Reservoirs Bill: Consideration Stage

Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 28th April 2015.

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Clause 3 (Matters to be taken into account under section 2(3))

Amendment No 3 made:

In page 2, line 35, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 4 made:

In page 2, line 36, leave out "matters" and insert "issues". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 5 made:

In page 2, line 37, leave out "(ii)". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 6 made:

In page 2, line 37, after "the" insert "potential adverse consequences or". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 7 made:

In page 2, line 39, leave out "matters" and insert "issues". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 8 made:

In page 2, line 39, after "22(3)" insert


"and in regulations under section 22A". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 9 made:

In page 2, line 39, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 10 made:

In page 2, line 40, leave out from ", or" to "section," on line 41 and insert "of section 22(3)". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 3, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 4 to 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 8 (Duty of multiple reservoir managers to co-operate)

Amendment No 11 made:

In page 5, line 31, leave out "risk" and insert "consequence". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 8, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 9 to 15 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 16 (Offences: registration)

Amendment No 12 made:

In page 8, line 24, leave out "risk" and insert "consequence". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 16, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 17 (Giving a risk designation)

Amendment No 13 made:

In page 8, line 41, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 14 made:

In page 9, line 1, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 15 made:

In page 9, line 3, leave out "risk" and insert "consequence". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 16 made:

In page 9, line 4, leave out "risk" and insert "consequence". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 17 made:

In page 9, line 5, leave out "risk" and insert "consequence". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 18 made:

In page 9, line 6, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 19 made:

In page 9, line 9, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 20 made:

In page 9, line 11, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 21 made:

In page 9, line 17, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 17, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 18 (Periodic re-assessment of risk designations)

Amendment No 22 made:

In page 9, line 20, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 23 made:

In page 9, line 22, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 24 made:

In page 9, line 26, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 25 made:

In page 9, line 29, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 26 made:

In page 10, line 12, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 18, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 19 (Date on which risk designation given under section 17 or given as different designation under section 18 takes effect)

Amendment No 27 made:

In page 10, line 16, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 28 made:

In page 10, line 23, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 29 made:

In page 10, line 27, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 19, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 20 (Review by Department of its decision under section 17 or 18)

Amendment No 30 made:

In page 10, line 39, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 31 made:

In page 11, line 9, leave out "risk" and insert "reservoir". — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 20, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 21 (Appeal against a Department's decision in a review under section 20)

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

We now come to the second group of amendments for debate, which contains 54 amendments. The amendments deal with the duties of the Department and appeal arrangements. Amendment No 99 is consequential to amendment No 93, amendment No 111 is consequential to amendment No 110 and amendment Nos 184 and 185 are consequential to amendment No 183. I will call the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Michelle O'Neill, to move amendment No 32 and to address the other amendments in the group.

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

I beg to move amendment No 32:

In page 11, line 33, leave out "for Northern Ireland".

The following amendments stood on the Marshalled List:

No 36: In page 12, line 21, leave out subsection (9). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 93: In clause 36, page 24, line 12, leave out paragraph (f). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 98: In clause 36, page 24, line 41, leave out subsection (4). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 99: After clause 36 insert

<BR/>

&quot;Offence in connection with inspection: failure to secure compliance with safety direction or recommendation


 


36A.—(1) Failure by a reservoir manager of a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir without lawful excuse to comply with the requirements of section 34(1) (ensuring compliance with direction in inspection report or pre-commencement safety recommendation as to taking of measure) is an offence.


 


(2) A reservoir manager guilty of an offence under subsection (1)?—


 


(a) in relation to a controlled reservoir which is, at the time the offence is committed, a high- consequence reservoir is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale,


 


(b) in relation to a controlled reservoir which is, at the time the offence is committed, a medium-consequence reservoir is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.


 


(3) Section 70 makes provision as to further remedies available on conviction of an offence referred to in subsection (1).&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 107: In clause 49, page 31, line 19, leave out from &quot;any&quot; to the end of line 25 and insert



&quot;the requirements in section 40(2)(a) (commissioning of construction engineer) is an offence.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 108: In clause 49, page 31, line 33, leave out &quot;(a)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 110: In clause 49, page 31, line 39, leave out subsections (4) and (5). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 111: After clause 49 insert



&quot;Offences: failure to comply with safety direction in safety report, preliminary certificate or final certificate


 


49A.—(1) Failure by a reservoir manager of a controlled reservoir without lawful excuse to comply with any of the following requirements under this Part is an offence?—


 


(a) the requirements in section 43(1) (ensuring compliance with direction in safety report as to taking of safety measure),


 


(b) the requirements in section 47 (ensuring compliance with preliminary certificate or final certificate).


 


(2) A reservoir manager guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable?—


 


(a) on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or to a fine, or to both,


 


(b) on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.


