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This has obviously been a magnum opus. It was passed to Committee on 24 February and brought to us exactly one week later. Frankly, it is difficult for noble Lords to get their minds around such detail in that short a time, so I may have missed some things. I seek clarification on specific points covered in the regulations, but first I ask why a document of this size and such detail does not carry on each page an indication of its subject matter. I know that legislation is different from an ordinary working document, and I understand why, but even an index would be helpful. It is a huge working document, and I wonder whether we are allowing previous form to dominate how we put such documents together. If it were properly annotated or indexed, it would be much easier for people to use it; it would make it much more user-friendly. Headings on the top of pages, supplementing the index at the beginning of the document, might help enormously, and a detailed contents list of subjects might also be useful.

How many local authority recycling schemes will exceed the quantities specified in Chapter 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 3? That will clearly be important for existing recycling plants. Am I correct in supposing that, were the volume of waste to expand beyond the quantities specified, it would be sufficient to remove a certain proportion of it to another site? Could people avoid falling foul of the regulations by just setting up another site? Is that really in the public interest?

Fluorescent tubes have a paragraph to themselves in Schedule 3 at page 113, with reference made to mercury concentration. I have not been able to find a specific reference to eco-friendly light bulbs, although I understand that environmental specialists are increasingly concerned that they are likely to pose a threat to the environment on disposal. What plans are in preparation for the treatment of such bulbs?

Chapter 4 of Schedule 3 deals with the disposal of waste and, on page 122, the conditions for exempting disposal by incineration. Will those considerations result in the exemption of 600 or so farm incinerators that were caught by the original transposition of the EU waste directive, or will they be covered by Section 6.8 on page 78?

I now turn to page 128, in Part 2, paragraph 2(e) and, on page 129, Part 3, paragraph (2)(f). They specify that all maintenance on small sewage treatment works is to be recorded and the records kept for at

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least five years after the work is done. Can the Minister confirm that those requirements will apply only to work carried out after 5 April this year? Regulation 62, on page 35, allows the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers to reserve for themselves the decisions on permits for a particular application or class of application. Will the Minister please give an example of each?

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Regulation 65 on page 36 relates to fees and charges, and gives the appropriate authority the duty to ensure that they cover a regulator's expenditure. Is there anywhere a requirement that such expenditure has to be reasonable and comparable with equivalent work in the private sector, or are these fees self-determined by the regulator itself?

Regulation 71 on page 40 requires local authorities to review all existing groundwater permits by 22 December 2012, to assess compliance with the terms of the permit, and to take steps to remedy any failure. According to table 1 of the impact assessment, there are 8,104 of these permits. Can the Minister assure me that these are spread evenly across all local authorities? If he cannot, will he supply a breakdown of the totals for the 10 most burdened authorities? There may be a considerable concentration of problems because of the nature of groundwater permitting.

Regulation 74, also on page 40, relates to septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants with a discharge to ground of less than two cubic metres per day. We discussed these issues only recently in Grand Committee. They are to be exempted from effluent discharge controls, but after 1 January 2012 will have to be registered as exempt facilities. Will the Minister supply the detailed reference in the EU directive that demands such registration? Will he confirm that the French Government are introducing an identical requirement?

Under Regulation 105 on page 49, mining operators are effectively given 13 months to sort out a permit for existing mining waste operations. I suspect that the Minister will know that the Associate Parliamentary Minerals Group has been much exercised on this matter, and I suspect that one or two of my noble friends might wish to speak on it. Is that period sufficient to encompass both the work and the information gathering required from the operator and the work, inspections and planning required from the regulator?

That is especially important in the light of Regulation 31(4)(b), which removes the right of appeal against the refusal of a permit on the grounds that the information necessary for the construction of an emergency plan has not been supplied in time. How long will the emergency planner be allowed for his work? Are there any sanctions under UK legislation that the mining operator may invoke against a third party who is unwilling to supply necessary information within that given time span? This has put the industry under considerable pressure, and I hope that the Minister appreciates the concern that has been expressed.

If a regulator refuses a permit under paragraph 14(2) of Schedule 20, which deals with the lack of an emergency plan, what is the timetable from that point to the serving of a closure notice under paragraph 10(2) of Schedule 20? Why does the list of operators interviewed

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as part of the cost-benefit research not include anyone from the extractive industries? On page 7 of the Explanatory Memorandum it states that final guidance will be published early in 2010. Has that happened? Page 10 refers to a provision that is not required by European legislation. Is there an exhaustive list of this and, if so, how may it be accessed?

