Environmental Protection Agency Bill, 1990: Report Stage (Resumed).

I move amendment No. 57:

In page 34, line 45, after "report." to insert "Details of any trusts or conditions attached to such gifts shall be contained in the report."

This amendment should go through without any problem. It is simply a matter of clarification. The section deals with the acceptance of gifts by the agency and as far as it goes it is quite acceptable because it specifically says that the agency can accept gifts, which is perfectly reasonable. I do not know if they will get many but they can accept them. One could envisage some of the multinationals being prepared to fund some of the work of the agency. That might be expecting too much but nevertheless, one could. envisage it. Subsecton (2) says that "the agency shall not accept a gift if the trusts or conditions attached to it would be inconsistent with, or prejudice, the effective performance of its functions". That is perfectly reasonable. Subsection (3) says "the agency shall publish in its annual report details of all gifts accepted by it ...".

My amendment suggests that the report should make public the conditions attached to any trusts because there can be conditions, that they would be used in only one area of the agency's work, that they would be used over a period of time, that, perhaps, certain trustees might have to be consulted or conditions that one cannot envisage. Therefore, it should be made perfectly clear that nothing is being withheld from the public in this area.

To the Minister's great credit, she dealt in considerable detail in amendment No. 52 with the interests of people in senior positions with the agency. It is perfectly reasonable then that we should go to some lengths to ensure that interests attached to gifts are clearly known to the public. All my amendment says is that details of any trusts or conditions attached to such gifts shall be contained in the report. I know the Minister will tell me that that is implied in the phraseology of subsection (3) but even if it is it will not do any harm to have that made explicit and in doing so to underline the principle — that is not nearly as well underlined as it ought to be — or transparency.

I ask the Minister to accept what is not in any way a controversial or fundamentally important amendment but one that contributes to the objective the Minister has set herself in this Bill, which is to win public trust.

I second the amendment.

I indicated on Committee Stage that I would look at this again for Report Stage but that I did not think a change was necessary. I have considered it again and discussed it with the parliamentary draftsman who confirmed since Committee Stage that this amendment is unnecessary. The details of the gifts to be published under subsection (3) would include the conditions attached to such gifts.

I will not hold up the House unnecessarily on this but I do not think the parliamentary draftsman is right. I have been here long enough to be aware that while that office is, I am sure, populated by eminent people of considerable ability and so on, it is not infallible. I do not accept that details of all gifts accepted by the agency means details of all the conditions attached to the gifts. I believe that simple English means what it says. If I am told that I will be given the details of the gifts I think what I am guaranteed, as distinct from what the agency may choose to make available to me, is simply a statement that we got gifts from A, B, C, D, E. In plain, simple English a report giving details of all the gifts made to the agency does not in any way give me a guarantee that details of the conditions attached to those gifts will be made available to me. On this point I beg to differ from the parliamentary draftsman. I think he is wrong.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 58 not moved.
Government amendment No. 59:
In page 36, between lines 12 and 13, to insert the following:
"(c) have regard to the need for precaution in relation to the potentially harmful effect of emissions, where there are, in the opinion of the Agency, reasonable grounds for believing that such emissions could cause significant environmental pollution,".
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 60 not moved.

Acting Chairman

Amendments Nos. 61, 70 and 71 are related and all may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 61:

In page 41, line 14, to delete "may" and substitute "shall".

I urge the Minister to accept this amendment. Basically, this section states that the agency may, for the purposes of environmental protection, specify and publish criteria and procedures for the selection, management, operation and termination of use by local authorities of landfill sites for the disposal of domestic and other waste. I am not sure why "may" is necessary in this. I would like to see a national policy and standards laid down. Leaving it to individual local authorities in cases where the local authorities are scrupulous and have a good environmental record is very satisfactory but I am afraid not all local authorities have a good environmental record. The agency should lay down national standards in the management, operation and, indeed, the termination and landscaping ultimately of completed landfill sites.

I urge the Minister to strengthen this otherwise very good section with the word "shall"; I think "may" is unnecessary there. The word "may" is used many times throughout the Bill when we would prefer the word "shall". It weakens the impact we all want the agency to have in terms of environmental protection and national management of the environment. I do not think it should be a matter of being worried about stepping on the corns of local authorities. Niceties in regard to the relationship between the local authority and the Environmental Protection Agency cannot be the reason the Minister has not accepted the word "shall" instead of the word "may" here. I urge the Minister to ensure that we have national standards and to make it dictate, if you like, that the agency shall specify and publish criteria and procedures for landfill sites. It is very easy to knock every proposed amendment; often the simpler they seem, the quicker they are pushed to one side.

There is hardly a more contentious area in local government than that of garbage disposal and landfill sites. Local authorities would appreciate having recourse to a higher body that would decide these issues. It would avoid them facing down local councillors or groups who may be causing difficulties in terms of location, siting or management if they could defer to an Environmental Protection Agency who would lay down national criteria and there would be no argument about it. One of the most difficult problems in the years to come will be the disposal of waste and the management of landfill sites. Therefore, I urge the Minister to accept my amendment. Section 59 (1) would then state that the agency "shall for the purposes of environmental protection, specify and publish criteria and procedures for the selection, management, operation and termination of the use by local authorities of landfill sites for the disposal of domestic and other waste". This will be a critically important area in the years to come and one in which local authorities will need help from a national agency such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

I am in a quandary here because amendments Nos. 70 and 71 have been taken with amendment No. 61 and apart from the fact that each proposes to replace the word "may" with the word "shall", they are entirely separate and unrelated.

I support that, and object to the groupings.

With all due respect, amendment No. 70 deals with environmental audits and amendment No. 71 deals with environmental quality objectives. The only thing the three amendments have in common is the proposal to replace the word "may" with the word "shall". That makes no sense. I will not delay the House but we are in a real mess, talking about three things that are totally separate.

Acting Chairman

If the House agrees we can have a separate debate. Is the Senator merely contributing to his amendment as it is?

I am seconding Senator Doyle's amendment because I agree with it. Can we debate the other two amendments when we come to them?

Acting Chairman

Does the House agree to debate them separately? Agreed.

On amendment No. 61, apart from the issue that Senator Doyle, as one of the surviving local authority members in Fine Gael——

I have plenty of colleagues.

——raised, may I say that some local authorities have an extraordinary capacity — and I am not starting a fight with local authority members — to locate dumps in the most extraordinarily scenic areas? I do not know who was responsible, for the site in Tralee. I am not trying to fight with Senator Foley either — nor do I know who was responsible for the Dingle site.

I know who was responsible in Dingle and they will hardly change their minds.

Acting Chairman

Senator Ryan without interruption, please.

Landfill sites are potentially extremely hazardous. Apart from the visual impact, the smell and so on, there can be large accumulations of methane gas. For instance, we do not know how close we came to a serious incident with the major landfill site in Cork city but what we do know is that by the time the corporation finally condescended to let the public know what they knew, they had already taken remedial action. However, until they had sorted it out to their satisfaction, they would not tell anybody what they knew. Transparency is grand but it does not seem to work when there is a problem and people are entitled to know when there are problems. We do not yet understand the effect of leaching of toxic substances and heavy metals. It appears that whatever standards are set there still will be problems subsequently.

For all those reasons it should not be left to the discretion of the agency. It is an extremely important part of a proper environmental protection policy that the Environmental Protection Agency should specify and publish criteria for the selection, management, operation and termination of the use by local authorities of landfill sites. It is an extremely important and sensitive area in terms of human health and safety and in terms of visual amenities. Therefore, it is not an area where the agency should have discretion. The simple amendment proposed by Senator Doyle is perfectly reasonable and this should be one of the obligatory functions of the Environmental Protection Agency.

I cannot understand why Ministers have a horror of putting the word "shall" into legislation. Perhaps in this section we should insert the word "shall" for "may". In fairness, the Minister thought she had sufficient protection in the explanatory document where it states: "If the Agency is dissatisfied with the monitoring response of a local authority it can carry out the monitoring itself and recover the cost from the local authority". As Senator Ryan said, draftsmen, or draftspeople, of legislation make mistakes but they are willing to rectify them. Perhaps the Minister would look at Senator Doyle's amendment and deal with the phobia of Ministers not wanting to change the word "may" to "shall" because draftsmen use the word "may" in the Bills which come before us all the time. This would protect her new legislation, as it would protect the local authorities. Perhaps the Minister should accept Senator Doyle's amendment to section 59.

I support the amendment. The Bill, is riddled with "the Minister may", "the Agency may" and so on. As Senator Doyle said, this area of landfill sites, as any member of a local authority will know, has been fraught with disagreement, contention and, in many instances, has been very badly handled. The dump in Clifden was in the most scenic part of the town and a monstrous visual blot on the landscape. Fortunately, it has now been moved to a very suitable location but in my term on Dublin City Council, the Dunsink dump and others have been among the most contentious subjects raised at meeting after meeting. I accept that it is necessary to have those landfill operations for the disposal of vast quantities of waste and rubbish of all kinds, far too much of which is produced in any case. The Minister is working as effectively as she can but probably not as effectively as she would like, in reducing the amount of domestic rubbish by recycling it. Many local authorities would welcome assistance on how, where and the criteria they should use in the selection of landfill sites for the disposal of domestic waste. It is imperative that the agency produce those specifications and I urge the Minister to take this amendment on board and change the word "may" to "shall".

The Minister will have to consider accepting this amendment. It is in the spirit of everything that she has said from the first day she came into this House with this legislation. It is completely in line with the objectives outlined in section 51. This is one of the most emotive issues in many towns. Dingle, Tralee and Clifden have been mentioned but there are many more. The list of towns where there has been a row about the siting of landfill sites is too numerous to mention. This is precisely why we are setting up this kind of agency. I have held the view all through the discussions on this Bill that we should allow discretion and that the agency should be able to make decisions. However, this is not about discretion. This is about direction, this is an indication of what we expect of this agency.

I am not a member of the local authority, nor do I aspire to be, but I have seen the split and division created in local authorities when they have had to decide on the location of landfill sites, and so on. Far from constraining or restricting them this would give them direction and allow them to make decisions within a national context. We have to put the words "may" and "shall" in the context of the sentence. The Bill states: "The Agency may, for the purposes of environmental protection, specify and publish criteria and procedures for the selection ... The agency can be as vague or as definite as they choose. There are other cases where you might put in "may" and "shall" where you are tying in the agency. If we say, as a legislative move, we now want the agency to produce a certain set of criteria, the agency might decide it is not possible to put in definite tight guidelines or constraints which would satisfy the needs of every selection process in different local authority areas and that all they can do is give more generalised sets of criteria, but we are entitled to ask for that. Addressing the various different areas is surely a critical part of their operation.

The issue of landfill sites is one that people argue about. In terms of the public response to the Bill, leaving out those who are involved in industry and development, it is from the Legislature that their direction will come. Whether people like it or not, a local authority has to make a decision within the parameters laid down by the Authority. It would be unfair of the Minister to respond that it is unacceptable that local authorities be tied down or constrained by the decision. That is not what is intended. What is intended here is to set the guidelines and the parameters within which the selection should take place. This is a most reasonable demand and I think it will be welcomed because the local authority would have guidelines. A county has to make a decision now and again. They do not have access to the totality of information regarding landfill sites, etc. and that information will be available to the Authority. They will have at their disposal all the information within which to determine parameters and then the local authority will make the final decision.

It is a most reasonable amendment and it would be in all our interests if this were to happen. It gives direction and meets the need and it is what the people are looking for. I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment.

On the face of it, what Senators are saying may be very reasonable but the problem in relation to landfill sites is not the criteria for site selection; it is rather the enforcement of the criteria that exist. In 1987 the Department of the Environment issued a very detailed memorandum for the guidance of local authorities on the management and operation of landfill sites. The memorandum incorporated earlier site selection criteria previously drawn up by the Geological Survey Office and so on, and relates to sites for disposal of household waste on its own and sites where industrial and commercial waste may be disposed of in conjunction with household waste. The problem is not the issuing of guidelines, criteria, procedures or whatever; rather it is the enforcement of it, and that is why the agency is being given mandatory powers under subsection (3) (a) and (3) (b) in relating to monitoring and so on.

The difficulty I have with putting the word "shall" instead of "may" in section 59 (1) is that it would cause difficulties for the commencement of the section in that it is, I am advised, a mammoth task. It would require the agency to go through every single landfill site that exists in order to issue and specify the criteria involved. I am well disposed to the point made by Senators. I would like to have an opportunity before we go to the Dáil, if that is in order, to look at the time implications that might be involved. I am advised that if "shall" replaces "may" the obligation upon the agency is immediate and what we want to do — I discussed this earlier when we were bringing in a commencement date — is bring in the most pressing areas that the agency must deal with first, like the licensing role and so on. Obviously, although it is desirable that it would be done as quickly as possible because of the time factor and so on involved, it may be necessary to specify a time period for bringing in the mandatory condition or requirement for the agency to carry out this particular task.

In relation to landfill sites, I agree there are problems around the country particularly with many of the older sites. The problem very often arises because of the manner in which these sites are operated and maintained. Section 59 (3) (b) states:

The Agency shall carry out, cause to be carried out, or arrange for, such monitoring as it considers necessary to verify results transmitted to it under paragraph (a).

I agree that the monitoring, management and operation of sites are possibly more important in many ways than the selection itself because invariably there are difficulties with selection. Virtually no community wants landfill sites close by.

The whole question of waste, the need for waste minimisation, prevention and so on, is being dealt with in a separate comprehensive Bill which is being drafted in my Department, and obviously the whole issue of waste will be dealt with in that context.

This is such a complex Bill that obviously it will be necessary to come back to the Seanad with it because I do not envisage it will go through the Dáil without amendment. We were not able to finalise our thinking on the relationship between the licence and the planning system before Report Stage and I was anxious to get Report Stage here over as quickly as possible. There will be a number of things we will be coming back on and, if that is in order, I would like to look at the practical implications of putting the mandatory requirement there from day one.

I thank the Minister for her reply and am pleased to hear that she will have another look at this issue and the implications of the amendments between now and when the Bill reaches the Dáil.

If this section read "The Agency shall as soon as practical for the purposes of environmental protection" would get over the immediate crisis of the logistical problem of going around the country and sorting things out. I do not agree that it will be such a mammoth task and that the agency will literally hold every local authority, big and small, by the hand and say here is your site, cover it with so much clay so many times a week. A national set of guidelines and criteria could be published stating minimal acceptable standards for the maintenance of landfill sites. I would have a slightly different view of what might be represented by this, but obviously the Minister knows best.

I cannot see the Environmental Protection Agency, no matter how much time it is given, sorting out the individual problems of every small urban council, town commission, county council and corporation in every half parish, in terms of waste disposal. Perhaps the Minister will bear that in mind. In any case, "The Agency shall as soon as practical for the purposes of environmental protection, specify and publish criteria" would get over the logistical problems. I do not think we should run away from what is best in the Bill because there is a time scale that is difficult to incorporate initially. We will have to look to that and sort it out.

To say we cannot substitute the word "may" for "shall" because the criteria are not causing the problem but rather the enforcement, is not justified. If that were the case, the Minister could have omitted section 59 (1) and gone straight on to the section dealing with enforcement. When the Minister mentions the possibility of publishing criteria, it is obviously in her mind that the Environmental Protection Agency will get round to doing this for all or some of the major local authorities. Obviously this is an issue. We might differ on the degree of importance but we cannot underestimate the difficulties there will be in the years to come in relation to local authorities complying with their requirements to dispose of waste safely and, at the same time, meeting the environmental demands, both real and hyped, of local people. It is the NIMBY principle: not in my back yard. We all want the local authority to dispose of waste and to house travellers so long as it is not in our back yard. That is unfortunately the type of society we are living in today. The local authorities would welcome the help of national guidelines and criteria laid down by the Environmental Protection Agency. I urge the Minister to look at this and hopefully change "may" to "shall" and include "as soon as practical".

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Acting Chairman

Amendments Nos. 62 and 63 are related and both may be discussed together.

Government amendment No. 62:
In page 41, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:
"(i) appropriate recovery, reuse and recycling facilities,".

This amendment will enable the agency to include criteria and procedures relating to recovery, reuse and recycling facilities in any criteria or procedures they may publish relating to the management of landfill sites by local authorities. As such it accords waste recycling and recovery specific recognition in the Bill and meets the wishes expressed by a number of Senators on Committee Stage. My amendment applies the substance of Senators Doyle's and Naughten's amendments as far as recycling is concerned. The reduction of waste at source is more appropriate to the forthcoming waste Bill.

The Minister is wrong when she says the reduction of waste is more appropriate to the waste Bill. As I said before on this Bill, clean technology is the way of the future for a large section of the processing industries. It is not a matter of controlling waste. The ultimate objective is the elimination of waste. The place to deal with that is in Environmental Protection Agency legislation. I am not going to delay the House with a long argument about it, but there is a philosophical difference here. The Environmental Protection Agency with the agency in this State which deals with occupational health and safety ought to be the groups responsible for waste minimisation because it applies as much to the safety of the workforce on the plant as it does to people in the surrounding area. The handling of waste and dealing with it are perfectly legitimate things for a Bill on waste but if the objective of a waste Bill is to minimise waste we will have to live with hazardous substances for a while. There is a perfectly good reason for having legislation to deal with it. The objective of waste minimisation is the fundamental platform for future environmental protection and there is a good reason for having it in this legislation.

I welcome the amendment but fully support the case made by Senator Ryan that the reduction of waste at source is a matter for this Bill. It may be a matter also for the Waste Disposal Bill and other legislation. It most definitely is a matter to be referred to here as it is part and parcel of the overall environmental debate.

Prevention is better than cure and the best way to protect our environment is by not producing the waste in the first place so that we do not have the problem of disposing of it or recycling it. If we can reduce it, we reduce other programmes further down the line. The concept of the reduction of waste at source deserves to be in this legislation because it is one of the environmental principles under which those of us who are concerned about the environment operate.

While I accept the point the Minister made that this might be more appropriate for discussion on the Waste Disposal Bill, the concept and the principle of reduction of waste at source deserves to be included in any serious environmental legislation. I would like to think this is serious environmental legislation and this deserves to be included in the Bill. While I have no difficulty in supporting the Minister's amendment as far as it goes, I would like her to add the principle of the reduction of waste at source or accept that part of my amendment when we get to it.

We are talking about landfill sites. The reduction of waste at source is a matter for decision where the waste is produced in the first place by giving incentives or specifying obligations to reduce it or whatever. That is a matter which is being considered in the context of the waste Bill which is currently being drafted. It would be the intention to give the agency responsibility for certain aspects of that Bill when it is being debated. When the Bill is being discussed we will deal with the issues that will be the responsibility of the agency. The two will not be separate. What we are talking about here is introducing a requirement in conection with landfill sites for the reduction of waste at source. I do not think it is relevant to the issue of landfill sites.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 63 not moved.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendment No. 64 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 64 deals with the performance of statutory functions by local authorities, one of the most important aspects of this Bil and one of the most glaring omissions. There is no charge on the Exchequer or on the Government. In fact I suggest it be reduced by way of derogation. I ask the Chair to reconsider the ruling on this most important amendment. Local authorities cannot be——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendment No. 64 has been ruled out of order and cannot be discussed.

I ask the Chair to reconsider. It was ruled out by your good self and I must ask you to reconsider as, with respect, there is no charge on the Exchequer.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The ruling of the Chair on this matter cannot be challenged and I ask the Senator to accept that.

It is incorrect. There is no potential charge upon the public revenue. In fact, it suggests the saving.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

That amendment was ruled out of order on Committee Stage and again on Report Stage.

I ask the Chair to reconsider it. We cannot discuss one of the greatest omissions from this Bill on Report Stage and the local authority can continue as before disregarding——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

While I sympathise with the sentiments of the Senator I cannot allow amendment No. 64 to be discussed.

Even though we cannot discuss the amendment, I ask the Minister to seriously consider this omission before the Bill goes to the Dáil as it is one of the big weaknesses——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I cannot allow amendment No. 64 to be discussed. I am calling amendment No. 65.

I support Senator Doyle.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I have ruled Senator Doyle out of order.

Can the Chair explain the ruling, please? I am a newcomer here. The Senator is looking for a derogation. She says it will reduce expenditure. We do not have to argue about it. Could we just have the facts?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The amendment was ruled out of order; I do not have to explain why, but since you asked it is ruled out because it involves potential expenditure.

How does it involve potential expenditure?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I have called amendment No. 65.

It is a pity that the amendment could not be discussed.

Amendment No. 64 not moved.

I move amendment No. 65:

In page 46, between lines 39 and 40, to insert the following:

"(f) data on the toxicity and flammability of all emissions listed in paragraph (e)".

My sympathy is with my two colleagues: I am amazed by the ruling on amendment No. 64.

Amendment No. 65 relates to the section of the Bill which deals with the environmental quality data storage system which the agency shall establish and maintain. Sometime, informally, I would love to have a discussion with the Minister about the criteria used for the selection of "may" and "shall" in various sections of the Bill. I am glad the agency will have to establish and maintain a data base related to environmental quality.

Section 66 (2) contains a list of provisions. My amendment simply wants to add to that list the data on the toxicity and flammability of all emissions listed in paragraph (e).

The reason I want toxicity and flammability included is that they are the two things that most concern citizens in terms of emissions from plants. What concerns them most is the harm they might do. They are also concerned about the possibility of fire or an explosion resulting from those emissions. There are a number of issues to be raised there. I read with interest the Minister's view on this. She says that: "something on the lines of the US toxic release inventory would be a better option, be more meaningful and helpful to the public and probably result in reductions of emissions if the American experience is repeated". The Minister may be right and a standardised method might well take over from this. If the agency is obliged to tell the public that a long list of substances with obscure names are being released but is not obliged to tell them the hazards involved, the risk to human health and the possibility of a fire, then we are in a peculiar pickle.

In column 1780 of the Official Report of Seanad Eireann dated 10 May 1990 the Minister said:

I have been advised by my technical advisers in the Department that this provision would not be a practical proposition as toxicity and flammability are only meaningful when used in relation to a specific medium, life form or location.

Most human beings consider toxicity in terms of "will it kill us or not". To quote from a more authoritative source than Brendan Ryan, the Byrne Ó Cléirigh report which the Minister's office supplied to me, deals with the proposed national incinerator and with the question of hazardous waste. It refers us to the draft EC directive on hazardous waste of August 1988 which gives the definition in Annex 3 of what is an explosive substance, what is an oxidising substance, what is a highly flammable substance, a flammable substance, what is an irritant, what is harmful, toxic, carcinogenic and corrosive.

If the Minister told me that my amendment did not go far enough and should list all those criteria then perhaps we could have a discussion. In my limited technical knowledge, the toxicity of a substance is measured as either an LD50 or an LC50, two different ways of testing the toxicity of substances on animals. Without getting into the ethical question of whether this is right, they are the criteria that are used. They are then linked with threshold limit values which are stated data under defined criteria.

In relation to flammability there is an upper explosive limit, a lower explosive limit and a flashpoint. It is the first time that I have been informed that people cannot be given any sort of data about toxicity or flammability because they can only be used in relation to a specific medium, life form or location. It is true that toxicity is different for a human being, an animal or a bird. It is true that flammability depends on whether the substance is in the presence of oxygen but it is disingenuous to suggest that technical fact can be used not to give people access to the information that is available about the toxicity of substances that are released into their environment. We can argue about the wording of the amendment but I cannot understand why the agency responsible for making available to people details about emissions into their environment should not be obliged to inform them of the risks.

One of the problems for technical people is that science is not nearly as knowledgable as it pretends. I quote from the OECD report of May, 1987:

Many thousands of chemicals currently in commercial use have not been adequately assessed for their potential hazards to man or the environment.

Perhaps the problem is that they would have to tell people that it is not known if a lot of what is allowed into the atmosphere is considered harmful or harmless. There is also the question of whether we can tell what is being emitted from a hazardous waste incinerator. The truth is that we do not know half the things that are emitted. We can only search for the things we know exist.

If people are to be told what is emitted, the data base that contains details of the emissions should also contain information about the relative hazards of the emissions. Hazard identification is not vague, it is fairly well quantified. The measurements on which it is based are specific. They do not apply universally but they can be stated in a fashion which tells people what they need to know about themselves. Should it be decided that inventories of emissions into the environment should be kept by the Environmental Protection Agency, then the hazards of those emissions should be part of the data base on which those inventories are kept.

I second the amendment.

I appreciate the Senator's interest in ensuring that maximum information is available to the public about toxicity and flammability of emissions into the environment. Perhaps the introduction of the concept into this section is not the most appropriate for all sorts of practical reasons. For example, as regards the more wide-ranging emissions of substances such as sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds, there is standard and well-documented information on toxicity and inflammability. Anyone who has an understanding of the implications would have no difficulty in finding that information.

In relation to emissions from licensed activities, these will be dealt with in the context of applications for licences. The information obtained as regards such emissions, including toxicity and flammability, will form part of the information held and the licence register to which public access is being provided for under section 86.

The agency will have power under section 84 (2) (d) to seek information which could include toxicity and flammability data from applicants. In addition, I consider that something on the lines of the US toxic release inventory would be a better option. It would be more meaningful and helpful to the public and probably result in reductions of emissions if the American experience is repeated.

I am investigating the possibility for providing for such an inventory in the new waste legislation and I do not think we should include a similar type of provision in two separate Bills. I am confused as to whether the Senator is asking for details of the substances so that somebody else can decide their level of toxicity or flammability in regard either to animal life or human life or whether he expects that this will be done by the agency. I do not think that would be either desirable or possible. Obviously a lot depends on the levels and exposure. I am not a scientist. The Senator quoted what I said the last day. I have nothing further to add.

It is exactly the same today, word for word.

I have to take the advice of my technical advisers who know more about this than I do. The register of the details of the licence conditions, emissions and so on will be available for public inspection. The details will be contained in the register and will be open to anyone who wishes to measure the toxicity and flammability. I do not think it will be a matter for the agency to analyse those matters. In any event, if the aim is to have information made public with a view to reducing the level of such substances, it is more appropriate to deal with it in the way the Americans have, which has had a dramatic effect on the level of pollutants and on the nature of substances which are used and the various chemical emissions. In all, about 20,000 different industries are covered in the United States where they have to submit details annually of about 320 different substances that are used. The actual obligation to submit the information, without any mandatory condition to do anything about the substances in itself, because of the access the public have had to that information and so on has led to a huge reduction in the use of these substances in the first place. Something of that kind is desirable here and it is being examined in the context of waste legislation.

I have here before me a draft EC directive on hazardous waste. Just for the record, it defines for instance, "highly flammable" as "liquid substances and preparations having a flashpoint below 21º centigrade". If a draft EC directive can define a flammable substance as that, either all the experts in the EC are wrong or I am wrong or the Minister is wrong. The directive defines "flammable" as "liquids substances and preparations having a flashpoint equal to or greater than 21º centrigade". It then defines toxic substances as "substances which, if they are inhaled or ingested or if they penetrate the skin may involve serious, acute or chronic health risks and even death".

In regard to the concept of toxicity, since we cannot test all these substances on human beings we have to test them on animals. There are only a limited number of ways of testing the toxicity of substances and tragically, the major method of identifying carcinogens which have been allowed into the human environment has been counting dead bodies. Epidemiological studies are by far the most effective methods of identifying potential carcinogens and that, tragically, has been the experience over the years. I am not asking that the Environmental Protection Agency should do studies of this. I am simply saying that a body with its resources should assemble the data so that the ordinary citizen can know precisely what risks are involved.

Let us talk about polycyclic or heterocyclic aromatic compounds, aliphatic amines, aromatic amines, ethers, any congenor of polychlorinated diben-zo-furans, any congenor of polychlorinated dibenzop-dioxin.

It is disingenous of the Minister to talk to me about sulphur dioxide and nitric oxide, for instance. We all know about sulphur dioxide and nitric oxide. There are thousands of substances and only a specialised agency dedicated to the task can assemble that information so that every local group does not have to work through Green Net or one of these groups to get information about the evidence that is available about the toxicity or otherwise of much more obscure substances. I am not too worried about suplhur dioxide any more. I am not too worried about dioxides of nitrogen any more. We now realise how hazardous they are and nobody will get away with emission levels of any significance for those but there are thousands of other substances that are obscure and we do not understand the toxicity of many of them. Citizens are entitled to know if our Environmental Protection Agency does not know whether a substance is toxic or not. They are entitled to know what the agency knows about the toxicity of substances and similarily about flammability.

Therefore, while I would have been prepared to listen to the Minister on the appropriateness of my amendment, I have to say that I am not satisfied with her response on this one that they are going to have an inventory of emissions. This means, presumably, that we are going to have some data about all of the emissions that are going into the atmosphere and we are going to have them all in a data base. The citizen will then say: "What harm will these emissions do? Are they risky? Are the concentrations that are liable to emerge in my area dangerous?" and the Environmental Protection Agency will say: "No. When the Oireachtas passes the waste management Bill we may have a toxic release inventory available which will tell you that".

I cannot understand the less than whole-hearted acceptance of this. Part of the necessary data to be available to people should be the risks to them of emissions. My suspicion is — I am not accusing the Minister or her advisers of this — that many scientists are reluctant to admit that they do not know the hazards involved. They can say quite happily that there is no scientific evidence at this stage to show that this substance is dangerous. That does not mean it has been proven to be safe. It simply means that it has not been proven to be dangerous. Therefore, I cannot withdraw the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 66 not moved.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendment No. 68 is consequential on amendment No. 67 and they may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 67:

In page 48, line 36, to delete "The Minister may, by regulations, require".

These relate, — I quote my eminent colleague, Senator Murphy, who quoted Flann O'Brien "As I perform that Impossible Callisthenic Exercise of Pulling Myself Together"; I give full credit to Senator Murphy for that, I am only repeating what he said — to environmental impact assessments. The objective of my amendment is to make it obligatory that a copy of an environmental impact statement prepared in respect of any development or class of development to which the section applies shall be sent to the agency by the person or body. As it stands in section 69, the Minister may, by regulations, require a copy of an environmental impact assessment to be sent.

When these amendments were discussed on Committee Stage the Minister said she was prepared to accept the principle behind these amendments that all environmental impact statements should be submitted to the agency. She said a revised wording would be required to fit in with the rest of the section and that she would bring forward an appropriate amendment on Report Stage. Maybe I missed it but I have not found it yet. I simply want to do what the Minister and all of us agreed was necessary, namely, that in all circumstances environmental impact assessments should be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency which then may, if it sees fit, comment on them as it sees fit.

I second that amendment.

I gave an undertaking on Committee Stage to accept the principle that all environmental impact statements should be submitted to the agency and it is my intention to amend the Bill accordingly. However, there are likely to be other amendments affecting section 69 as a result of my review of the interaction between the agency's licensing procedures and the planning system. This review has not yet been completed and there are continuing discussions between officials of my Department and other organisations. It is my intention to bring forward appropriate amendments on Committee Stage in the Dáil and it is intended to provide for the matters raised in the amendments put down by Senators Ryan and O'Toole.

I do not want to carp but this is the third time the Minister has said that she has not had time to do these things. I took this legislation very seriously and I am disappointed that considerable parts of the amendments we were promised are not to be taken in this House but will be transferred to the other House where, no doubt, they will be more than adequately debated. Nevertheless, I can only accept, as I would always do in this particular Minister's case, the goodwill of the Minister on the issue, register my grumble and withdraw the amendment.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is the Senator withdrawing the amendment?

Yes, I do not think I have much option but to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On a point of order, can we get an assurance that this Bill will have to come back to the Seanad so that we can debate the amendments we now know are going to be made in the Dáil, and which, dare I say, we will have to rubber stamp. In view of the importance of some of these amendments and the intimation of the Minister that the relationship between the Environmental Protection Agency and the local authorities on licensing is being looked at again, can I have an assurance that the Bill will be recommitted here rather than just rushed through Report Stage?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

That is not a point of order and it is not a question for the Chair either.

Amendments Nos. 68 and 69 not moved.

I move amendment No. 70:

In page 50, to delete "may" and substitute "shall".

This amendment simply says that the agency, instead of having a discretionary power to promote the carrying out of environmental audits "shall" promote the carrying out of environmental audits. "Shall promote" is as innocuous a requirement as you could have. For instance, all of us have an obligation to promote good living, moral behaviour and God knows what else and we all do it to the best of our ability, but it is not an overburdening imposition. Therefore, it seems to me that given the importance of environmental audits in terms of improving the quality of environmental appreciation and protection, etc, by various activities, it seems to me perfectly reasonable that the Environmental Protection Agency should have an obligation, not a discretionary power, to promote environmental audits.

I second the amendment.

The whole concept of the environmental auditing does not as yet exist in this country. I think it is desirable that it should be introduced and that the agency should be given responsibility for introducing it to those sectors or areas of activity where it believes it is desirable. I believe that in the first couple of years of its introduction it should be discretionary rather than mandatory for every single operation to have to carry out an environmental audit. While I have no doubt that eventually we may get to that situation in relation to most activities, I think, initially, it is only desirable that that be the case in relation to certain matters. Therefore, it is desirable that this function, which is a very new and radical one in Irish legislation, should be at the discretion of the Environmental Protection Agency and I do not think it is desirable to insist that the agency does things simply for the sake of doing them. I think we should leave it at the discretion of the agency to introduce the concept of environmental auditing into those areas of activities where it believes it is not necessary and desirable.

The discretions should rest with the agency so that they can, both in terms of their resources and expertise, concentrate their activities into the areas where they, as environmental professionals, believe they are most needed. I am not certain that we should be giving the agency a host of mandatory conditions simply for the sake of doing it. If that were the case, it would mean that many things would only be done as a matter of course rather than because they are important, necessary and desirable.

I do not know whether the Minister is making a mistake or being badly advised but there is nothing in my amendment which would suggest that if the word "shall" replaces "may" the agency would have to go around making every process carry out environmental audits. For the first time in the debate on this Environmental Protection Agency Bill I am beginning to get a little annoyed.

We have discussed the landfills earlier where the Minister objected to the word "shall" instead of "may" and suggested that if "shall" went instead of "may" it would have to apply to every landfill site in the country on the spot. We now have the Minister suggesting that if "shall" goes instead of "may" the agency will immediately have to enforce every process in the country to carry out an environmental audit. Any reading of section 71 makes it quite clear that it is not the case. What the section would say is: "The agency shall promote the carrying out of environmental audits". It does not say it shall make people, shall compel, shall require, it says it shall "promote" and whether it has "may" or "shall" it seems to me that it does not even have the power to make anybody carry out an environmental audit. It cannot require anybody to do it whether it is discretionary or otherwise. All it says is the agency may promote the carrying out of environmental audits. This is, as the Minister said, extremely important, extremely innovative.

Water quality management plans in 1977 were also discretionary and have not yet been drawn up by some local authorities after 14 years. I am extremely sceptical about discretionary powers. In 1977 the Water Pollution Act gave local authorities the discretionary power to draw up water quality management plans. Some of them still have not done it and we are in 1991. I am extremely nervous of the number of discretionary areas in this legislation which will quite likely be left because they are difficult. I get annoyed when the Minister suggests something that seems to be manifestly at variance with a reasonable reading of this. There is nothing in my amendment which would make the agency tell every process in the country to carry out an environmental audit. It simply says that instead of having the discretionary power to promote environmental audits, they have to promote environmental audits and that is all it says.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 71:

In page 51, line 25, to delete "may" and substitute "shall".

Again we are going through the same increasingly frustrating routine. These are environmental quality objectives. What could be more central to the role of an Environmental Protection Agency than the specification and publication of quality objectives which the agency considers reasonable and desirable for the purposes of environmental protection? What do we have? The agency "may" do it. In relation to any environmental medium, it does not have to specify and publish quality objectives which the agency considers reasonable and desirable for the purposes of environmental protection. What will an environmental protection agency which does not have to specify environmental quality objectives do if it does not have to specify environmental quality objectives? Will it operate on an ad hoc, one-at-a-time basis without any principles or basic criteria?

It only "may" get grant aid from the Minister.

Is the Minister now going to tell me that if we put in "shall" instead of "may" it will have to produce everything all of a sudden? It will not. It would state: "The Agency shall, in relation to any environmental medium and without prejudice to its functions under section 100, specify and publish quality objectives which the agency considers reasonable and desirable for the purposes of environmental protection." It could start off with what is currently available and it could build up from that with time as it considers reasonable and desirable. How many qualifications, sub-clauses or adverbs do you have to put into a subsection to protect the agency from ever being forced to do anything? First it "may" and then, having been given that enormous discretion, we go through the Bill and it says "which the Agency considers reasonable and desirable". As far as I am concerned my amendment is eminently more reasonable, than that it should have to do what it believes to be reasonable and desirable. That is not much of an objective.