 


(3) Section 70 makes provision as to further remedies available on conviction of an offence referred to in subsection (1)(a).&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 120: In clause 53, page 35, line 13, after &quot;(n)&quot; insert &quot;and subsection (3A)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 122: In clause 53, page 35, line 24, at end insert



&quot;(3A) Regulations under subsection (1) containing provision entitling the Department to recover costs as referred to in subsection (3)(m) must provide for a right of appeal to the Water Appeals Commission against?—


 


(a) the Department’s decision to require the person to pay the costs,


 


(b) the Department’s decision as to the amount of the costs.


 


(3B) The Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 142: In clause 65, page 42, line 1, leave out subsection (4) and insert



&quot;(4) If the Department considers it appropriate to do so, it may by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay the Department such amount of the costs reasonably incurred by it in pursuance of the exercise of its powers under this section as is specified in the notice.


 


(5) Subject to section 71A, the reservoir manager must pay the amount of any costs so incurred and specified in such notice.&quot;.

No 143: In clause 67, page 42, line 42, leave out subsection (6) and insert



&quot;(6) If the Department considers it appropriate to do so, it may by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay the Department such amount of the costs reasonably incurred by it in connection with consultation under this section as is specified in the notice.


 


(7) Subject to section 71A, the reservoir manager must pay the amount of any costs so incurred and specified in such notice.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 144: In clause 69, page 43, line 27, leave out subsection (6) and insert



&quot;(6) If the Department considers it appropriate to do so, it may by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay the Department such amount of the costs reasonably incurred by it in making arrangements under this section as is specified in the notice.


 


(7) Subject to section 71A, the reservoir manager must pay the amount of any costs so incurred and specified in such notice.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 145: In clause 71, page 45, line 1, at beginning insert &quot;Subject to section 71A,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 146: After clause 71 insert



&quot;Recovery of costs under section 65, 67, 69 or 71: appeal


 


Recovery of costs under section 65, 67, 69 or 71: appeal


 


71A.—(1) A reservoir manager required by virtue of notice served by the Department under section 65(4), 67(6), 69(6) or 71(7) to pay the Department’s costs referred to in the section may appeal to the Water Appeals Commission against?—


 


(a) the Department’s decision to require the manager to pay the costs,


 


(b) the Department’s decision as to the amount of the costs.


 


(2) The Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 147: In clause 73, page 46, line 10, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 148: In clause 73, page 46, line 23, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 149: In clause 73, page 46, line 32, leave out from &quot;include&quot; to &quot;and&quot; on line 33 and insert



&quot;—


(a)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 149: In clause 73, page 46, line 32, leave out from &quot;include&quot; to &quot;and&quot; on line 33 and insert



&quot;—


(a)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 150: In clause 73, page 46, line 39, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 151: In clause 73, page 47, line 2, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 152: In clause 73, page 47, line 3, leave out subsection (6). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 153: In clause 74, page 47, line 17, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 154: In clause 74, page 47, line 18, leave out



&quot;and provide for the powers of the Commission in an appeal&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 155: In clause 74, page 47, line 21, at end insert



&quot;(d) must secure that the Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 155: In clause 74, page 47, line 21, at end insert



&quot;(d) must secure that the Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 156: In clause 74, page 47, line 22, leave out subsection (2). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 157: In clause 77, page 49, line 15, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 158: In clause 77, page 49, line 16, leave out



&quot;and the powers of the Commission in an appeal&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 159: In clause 77, page 49, line 21, at end insert



&quot;(ja) for the Commission to have power to confirm or quash the decision,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 161: In clause 77, page 50, line 10, leave out subsection (2). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 162: In clause 79, page 51, line 16, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 163: In clause 79, page 52, line 9, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 164: In clause 79, page 52, line 10, leave out subsection (7). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 165: In clause 82, page 53, line 38, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 166: In clause 82, page 54, line 37, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 167: In clause 82, page 54, line 38, ;eave out subsection (8). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 168: In clause 84, page 55, line 36, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 169: In clause 84, page 56, line 10, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision.&quot; — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 170: In clause 84, page 56, line 11, leave out subsection (6). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 171: In clause 86, page 57, line 5, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 172: In clause 86, page 57, line 6, leave out from &quot;and&quot; to &quot;appeal&quot; on line 7. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 173: In clause 86, page 57, line 9, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 174: In clause 86, page 57, line 10, leave out subsection (4). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 178: In clause 92, page 60, line 38, leave out from the beginning to &quot;of&quot; and insert



&quot;If the Department considers it appropriate to do so it may, in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (8A), by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay the Department such amount of the following as is specified in the notice&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 179: In clause 92, page 61, line 1, at beginning insert



&quot;(8A) The circumstances are &quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 183: Before clause 104 insert



&quot;Power of Water Appeals Commission to award costs in an appeal


 


103A.—(1) The Water Appeals Commission may make an order as to the costs of the parties to an appeal mentioned in subsection (2) and as to the parties by whom the costs are to be paid.