Paragraph 3.8 on page 33 of the Explanatory Memorandum covers the key assumptions in the cost-benefit modelling for small sewage treatment plants. It contains the following statement at sub-paragraph b:

"The baseline accounts for 40 minutes of industry time for permit applications as conducted by a conveyancer during house sales. However, significant sensitivity surrounds this assumption. It is possible that the application process may match that for a simple standard permit, in this case four hours may be expected".

Paragraph 3.23 on page 39 states:

"It is estimated that around 250,000 SSTPs ... will come under regulation, but it may be nearer 500,000".

The Explanatory Memorandum contains an estimate that there are some 20,000 sales per annum in the UK of new SSTPs. In the light of these figures, it is important to be assured that the entirety of the rules governing the registration of discharge exemptions is mandated by the European directive. It is also imperative that the registration system is as simple and as quick as possible.

Although the Explanatory Memorandum contains pages of cost calculations and savings estimates, there is not much to indicate the complexity or otherwise of the systems in use. However, on page 50, table 15 shows how the savings of implementing these regulations are reached. My eye was taken by the Environment Agency's set-up costs, which show in detail the personnel required to do this for the four sites currently subject to the permitting requirements of the batteries directive. Taken on its own, the set-up costs for a year comprised half a project manager, a half of each of finance, communications, policy and process experts, and a third of a legal person. There is also a cost of £36,800 for the input of a project board. These are substantial figures and give some idea of the costs that may be involved for authorities in implementing these regulations.

Integrating the batteries permits with others under these new regulations apparently reduces the set-up to a third of each of a policy expert and a process expert and reduces the ongoing personnel requirement from a whole policy and a whole process to a quarter of each. None the less, it gives one an idea of the scale of the operations that lie behind this substantial volume. I hope I am not alone in feeling that the services of a good method-study engineer would not go amiss in assessing the way in which these regulations could be handled to reduce the cost on the public purse that may well be involved.

The reduction of the burden of these regulations is welcomed by all. However, I remain uneasy that these regulations contain some unnecessary elements. I am even more concerned that some may have been subject to cost analysis as though they are required in order to improve the cost-benefit figures, above all to Schedule 2.

Lord Rennard: My Lords, I, too, thank the Minister for his explanation of the regulations. I have a few questions about mineral extraction. He will be aware that the UK minerals industry and the china clay

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industry in particular are very concerned about aspects of the regulations. They argue that the regulations could have a severe impact on their operations, without providing the additional protection for health or the environment that would justify them.

First, is the Minister satisfied that the balance between imposing further regulatory burden and safeguarding public health and the environment is correct in the regulations? Secondly, and perhaps more specifically, are we imposing a higher degree of regulation here than other European Union countries are imposing? I understand that Germany and Sweden have decided that their existing regulations are sufficient. They see no need to change their regulatory systems in the light of the mining waste directive, so is it necessary to place additional burdens, with which their European competitors will not have to comply, on UK-based firms? Finally, I note from the Minister's opening remarks that the draft regulations were subject to significant consultation. Does he now feel that the regulations broadly satisfy the concerns of those who responded to the consultation?

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: I declare an interest as a member of the all-party minerals group. I agree with every word that the noble Lord, Lord Rennard, said; he has obviously been approached in the same way that I was about this matter. I also attended the meeting of the all-party group where the issue was discussed by people directly involved in mineral recovery and operations. The china clay industry, in particular, was mentioned and it is the most adversely affected.

As a parliamentary candidate more than 30 years ago, I visited the china clay industry in Cornwall. At that time china clay was for producing ceramics-that is, fine china. That has changed dramatically over the years and the china clay industry now plays an important role in the manufacturing of paint; the processing of paper-it is one of the biggest fillers in paper; the processing and manufacturing of rubber and plastics for the automobile industry; ceramics, which are still produced; and pharmaceuticals. Some of these are very important to our economy. To damage anything which is producing, for example, parts in the form of plastics for the automobile industry, is absolutely short-sighted. Why should we throw away an industry that we are happy with and is producing good money for this country, to force its products to be made in some other country that does not comply with any of these regulations?

As the noble Lord, Lord Rennard, has mentioned, Germany and Sweden have already decided that the existing regulations are enough and they do not need them. It is very worrying. I also agree with the noble Lord that the measure would not protect the environment and health. It would have a damaging effect in many cases, in particular because there is no right of appeal. If a right of appeal was written into this directive, it would make a vast difference and would mean that the mineral industry would have a fair opportunity. At the moment its only option would be to go to judicial review, which is very costly and might not be effective. It is only just that there should be a right of appeal. I present this today and I depend on the Minister's

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answer. Unless the Government can see their way to suggesting something like this, I may wait until the regulations are put before the full House and raise an objection at that time.

