IPPC Bill stalls in Lords

The Pollution Prevention and Control Bill, which will provide a framework to implement the European Community's Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive, was criticised by Lords at Committee Stage last month for delegating too much power to the Secretary of State in the absence of detail in the Act itself.

The Directive could, in fact, be implemented through Regulations made under the European Communities Act 1972, but because the Government wants to introduce certain legal provisions which are beyond the scope of the Directive, it has to introduce the new Bill. But Lords Peyton, Byford and Luke, who belong to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation, strongly objected to the fact that the Bill gives the Secretary of State wide powers of delegation, i.e. the substance of the Bill may only be enacted through Regulations.

In his speech to the Lords, Environment Agency chairman, Lord de Ramsay said that although powers should not be delegated inappropriately, the Bill should not be so restricted as to be unable to fulfil its purpose.

“The Bill will allow all processes presently regulated under IPC, not just those covered by the new directive, to be regulated under one system,” said De Ramsey. “The Environment Agency and, I might add, the overwhelming majority of respondents to government consultation, support this wholeheartedly. It will produce a clear regulatory system which will improve the efficiency of our domestic pollution control arrangements and make them easier to understand. Without the flexibility provided by the Bill we would end up with a fragmented regime of two slightly different systems.”

In the event, the Lords moved to withdraw the proposed amendments, subject to the Minister having discussions on the issues raised with members of the Delegated Powers Select Committee and reporting on the outcome of these when the Bill reaches Report Stage.

“The DETR [Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions] will send its amendments to the Committee in early March,” said a DETR spokesman. “We aim to go to Report Stage before Easter, but this will depend on what happens at the next meeting.”

Fourth consultation planned

The DETR is planning a fourth consultation on the Pollution Prevention and Control Bill after Easter.

EA’s IPPC programme co-ordinator John Dalton urged manufacturing companies and their trade associations to respond. “This will be a challenging regime and we want to ensure that it works well for everyone. Only by responding to the consultation paper can we address specific concerns of and industry sectors.”

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie