I move amendment No. 2:
In subsection (1) (b), page 4, to substitute ", and" for the full stop in line 38 and, between lines 38 and 39, to add:
"(iii) the objections and representations of interested members of the public, of scientific or other expert bodies, of the prescribed bodies and of any person whose interests might be affected by a decision to grant a permit."
We had last week a protracted discussion about the first amendment in which I was trying to make it quite clear exactly the reasons why I felt it necessary to put down a series of amendments to the Dumping at Sea Bill. This amendment obviously falls into exactly the same category. In keeping with international legislation which ratified the London and Oslo Conventions, I want to see opportunities given to as wide a range as possible of expert citizens to have an input in decisions about what gets dumped off our coastline. This section asks for the Minister to take into account, when he is making decisions about giving permits for substances to be dumped at sea, not only the undoubted experise in all the Government Departments but to allow for the fact that there probably are interested and expert citizens who do not work in a Government Department and whose objections and representations might be extremely valid and helpful. When we were discussing the concept of certain prescribed bodies which appears again in this amendment, the Minister seemed to be under the impression that I did not think there were many good experts in those Departments. Of course I do, and I am sure there are equally good experts in the Government Departments of the other countries who have had this kind of legislation on their Statute Books.
What I want to know, and what I am in the process of trying to find out, is why we have decided not to invite the kind of citizen participation in the permits for dumping at sea that other countries invite. The justification for the amendment is quite simple. It enables the Minister to make better decisions in the light of the maximum available information.
I want to mention another section of the population under this amendment as well. It would enable fishermen, and a group of other people, who might be contemplating applying for permits to know what is going on in advance, to know what the objections are, in other words, to have a clear view of what the whole picture is in the light of the best representations from different sections of society. So my amendment No. 2 is there for exactly the same reasons as was amendment No. 1. But I have not had what I would consider a satisfactory discussion on this at all and I most reluctantly withdrew amendment No. 1. I would like to discuss with the Minister why apparently there seems to be a definite effort to exclude citizen participation in this process of granting permits.