I second the amendment.

Again, I support Senator Ryan's amendment. I feel strongly about a few things that have happened here this evening. I am a committed Senator and I hope the Minister will take this in the way I mean it because we are good friends. This Bill is being taken very seriously by some of us in this House. As a senior Senator I am a little annoyed to be told by any Minister that the Bill is going back to the Dáil to be amended there. I say that with the greatest respect to the Dáil. I have proved myself to be a committed Member of this House. Legislation which goes through here is important, regardless of the daft people who believe this House should be abolished. As I said, I am a committed Member of this House and will continue to be so if the people have the good sense to elect me again.

Would Senator Honan exempt the Minister from the daft people?

I did not mean anything like that. I would ask the Minister to accept Senator Brendan Ryan's amendment. It would help those of us who have stayed here all the time to see one amendment even, at this stage, being accepted and not to be told that it will go back to the Dáil. I ask her to reconsider what Senator Ryan said and to accept his amendment.

In view of the unanimity in the House obviously I would be foolish not to take account of that. I want to make it clear that I have accepted an enormous number of amendments from all sides of the House in the course of this debate. In fact, some may think I have accepted too many. I certainly have not ignored this House in relation to this Bill. I was keen that this House would be the first House to discuss the Bill. The Committee Stage was very long and arduous as many Senators know. We gave a lot of time to it and I took the whole debate very seriously. Many felt that we gave too much time to Committee Stage and perhaps took it too seriously. I cannot accept the criticism that it is not being taken seriously and that we are not accepting amendments. However, I am happy to accept this amendment and I will take it on board.

On a point of order, I would ask that the Minister not take my remarks like that. I did not mean them in the way the Minister has taken them.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I do not think that is a point of order.

I do not want the Minister to be upset. Perhaps it was my phraseology.

I am not upset.

The Minister would not be here if she were that sensitive. I did not say in my contribution that she was anything but serious about this.

Since I was so irritable earlier on I must say thank you to the Minister and I appreciate her accepting my amendment. I know she has been helpful all through this debate.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 72:

In page 54, between lines 22 and 23, to insert the following:

"79. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the Agency from refusing a licence where the Agency is satisfied that such a refusal is required in the interest of environmental protection.".

This amendment is in response to a point made to me by some people involved in the environmental movement in Cork. They said it is difficult to take from this Bill one clear message, which is that the agency has the right to refuse a licence where it is not satisfied that an operation can operate to standards which will ensure that the environment is protected. When you take five or six different criteria together and the various powers and obligations that the agency has, I am fairly sure that this is not true because I cannot see an omission like this slipping through, particularly since we have been on this Bill for too long at this Stage. I would still like to have it made perfectly clear to me, and to some of the people who raised it with me, that the agency can refuse a licence where it is satisfied that such a refusal is required in the interests of environmental protection.

I second the amendment. This is the only amendment apart from one later on which we can deal with on Part IV because some of the others were ruled out of order for whatever reasons; however, I will not go into that now. I have great pleasure in seconding Senator Brendan Ryan's amendment particularly firming up the whole area of issuing licences and establishing that the agency is entitled to refuse. This is all part of the confusion that I feel will exist when we have a dual system in the planning procedure on the one hand and the licensing procedure on the other. I seriously ask the Minister to again consider this area very carefully. We all welcome the concept of integrated pollution control licensing but the Minister now proposes that the agency becomes the licensing authority — she has intimated a couple of times tonight that she is looking at certain aspects of this section. I am not quite sure what she has in mind and to what extent she is going to investigate it. Perhaps in her reply to this amendment she would elaborate on what actually is being looked at. That would be very useful because we could know in which direction this area might be going.

There is a very strong view that if the agency becomes the licensing authority as proposed in this Bill many inconsistencies would occur as well as the concerns as indicated in this amendment. For example, planning and pollution control, which are at present handled by the local authorities, would split between separate agencies in the case of projects which would require integrated pollution control licences. There would also be an inconsistency in the right of appeal. There still would be appeals to An Bord Pleanála against the trade effluent discharge licence or conditions contained therein or an atmospheric emission licence but in relation to the integrated pollution control licence, which it is now proposed to give the agency, there would be no right of appeal. There is no point in saying that we can go to the High Court because that virtually takes from objectors their third party rights established under the planning process, the trade effluent licence process and the atmospheric emission licence process. There is a duality then and an inconsistency there.

Under the Minister's proposals here the conditions attached to the integrated polution control licence may not be compatible with the proper planning in the area as there would be two bodies, the local authority plus the Environmental Protection Agency dealing with them and this may cause enormous future problems. Planning and pollution control, as we all know, are indivisible and cannot be separated without creating duplication and administrative difficulties. I ask the Minister to look at Part IV again.

The opportunity should have been taken to unify and integrate these processes so that a single set of permissions and licences could be issued simultaneously and not through two different agencies as is now being proposed. It is considered by many that it would be preferable for the agency not to function as a licensing authority and that the local authorities should be responsible for issuing all permissions and licences. I support that view strongly.

When issuing licences for the types of development listed in the First Schedule the local authority must consult the agency and must have regard to any recommendations made by the agency. Any appeals against a refusal of a licence or against the conditions attached to licences should be made to An Bord Pleanála and that will not be allowed under what you the Minister is proposing.

In the case of scheduled developments or activities, An Bord Pleanála must seek the advice of the agency and must have regard to any recommendations made by the agency. If an oral hearing has to be held then an An Bord Pleanála inspector should be assisted by technical assessors from the agency.

The system proposed in this amendment would remove the Environmental Protection Agency from direct involvement in the issuing of licences — a role which could be perceived as conflicting with its more fundamental and unique function to protect the environment. I feel strongly that the Minister is compromising the integrity of the agency as an environmental watchdog by handing them the task of issuing licences. Local authorities have to maintain a balance between their roles as development agencies on the one hand and protectors of the environment on the other. The Environmental Protection Agency should be free to concentrate its energies on its role of protector of the environment. I ask the Minister not to compromise the integrity of the agency by asking them to issue licences. Leave that to the local authorities and to the appeals procedure we have and if difficulties arise we may bring in the Environmental Protection Agency to say, "Stop, the standards are right" or "The standards are not right", or to prosecute or take whatever action is appropriate. The agency's licensing function is one of the major weaknesses of an otherwise good Bill.

