Clause 99 - Abandoned shopping and luggage trolleys

Part of Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 pm ar 27 Ionawr 2005.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport) 4:30, 27 Ionawr 2005

I am grateful for the opportunity to have a short debate on the implications of clause 99. I understand that, under the present system of charges, the charges are payable only by persons who claim the return of their trolleys, and that if proceedings are brought against a person for the recovery of such a charge, it is a defence for that person to prove that he was not the owner of the trolley at the time that it was removed.

The summary of the responses that were made at the time of the consultation showed that commercial operators had raised concerns that those powers could result in local authorities failing to work with the changes under clause 99, and failing to work in partnership with the commercial operators. Can the Minister share with the Committee the reason why the charge will be payable to the authority on demand under new section 3A in subsection (3) as opposed to on a voluntary basis?

I have seen at first hand the damage that these trolleys can do, in particular to ponds in local areas, and the cost to the Environment Agency and other drainage authorities of removing them. Will the   Minister confirm that, under this Bill, the Environment Agency and other drainage authorities such as internal drainage boards, will, for the first time, be able to recover costs where trolleys are blocking waterways? I understand that a request was made that trolleys would be clearly identifiable. Can the Minister say to what extent that is practicable and whether that would be the case for supermarket trolleys alone or also for airport and railway trolleys? Is it perhaps easier for supermarkets to identify them?

I understand that there were calls for the powers to be extended to incorporate bread trays and delivery trolleys for mail and newspapers. That was as a result of the responses to the consultation. Can the Minister say why that was not agreed to?

There is an issue in the clause for retailers, in particular. They are concerned that it may raise a number of practical difficulties. Retailers, both large and small, are likely to be unfairly penalised due to poorly drafted legislation. The clause, as it currently stands, may be extremely difficult to implement.

I gather that local authorities have had the opportunity to consult the Minister further on that. Is he minded to introduce any changes to the clause at a later stage?