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The Earl of Selborne: I make no apology for following my noble friend Lady Gardner on the same point. We all recognise that the local authority emergency planning services have a responsibility put on them by these regulations. It is perfectly fair that plans must be put in place in case of an emergency. To get those plans in place, the co-operation not only of the extractive industry is needed, but that of other third parties as well. It is this issue that lies at the heart of our concern. Paragraph 14(2) of Schedule 20, set out on page 162, is quite explicit that the Environment Agency as the regulator must refuse an application relating to a category A mining waste facility on receipt of a notice from the emergency planner, the local authority, stating that the operator has not provided the necessary information. It might not be the operator; it might be other people or third parties.

The local authorities will be unsure, when taking on these new responsibilities, whether they know precisely what they are asking for. There is only a matter of months until the permit dates so in that situation one would expect there to be collaboration with the local authorities and the extractive industries to determine just what information is needed. I am quite convinced that the china clay industry and any other extractor would wish to provide the information required. If, however, the local emergency planning services are not yet clear, their instinct will invariably be to cover themselves by putting in a precautionary note saying that they are not sure they have the information required. Therefore, under paragraph 14(2) with no ability to appeal or mediate, the regulator-the Environment Agency-simply has no option but to refuse a permit, which effectively closes a business down.

Members of the Committee will recognise that that is draconian. It is reasonable to ask the Minister to assure us that some reconsideration could be given to this in the timescale, recognising that we are not asking for the extractive industries to be exempt from emergency planning. That is not the point. It is simply that if there is uncertainty as to what is required and time runs out, it seems unreasonable for the business to be closed down. I hope the Minister can give us those assurances.

Lord Teverson: My Lords, I am privileged to live in Cornwall, between St Austell and Truro. When I walk out of the back of my garden, I look across to what are known as the Cornish Alps. They are called that because they are white. They have been even whiter than usual this winter. They are white because they are china clay waste. When people talk about Cornwall they think of the coves, the almost long-gone fishing industry and the rural areas, but they forget that it was once the heart and genesis of much of Britain's Industrial Revolution. Trevithick invented the steam engine on rails there. We have not just an important industrial past, but a future.

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That is why, like many noble Lords, I am particularly concerned about one aspect of this legislation, which generally I welcome as productive and good. My concern is about the section on waste. As the noble Earl has just said, the wording of paragraph 14(2) concerns me greatly. It says that the regulator "must refuse". There are no two ways about it; there is a statutory obligation for the regulator to make a refusal if the information necessary to complete a relevant emergency plan or draw up an external plan is not there. It does not give a definition, rather it leaves the onus of deciding what information is necessary completely with the authority, the emergency planners and the Environment Agency.

What is also of concern-I should declare an interest as a member of Cornwall Council, which would be an emergency planner in this process-is that all bureaucracies are inevitably conservative and cautious in what they do. If a piece of secondary legislation says that they must do something but does not make it clear, that puts the emphasis on them not crossing the line so they are tempted to make a refusal in cases where there is any doubt. The outcome of that refusal may be that an important facility has to cease operation immediately. This would be in the not-so-distant future, on 1 May 2012, if the regulations have not been complied with. This is an unreasonably onerous provision that almost tempts its own fulfilment, and a cessation of operations. As has been pointed out, there is no appeal mechanism except perhaps that of judicial review, which would be amazingly expensive and onerous for a responsible producer and employer, and would take a lot of time as well. Therefore I, too, would like an assurance from the Minister. I was going to ask for a test of reasonableness to be applied, but the regulations do not allow for that, which is why I am particularly concerned.

I was interested and encouraged by the Minister's initial remarks. He pointed out humbly that there was a mistake in the regulations that would be put right by the time that they were put to the House. Perhaps I might suggest a way out. Perhaps we have discovered a mistake in the word "must", which was not meant by the secondary legislation Bill team. Perhaps we could keep it within this room and decide that this, too, was a typographical error, and look forward to seeing a change not just in the three cubic metres or whatever it was, but also in this area when the legislation comes back to the Grand Committee. It is important because this is a safe industry. There have been no major accidents involving mineral waste tips since the tragedy of Aberfan, and there is already good environmental health and safety legislation to ensure that the standard of emergency planning, health and safety and environmental protection in this industry is very high.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who contributed to this relatively short debate. The noble Lord, Lord Taylor, said that this was a blockbuster of a document. It is, but, as has been widely appreciated, it brings together and simplifies what has gone before to produce a document of greater assistance to all those who need to be aware of their obligations and so must use it. It is preferable to the diverse regulations from different sources that we had in the past.

