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I will read what I have here, even though I am not happy with it, but I put it on the record because we must make progress on the Bill. Why does not Parliament have to agree before the powers are rolled out to all the authorities? That is the question, because that is the reality. Parliament will have already agreed the waste provisions in the schedule, and the Secretary of State will have to report back to

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Parliament on at least one pilot before making a decision on the rollout of the powers. Because of our firm commitment on learning from the pilots before reporting and deciding whether to roll out further, in practice it is likely that more than one, if not all, of the pilots will have been reported on to Parliament. Where we want to make changes to the waste reduction provisions before rollout, this will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. This gives Parliament ample opportunity. Where we did not want to make a change in the waste reduction provisions before rollout, it would not come back to Parliament. So there will be different schemes around the country but I will certainly take this away and have it looked at again. I want to be satisfied that the degree of parliamentary scrutiny is okay and, if it is not, I will have to have discussions with my colleagues. That is as far as I can go tonight but I hope it reassures the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, that I am not closing the book and saying, “That is it”. I am not; I want to go away and think about it.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I am grateful to the Minister.

Lord Greaves: So am I. We started talking about the period of the pilots and we have got into some extremely important aspects of this Bill. On the basis of what the Minister has said, we look forward to what he has to say in future. We will—as I am sure the Conservatives will, too—go away and think very hard about how the process of reporting back to Parliament and making decisions is going to work. I was interested in what the Minister said about a council changing from operating a pilot in part of its area to rolling it out across its whole area. The Minister suggested that if it did not do that, it would be a two-tier area. My understanding is that the whole basis of the schedule, which we are assuming would get carried forward in the rollout with any necessary amendments that the Government think fit and that we agree to, is that there can continue to be two-tier areas—for example in a district where one scheme operates in a town and then no scheme or a very different scheme operates in the country.

Lord Rooker: Forgive me. I was answering the specific question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. He asked why, if local authorities have a really good pilot going, they should have to stop it. Unless that pilot covered the whole area, they would clearly have to stop what they were doing to cover the whole area. Otherwise they would have a successful scheme that does not cover the whole area. Also, the pilot has to have an end date. My answer to the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, is that they would have to stop, but for more than one reason. They would have to stop because they had set an end date for the pilot and they would have to stop if they wanted to extend the pilot to the whole of their area. To that extent there would be a change.

Lord Greaves: But could they stop on 31 March and start again on 1 April, rolling it out across the area?

Lord Rooker: We are getting into too much detail now. The pilot would stop but it would not be a pilot then. The pilot would have a designated end date and

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it would stop. It would have to come back to the rollout procedures under the Bill. The local authority cannot just decide to stop the pilot and say, “We are going to do it this way for our area”. That is not the idea at all.

Lord Greaves: It seems a nonsense for an authority to have to stop, because the rollout has not happened yet nationally and may not take place for several months, and then have to wait a year before starting up again. If a local authority has a scheme that is working successfully, either for the whole area or part of the area—I am open to the belief that that may actually happen; I do not think it will but I will be the first person to praise the noble Lord if it does—it would be ridiculous if it then had to stop because the pilot had finished and then start up again a year later once all the deliberations in Parliament and Government had taken place. If an authority has invested in all the equipment and so on for a scheme, it would be daft for it to have to stop for a year for purely legalistic reasons.

Lord Rooker: I need better advice on this, but we have to be realistic. There will be five pilots in the whole of England, and it will not be technically possible for them to continue until there is a national rollout. A couple of the pilots may be duds and three of them may be okay but we do not know in which order they will come. Perhaps it will be possible to transmit ideas from the successful pilots to those that have been less successful. However, there will probably be a cut-off point for them: they are pilots, after all. This is not a question of subterfuge—of slipping in the scheme through the back door. We have to view them as pilots. A pilot has a down side—that is, it comes to an end and then you have to decide what you are going to do. The pilot might be evaluated while it is still running. As I said, it will continue for at least a year and probably longer, but I cannot say how much longer.

Lord Greaves: I am now convinced of what I thought when I listened to the discussion. When the pilots start is not an issue but when they end needs to be given considerable thought—particularly the relationship between the ending of the pilots and the start of the rollout, but we will think about that.

When I tabled the amendment, I thought that there were issues here to be discussed but I was not quite sure what they were. I am very grateful to other noble Lords—particularly the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith—for teasing out those issues, as I now have a better understanding of what the difficulties are. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 52 agreed to.

Clause 53 [Waste reduction provisions: report and review]:

[Amendments Nos. 183ZD and 183ZE not moved.]

Clause 53 agreed to.