Allowing local authorities to remain unaffected by directives of the Environmental Protection Agency is another major weakness of the Bill. I do not know what the Minister is examining in this area and perhaps she would indicate tonight what she intends to look at between now and when the Bill goes to the Dáil to allay the fears of some of us in this House and of some of the Minister's best supporters and some environmental agencies who are watching the progress of this Bill.

Under section 80 (1) the agency has an absolute discretion to grant a licence subject to, or without, conditions or to refuse to grant a licence. The power to refuse a licence is further strengthened by the separate provisions of section 80 (3) which prohibits the agency from granting a licence unless it is satisfied that the specified criteria can be met. There are, therefore, no constraints or restrictions applying whatever to the grant of licences which would necessitate the amendment suggested by the Senator.

The discretionary power of the agency to grant or refuse licences is further reenforced by the provisions of section 85 in relation to the review of such licences which illustrates some of the situations under which the agency may revise the licence but always without prejudice to the generality of their powers. I, therefore, believe that this amendment is unnecessary. It is clear from section 80 (1) that the agency operates totally at its own discretion in deciding whether in the first instance to issue a licence and then in determining conditions and it can only issue the licence if it satisfied the criteria or conditions can be met.

In relation to the points made by Senator Doyle, I am anxious to streamline the planning and integrated pollution control system to make sure that they are effective and to reduce further delays and complications in what many would regard as an already complicated system. Even with the integrated licensing regime being proposed, the Irish planning system is more favourable to industrialists than that of many other countries. It is not fair to say that Ireland has the longest delays in determining planning applications. As a small country we do not want to place additional burdens either on industry or on environmental organisations who from time to time have to oppose or modify certain proposals or whatever. It is, therefore, important to have the most streamlined and effective system and my officials are currently having discussions with various interests to see how we can improve the provisions in the Bill so that they will meet with the greatest level of satisfaction.

We had a wider debate on this matter on Committee Stage and I undertook to do that. My officials and I have applied ourselves this but we have not finally cleared our minds as to the best way to proceed and it would be wrong, therefore, to bring in amendments here until such time as we are happy that they would increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the integrated pollution control and planning regime we propose. Many suggestions in this matter were made on Committee Stage which will be taken on board, I am sorry I cannot be clearer but as soon as possible I will indicate my decision because it is desirable that those who have made a case like the Federation of Irish Chemical Industries, some of the environmental organisations, such as An Taisce, and the Confederation of Irish Industry should be informed. We will make our position clear as soon as is practicable, to use legal jargon.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 73 and 74 not moved.

I move amendment No. 75:

In page 55, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:

"(e) the views of the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health on the activity for which a licence is sought.".

I want to catch up on the earlier debate on Committee Stage. I was not in the House when this amendment was discussed but fortunately the Minister referred to it in her remarks on another amendment and, therefore, I am entitled to raise it again. I thank the Minister for her generosity, which is not to say that I thought much of her reply when she did mention it.

The objective of this amendment relates to what the Environmental Protection Agency must do in considering an application for a licence. It must have regard to relevant air quality management plans, relevant noise regulations, special control areas and to such matters related to the prevention, limitation, elimination, abatement and reduction of environmental pollution as is considered necessary. I want inserted there as an additional paragraph in section 80 (2) that the views of the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health be sought and I am grateful to the Minister for clarifying the official title of that agency for me. Otherwise my amendment could have been conveniently avoided because I would have used the wrong name.

The Minister in her reply suggested that this agency was just one more body. In the spirit of the amendment she said that while she agreed that the views of that authority should be an important factor in the consideration or the review of a licence, it could be just as relevant for the agency to consult the health board, the Heritage Council, the Wildlife Service of the Office of Public works and many other bodies. The answer is that it could not be because the philosophical basis of loss prevention and hazard minimisation within all of the process industries is to treat the inside and the outside as part of a whole. At the risk of pretending to be more knowledgeable than I am, I refer to a journal called The Process, Safety and Environmental Protection which the Institution of Chemical Engineers produces on a monthly basis. This journal deals with safety problems inside the plant and environmental problems outside the plant in the same journal because they recognise, as do an increasing section of the professions that safety, health and the environment are three aspects of the same question and cannot be dealt with separately. That is why the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health is effectively the environmental protection agency for inside the factory walls. The same hazards apply to the workforce that will apply to people in the region; the same substances threaten their well being.

In the early stages of first year chemical engineering, a student is taught the definition of a hazard: an incident or a happening which may result in the loss of production, the loss of life, serious injury to people and something which may damage or insult the environment. The two aspects are taken together as part of a whole and it is clear that if serious and consistent criteria are to be applied to environmental protection outside the plant, the highest standards of safety and health must also be inforced inside. This agency is different from all the others mentioned above because its role within the plant fulfils the objectives of the Environmental Protection Agency outside the plant.

One cannot look only at the emissions at the end of the pipe. The environmentally secure, safe and acceptable industries will be those that meet the highest standards of health and safety operation inside. The two things fit perfectly together. The practices, the sloppiness, the lack of training, the lack of respect for the substances which would prevail in an unsafe plant, would have a spin off on the outside. Safety hazards outside and inside the plant should not be distinguished and it seems to me that the Environmental Protection Agency should be obliged to consult the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health before it gives a licence.

I second that amendment.

I do not disagree with what Senator Ryan has just said. It is desirable that the agency consult with the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health either before a licence is issued or when a licence is being reviewed. I am against singling out particular organisations in the body of the legislation but I can give the Senator an undertaking that, in the regulations to be made under section 77, we will specify that the National Authority for Occupational Health and Safety will be consulted if that is in order. In relation to other matters other bodies will have to be consulted if that is in order and it is desirable that we do that by way of regulations rather than by specification in the body of the legislation.

Mr. Ryan

I cannot be reasonable and I do not accept that. The philosophical point is of fundamental importance to a proper understanding of how you deal with hazard minimisation. The national agency which is responsible for health and safety within the work force is central to the proper operation of environmental protection outside. This authority is different from all other bodies. It has a statutory obligation to look after the well being of the work force and to see that proper standards are met. Unlike all other bodies, it is the equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency within the environment of the work force and, therefore, I do not think the Minister's assurance is adequate. I cannot withdraw the amendment.

Debate adjourned.