 


(2) The appeals are?—


 


(a) an appeal under section 21 (reservoir designation),


 


(b) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 25A(1) (decision of Department as to whether high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained: frequency of visits by supervising engineer),


 


(c) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 53(1) (cost recovery in relation to flood plan),


 


(d) an appeal under section 71A (cost recovery under section 65, 67, 69 or 71),


 


(e) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 72(1) ( in relation to stop notice),


 


(f) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 76(1) (in relation to enforcement undertaking),


 


(g) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 78(1) (imposition of fixed monetary penalty),


 


(h) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 81(1) (in relation to variable monetary penalty).


 


(3) An order made under this section has effect as if it had been made by the High Court.


 


(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), the Master (Taxing Office) has the same powers and duties in relation to an order made under this section as the Master has in relation to an order made by the High Court.


 


(5) Proceedings before the Commission are, for the purposes of the Litigants in Person (Costs and Expenses) Act 1975, to be regarded as proceedings to which section 1(1) of that Act applies.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 184: Before clause 104 insert



&quot;Orders as to costs: supplementary


 


103B.—(1) Subsection (2) applies where all of the following apply?—


 


(a) for the purpose of an appeal referred to in section 103A(2)?—


 


(i) the Water Appeals Commission is required, before a decision is reached, to give any person an opportunity, or ask any person whether the person wishes, to appear before and be heard by it,


 


(ii) arrangements are made for a hearing to be held,


 


(b) the hearing does not take place,


 


(c) if it had taken place, the Commission would have had power to make an order under section 103A(1) requiring any party to pay any costs of any other party.


 


(2) The power to make such an order may be exercised, in relation to costs incurred for the purposes of the hearing, as if the hearing had taken place.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 185: Before clause 104 insert



&quot;Fees in relation to appeals


 


103C. The Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister may by regulations specify the fees to be paid to the Water Appeals Commission in connection with appeals referred to in section 103A(2).&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 187: In clause 106, page 65, line 29, after &quot;quality&quot; insert &quot;and content&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 188: After clause 106 insert



&quot;Publication of information as regards ranges of costs of engineers’ services


 


106A.—(1) The Department may publish information as regards ranges of costs of the provision of relevant services by engineers who are members of panels of reservoir engineers established under section 97.


 


(2) For the purposes of this section, “relevant services” are services that are provided by such engineers in pursuance of this Act or are available for such provision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 201: After clause 120 insert



&quot;Duty to report on operation of this Act


 


121.—(1) The Department must, not later than three years after this Act receives Royal Assent, publish a report on the operation of this Act.


 


(2) The Department must lay the report before the Assembly.&quot;. — [Mr Elliott.]

No 211: In schedule 2, page 74, line 9, at end insert



&quot;








the Water Appeals Commission



section 118(1)


 



 


&quot;.

No 212: In schedule 3, page 74, line 15, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 214: In schedule 3, page 74, line 24, at end insert



&quot;(aa) an appeal (made by virtue of regulations made under section 25A(1) of that Act) against a decision as to whether a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained: frequency of visits by supervising engineer,


 


(ab) an appeal (made by virtue of regulations made under section 53(1) of that Act) against a decision as to recovery of costs in relation to a flood plan,


 


(ac) an appeal (under section 71A of that Act) against a decision as to recovery of costs under section 65, 67, 69 or 71 of that Act,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

The amendments in this group relate to four main issues and aim to provide greater clarification and transparency for reservoir managers. The issues are: the recovery of costs incurred by the Department on works that it undertakes on a reservoir, and the related appeals procedure; the Department's approach to offences by reservoir managers who fail to comply with provisions in the Bill because, in doing so, they would be at risk of breaching other legislation; the assessment by the Department of the content of the reservoir engineer's reports; and making provision for the Department to publish information on the range of costs charged by reservoir engineers.

For each issue, I will explain the proposed amendments separately. First, the proposed amendments on the recovery of costs by the Department and related appeals arise from questions raised by the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee during its scrutiny of the Bill. They also take full account of recommendations received from the Examiner of Statutory Rules in response to the Committee's request to scrutinise the delegated powers in the Bill.

I again want to again thank all Committee members who were involved in the scrutiny of the Bill and who made comments on how it might be improved.

The Bill provides my Department with powers to recover reasonably incurred costs from a reservoir manager, where the Department has undertaken emergency works on a reservoir or where the Department has incurred costs to keep a reservoir safe where a reservoir manager has failed to comply with his or her duties under the Bill. As drafted, the Bill, in all but one of the relevant clauses states:

"the reservoir manager must pay the Department the amount of any costs reasonably incurred by it in pursuance of the exercise of its powers".