Clause 54 [Waste reduction provisions: roll-out or repeal]:

[Amendment No. 183ZEA not moved.]

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Lord Greaves moved Amendment No. 183ZF:

The noble Lord said: Some of the issues covered by this group have already been discussed, and I do not want to go into them again. However, the amendment that I specifically want to speak to is Amendment No. 183ZH, which concerns the powers to make new subordinate legislation under rollouts.

It seems that the Secretary of State will have remarkable powers not only to change the Bill in setting up the rollout schemes and to amend the Bill in all sorts of ways but to make subordinate legislation. I am not clear that the subordinate legislation in subsection (3) on page 24 of the Bill is covered by the affirmative resolution procedure, as the rest of it is. I therefore tabled this amendment to ask whether it should be and, if it is not, to ask why not. I am moving Amendment No. 183ZF in order that I may ask that question under Amendment No. 183ZH. I beg to move.

The Duke of Montrose: I am a little disappointed that the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, did not make quite as much of Amendment No. 183ZG as he did of Amendment No. 183ZH, because it appears that it would reduce the amount of wording in the Bill. It would be interesting to hear the Government say why they need both paragraphs (a) and (b) of Clause 54(2) if they could be telescoped in that way.

With regard to Amendment No. 183ZH, it seems that any order would cover any subordinate legislation, and I do not see why we need to specify that.

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: I know that my noble friend has already agreed to consider an amendment similar to Amendment No. 183ZF, but I am not sure that he agreed to consider one similar to the others. Therefore, I shall take a little time to go through my note in the hope that I shall be able to help the noble Lord so that he can withdraw the amendment this evening.

After reporting back to Parliament on the pilots, we might wish to take one of three possible courses of action. First, if the pilots are successful, we may want simply to enable all English authorities to introduce a waste-reduction scheme, or we may first wish to revise the provisions in the light of lessons learnt during the piloting phase before rolling out the powers to all authorities. Finally, if we consider that the pilots have not been successful, we may wish to repeal the powers so that authorities cannot run the schemes. As I have said, the key point is to report back to Parliament when we have good quality evidence from the pilots; indeed, we have just had a detailed debate about when that might be. This is more important than needing to report back on each and every one of the pilots before we can submit proposals to roll out the powers more widely.

10.15 pm

We recognise the need to get Parliament’s consent to any amendment or repeal of the provisions. Therefore, our ability to amend or repeal would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. Following a

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recommendation by the Delegated Powers Committee, we have also decided that subordinate legislation that the Secretary of State makes under amendments to the waste reduction provisions should be subject to some parliamentary procedure. We would need to decide case by case which procedure would be most appropriate according to the nature of the subordinate legislation that we are proposing. We do not want to waste Parliament’s time on minor technical details.

As with Amendment No. 183ZEA, which we covered in the last group, the intention behind Amendment No. 183ZF seems to be to require the Secretary of State to report on all the pilots. My noble friend has already said that he will consider that.

On the last point made by the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, the most important point that I am trying to make is that the Government propose to accept the recommendation of the Delegated Powers Committee that any such subordinate legislation that comes out of the reporting process and any changes that need to be made would be subject to a parliamentary procedure, depending on the size of the change that we make. If the amendment is consequential, it would be a very small matter, which would be dealt with proportionately. We do, however, accept the Delegated Powers Committee’s recommendations.

With that rather rambling submission and given that we are already considering my noble friend’s suggestion to look at parliamentary reporting, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Greaves: I am a little confused. It is normal to set out in primary legislation which orders and regulations are subject to the affirmative procedure, given that the great mass of them are subject to the negative procedure, but the clause seems to leave this open-ended. I think the Minister said that it would be open-ended but that they would do the right thing at the time. The clause seems to say that the orders setting up the rollout will set up new subordinate legislation—sort of subordinate to the subordinate. I do not know whether that is normal procedure or how it works, but that is how I read it. I do not think that that is normal, but no doubt people will tell me if I am wrong. Given that the Minister was not quite sure what she was reading out, will the Ministers at least agree to look at it again?

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: May I offer a little clarity? My noble friend has agreed to consider the previous amendment, and he has just reminded me that he is very willing to think further about this group, too.

Lord Greaves: I am grateful, and on that basis I can do nothing else; I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 183ZG and 183ZH not moved.]

Lord Greaves moved Amendment No. 183ZJ:

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The noble Lord said: This is the last group to include an amendment in my name, and this one stands on its own as it is an important issue. I hope that the Government will be able to give us absolute and categorical assurances on this; if they do not, we have to come back to this major issue.

