care. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 543C and 543D not moved.]

[Amendment No. 544 not moved.]

Clause 311 [The Mayor's municipal waste management strategy]:

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved Amendment No. 544TA:

Page 173, line 34, after second ("the") insert ("minimisation,").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, Amendment No. 544TA seeks to include minimisation in the waste strategy which the mayor must produce. When we discussed the issue in Committee, the Minister's response was that he would not accept our amendment, which sought to insert the word "minimisation", because minimisation was such an integral part of waste management, that to separate it

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out, as our amendment proposed, would send the message that waste minimisation and waste management were two different matters.

However, looking at the other terms which the Government have chosen to include on the face of the Bill: "recovery", "treatment" and "disposal", I should have thought those terms to be equally absolutely part of waste management. I cannot quite understand why minimisation is taken as implicitly part of waste management and why, for example, recovery is not to be taken as implicit, since it is on the face of the Bill. The Minister was kind enough to say at the beginning of his reply that he totally agreed with my remarks on the importance of waste minimisation--indeed, I should not expect him to disagree.

However, since that time I have given some more thought to the matter and made inquiries in the local authority area and it seems that waste minimisation is one of the most difficult areas to tackle. Although local authorities are now responsible and indeed, empowered, to put into place waste minimisation strategies, that is happening remarkably slowly, probably because it is such a difficult area to tackle. But if, as the Minister accepted, it is such an important area to tackle, it must be on the face of the Bill. We do not want to repeat the experience of it taking a long time to tackle because it is a difficult area. I should like to give one example where minimisation might mean something very different from waste management.

In Committee, we took the example of take-away boxes being used, in fact, by staff in your Lordships' House, but also throughout London. Little triangular plastic take-away boxes are used for sandwiches and rectangular ones for hamburgers and so on. At huge events, such as those which take place in the Royal Parks, an enormous quantity of take-away containers are used. In a minimisation strategy, the mayor might decide to encourage, cajole and require people supplying take-away food to do so in packaging that minimised waste in two ways.

There is now at least one company of which I am aware in Somerset which produces take-away food boxes from the waste produced in making chips. Potato starch is used to make the boxes, which are used for take-away food and can then be composted. That seems to me to be a perfect example of minimising waste twice. That is the sort of use of minimisation at which the mayor might choose to look--my noble friend is laughing because I often refer to potatoes in Somerset, and I did so when he visited our area committee. However, that is a small example of where minimisation is important. If it is not included on the face of the Bill, the mayor will necessarily continue to concentrate on recovery and disposal.

I stop with the example of take-aways as an area where a huge impact could be made. The outlet does not in fact have to pay for any disposal because people take away the packaging from the premises. It usually ends up in dustbins or on the roadside, creating extra problems. In the great generality of things, and as we look to the next 10 and 20 years of what the mayor should be doing for London, minimising waste should

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be written onto the face of the Bill, particularly to send the message that that is the future for waste. I beg to move.

7.15 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I am happy to rise to speak to my Amendment No. 544UA, which is grouped with Amendment No. 544TA.

It is not an interest which needs to be declared, but I speak as an Essex nationalist, and indeed, a Home Counties nationalist and a representative, in some sense, of counties far beyond the immediate Home Counties. Everyone who lives outside London will have an instant empathy with this particular amendment. Thirty-seven per cent of London's waste has been disposed of in Essex for a very long time. It goes to many other places. We should be grateful for progress which prevents London's waste from being dumped into the sea any more, but it is still dumped outside London.

It is a real problem in two senses for those counties obliged to receive London's waste. First, the counties have all the local environmental interference that results from having large waste disposal facilities, when they have not had the privilege of producing the waste themselves. More importantly, if London's waste is filling up space in other areas, it means that they will in fact run out of their own space more quickly. They then have a problem not only in disposing of London's waste but also in disposing of their own. That is a real difficulty. Technologies are coming into being, of which the south-east London combined heat and power installation is perhaps the most modern and prominent, which permit the disposal of waste within an urban area and actually benefit the local community at the same time. The heat from the disposal process can be used to heat houses, and it also generates electricity which goes into the National Grid.

Those technologies are sophisticated and expensive. It is interesting that that particular installation causes apparently almost no concern to people in the locality. It certainly causes no interference; there are no smells, it is exceedingly well controlled and it is a very successful installation.

It is true to say that it would be perfectly possible for more of those installations to be established, provided of course that one disregards the NIMBY factor. One of the facets of modern society is that it longs to enjoy, and does enjoy, the amenities of modern life. It does not like to be involved in any possible ill consequences of that enjoyment. One of the less fortunate consequences of the way we live today is that we produce a lot of waste. I agree with the wish of the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, to see waste production minimised. That is part of the solution to the problem.

London should be able to dispose of far more of its waste within its own boundaries than it does at present. This amendment would make the planning of that a part of the waste disposal process and of the

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mayor's municipal waste management strategy. I believe that that is a worthwhile ambition which should be included in the Bill.

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