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I will attempt to answer the detailed questions that have been asked, but I will emphasise the broad overall position. First, the principle is clear: we want both to protect the environment and human health, and nothing in the document in any way detracts from the previous provisions with regard to those important objectives. Secondly, the regulations are 170 pages shorter than existing law, so if the noble Lord finds some of this complex, that goes to show that even when one makes every effort to improve, one is still justifiably open to criticism if not every requirement is met. I emphasise that the purpose behind the document is one that all noble Lords would subscribe to.

With his microscopic analysis, the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, was bound to cause me to fall short in certain respects. I confess that I fall short in relation to the department's material and archives. He asked why the European Union scrutiny is not available for 12 of the 18 directives and why we provided it for only six. This is because the information that we have within the files of the department covers only the six. However, that does not mean that there will be no scrutiny. If further scrutiny data are required by any Member of the Committee, I shall take steps to obtain and provide them. I am sure the noble Lord will appreciate that the resources of the department are not limitless and that we illustrated the European documents as far as we were able to within our resources. However, I shall take steps to meet any request relating to the 12 other EU scrutiny documents.

The noble Lord, Lord Taylor, also asked about incinerators. The regulations covering the level of environmental protection are unchanged by this document. They are not affected by these regulations and will continue. This is because we consider that incinerators are properly controlled.

I winced temporarily when the noble Lord asked why there is no mention of eco-friendly light bulbs and plans for the treatment of such bulbs. The issue is not relevant to these regulations. However, the noble Lord is right to identify that there is an issue with regard to eco-friendly light bulbs. The issue is complex enough for me to crave his indulgence and allow me to write to him on how we are tackling it. I merely state that eco-friendly light bulbs were not included in these regulations because of different provisions. I shall certainly write to him on that.

He also asked how many recycling schemes there were. I shall have to do research on that question because I certainly do not have the figures in my head and, from what I can see, neither do any of my expert advisers immediately attendant upon me. I hope he will indulge me on this. I shall try to meet his request.

On the question of the maintenance of small sewage works and record keeping, the requirements apply only after 6 April this year and so there is a timescale in which a response to this can be met. The noble Lord also asked about groundwater permits and whether they are spread evenly across local authorities. Noble Lords will have sympathised with me when they saw my sharp intake of breath when I heard that question. First, they will not be spread evenly across local authorities, if that was the process; and, secondly, I would not know the answer in detail anyway. I can assure the

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noble Lord, Lord Taylor, that this is not a question for the local authorities. These permits are granted by the regulator, the Environment Agency, so the question of differential impacts upon local authorities does not arise.

The noble Lord asked me about the impact assessment and the fact that the list of operators does not include anyone from the extraction industry. The impact assessment for the mining waste directive has been used in formulating this impact assessment. We have not consulted the industry again because we were able merely to incorporate the existing impact assessment for the industry into the analysis provided.

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Issues were raised regarding mining waste and I am grateful to noble Lords who emphasised the importance of this industry, including specific issues on china clay, which I shall come to in a moment in respect of Cornwall. What the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, was exercised about-and I quite understand his proper anxiety-was whether the period for operators to apply for permits was long enough. The deadline is set by the mining waste directive which requires existing buildings to have a permit by May 2012. This should allow sufficient time for operators to apply for their permits. May 2012 is not just around the corner. I entirely appreciate that the work involved in complying with any regulations is onerous, but there are more than two years before compliance is required.

The noble Lord also raised questions on mining waste and sanctions against third parties when they do not supply the requisite information to mining waste operators regarding off-site emergency provisions. The information requirements for mining waste operations regarding off-site emergency areas relate to the information held by the operator. An operator would not be in breach of the regulations if the information was held by a third party and not by him. I think that I can give that degree of reassurance to the noble Lord on what I recognise are justifiable anxieties about the need to comply, although he will forgive me if I emphasise again that we are making compliance more straightforward and, as I have indicated, with less cost than has been the case. He will give due credit for that.

The Environment Agency applies fees that are sufficient to cover the cost of providing the service, and no additional surcharge is involved. The agency's job is to fulfil its functions, to command the resources that enable it to do so, and no more. The noble Lord asked when the guidance would be published. Following the consultation in spring last year, the majority of government guidance will be published on 11 March this year-in nine days' time-and will be available on the Defra web page. This includes guidance documents on EPP1 regimes which have been updated to refer to the EP regulations of this year.

He also asked me another question which I found stunningly difficult to respond to, although I suppose that I should have anticipated that it might be asked, as there were one or two references to the international position. What is France doing about small sewage treatment works? I have to say that I am stumped for an answer at this point. I have quite enough problems

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mastering the degree of detail with regard to England and Wales without looking at the French. I have not looked at the French position and I do not have an answer. I shall provide the noble Lord with one when we have carried out the necessary research.

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