Amendment No. 183ZJ says two things. First, if a waste minimisation scheme—this applies to many potential schemes—is rolled out after considering the results of the pilots, it must not be compulsory for local authorities to take part. It must be voluntary for waste collection authorities to decide for themselves whether they shall,

The Local Government Association agrees with me, at least on this; it would be quite wrong to have a national scheme, or even to have a menu or series of schemes, which was compulsory for all local authorities. In the spirit of what the Minister was saying previously, when he admonished me for my centralist proposals, it ought to be thus.

My problem is that I do not trust future Governments—I talk not of this Government, but all future Governments, under any party—not to take powers if they have them, or not to do things that were not originally intended if they are not stopped from doing so. That is why it ought to be set out in the Bill, in appropriate language—which I do not suggest mine is—that local authorities cannot be compelled to take part in these schemes.

Secondly, I suggest that local authorities should have the power to vary or to end a scheme once it has been set up. A scheme may have to be set up for a given period of time, so my wording that they,

may be a little too strong. However, local authorities taking part in a scheme really need the ability to close it down if they think it is not working satisfactorily for their area. A local authority may decide that for various reasons; it may be on practical terms, or because it costs too much to work, or because there is a local political debate and control of the council changes to a party or parties that do not agree with it. That is what local democracy is all about, and a local authority ought to have the ability to close down a scheme if it so decides.

I therefore propose that a scheme must be voluntary and that it can be closed down or amended at any time to better suit local conditions. I beg to move.

Earl Cathcart: We have some sympathy with the intention underlying this amendment, but await with interest the Minister’s response to and clarification of it. There seems to be a parallel here with recent developments in the argument about biofuels. The UK Government and Europe seem to be set on stressing the use of renewable materials mainly in relation to transport—specifically, road transport. However, the

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Select Committee, in its recent report, feels that that emphasis is misplaced and that it should be directed toward the use of renewable energy sources to supply heat and power.

Our interpretation of Clause 54 is that, in essence, once a scheme or two has been piloted, the Secretary of State may pick up the principles on which the pilots were based and instruct that everyone adopts those principles. If we are right, that would leave the individual waste authorities the freedom to adopt one of the schemes that has been trialled, or to create one of their own. The Government will merely set the targets for recycling and for reductions in waste going to landfill, and will insist that the authorities must act. The danger we see is that the principles may be wrong. One size might not fit all, and therefore this amendment does not reduce our fears because it does not address the nub of the problem. We are anxious to hear the Minister’s comments, which we hope will cast light on this issue.

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: I might be missing something here. This is all about giving local authorities the opportunity to come forward and be designated as one of five pilots to look at a whole range of ways of running waste reduction schemes aimed at reducing landfill and thus benefiting the local authority. We are looking for very much a bottom-up approach initiated by those local authorities that want to get involved in these pilots.

The amendments would have no practical effect because the Bill already gives local authorities all the powers listed in Amendment No. 183ZJ, so the only difference between the amendment and the Bill is that the powers are placed in the clauses of the Bill rather than in the schedule, which means that they will not be amended at the point of rollout. Under the current drafting, the powers would stand. The point I am trying to make is that here we are talking about the powers to establish pilots, and I hope that, as we discussed earlier, noble Lords will accept that we think it is important that local authorities should be able to decide whether they consider it appropriate to set up a scheme in their area. Further, they have the flexibility to operate a waste reduction scheme in either the whole or part of their area.

Lord Greaves: I thank the noble Baroness for allowing to me speak. Clause 54 is not about the pilots; it concerns the rollout. The purpose of my amendments, along with the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, which are related but referred to a different issue, concerns whether or not there will be a compulsion on local authorities to take part after the legislation for the rollout has been approved by Parliament.

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: I want to say for the record that no authority will be forced to use these powers. They are enabling powers, and no authority will be forced to roll out in whole or in part of an area. I hope that that answers the question of compulsion on rollout. Given that there is now an opportunity to see this statement on the record, I hope that the noble Lord will consider withdrawing his amendment.

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Earl Cathcart: I want to be sure that I am straight on this. The noble Baroness is saying that a local authority has the freedom either to adopt one or part of one of the schemes or to set up one of its own, provided that it meets the reductions required of it.

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: We have been very specific in earlier debates about the kind of criteria for the pilots. The whole point of the pilots is that we will learn from them and, as I said in response to the earlier group of amendments, there are a number of things that we might do as a result of the pilots. We may find that the pilots do not work and we want to repeal the powers set out here. Local authorities would then not be allowed to take forward these schemes. But they will not be forced to use these powers because, as I have just said, they are enabling powers. I hope that I have been of help.

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