In contrast to that, clause 71, which makes provision for the Department to undertake emergency works, provides some discretion for the Department in relation to cost recovery, as it states:

"If the Department considers it appropriate to do so, it may by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay ... such amount of the costs reasonably incurred".

In its scrutiny of the Bill, the Committee felt that the approach adopted in clause 71 provided the Department with discretion to cost recovery and wished that to be applied in all cases throughout the Bill.

My Department is required to operate full cost recovery when carrying out its duties. However, in cases in which full cost recovery is unlikely to be achievable, the normal process would be to seek the approval of the Department of Finance and Personnel not to recover full costs. I recognise the inconsistency in cost recovery in the Bill, and therefore, to address that, I tabled amendment Nos 142, 143, 144, 145, 164, 167, 178 and 179, which will provide my Department with discretion to decide when costs should be recovered and the amount of such costs.

In anticipation of those amendments being accepted, I tabled amendment Nos 120, 122 and 146, which will provide a reservoir manager with the right of appeal to the Water Appeals Commission (WAC) against a decision made by my Department to require a reservoir manager to pay the costs and the Department's decision on the amount to be recovered. As a consequence, amendment Nos 150, 151, 155, 159, 163, 166, 169 and 173 are required to provide the Water Appeals Commission with the power to confirm, quash or vary the Department's decision in any appeals that it hears under the Bill.

Amendment Nos 149, 154, 158 and 172 have been tabled as drafting refinements to set out clearly the powers of the Water Appeals Commission. The consequential amendment No 214 is also required to amend schedule 3, which includes references to all appeals that the Water Appeals Commission will hear under the Bill, including reference to a new clause proposed in the third group of amendments, which is still to be debated.

The Examiner of Statutory Rules, who scrutinised the Bill on behalf of the Committee, raised a concern about a regulation-making power conferred on the Department. The Bill as drafted already makes provision for a reservoir manager to lodge an appeal with the Water Appeals Commission. The Bill also gives the Department the power, by regulation, to make provision for the Water Appeals Commission to charge a fee in connection with any appeals that it hears under the Bill, and to award costs to the parties involved in an appeal.

The Examiner of Statutory Rules suggested that the regulation-making power should be conferred on OFMDFM, rather than my Department, as it would remove any possible conflict of interest and would be consistent with similar functions under other legislation. I thank the Committee for drawing this to the Department's attention and I also thank the Examiner of Statutory Rules for his constructive suggestion, which I and the First Minister and deputy First Minister are happy to accept. Therefore, I propose amendment Nos 36, 152, 156, 161, 170 and 174, which will remove all reference to my Department making regulations that would enable the Water Appeals Commission to determine a fee, charge a fee, and award costs in respect of appeals that it hears under this legislation.

I also propose to introduce new clauses through amendment Nos 183 to 185 that will provide the Office of the First and deputy First Minister with the power, by regulation, to specify the fees to be paid to the Water Appeals Commission in connection with any appeals that it hears under the Bill. The amendments also provide the Water Appeals Commission with the power to award costs for all appeals that it hears under the Bill. The new clause proposed through amendment No 183 includes a reference to an appeal to the Water Appeals Commission in respect of a new clause being proposed in the third group of amendments, which is still to be debated. Amendment Nos 32, 147, 148, 153, 157, 162, 165, 168, 171 and 212 are proposed to give a shorthand name to the Water Appeals Commission. Amendment No 205 makes reference to the Water Appeals Commission in schedule 2. I am pleased that the Committee welcomed the proposed amendments on this issue and are content for them to be made.

Secondly, my proposed amendments in this group provide clarification on the Department's approach to reservoir managers who do not comply with a direction in an inspection or safety report or requirements in a preliminary or final certificate because they are seeking to ensure that they would not be in breach of other legislation.

The Reservoirs Bill as drafted makes it an offence for a reservoir manager not to comply with a direction in an inspection or safety report, or a requirement in a preliminary or final certificate. However, I now recognise that there may be certain situations where a reservoir manager needs consent, under other legislation, prior to fulfilling a direction or requirement. An example might be a direction to lower water levels in a reservoir situated in an area of special scientific interest and designated under the Environment Order 2002. In such circumstances, environmental consent would be required prior to the water levels being lowered. Although it is highly unlikely that my officials would consider enforcement action in such circumstances, for the avoidance of any doubt I am proposing amendment Nos 99 and 111. These amendments introduce new clauses and qualify these particular offences by clarifying that failure of a reservoir manager to comply with a direction or requirement would be regarded as an offence only if it was "without lawful excuse".

Amendment Nos 93, 98, 107, 108, and 110 are required to amend the clauses that currently include offences to which the proposed new clauses now relate. They are purely consequential to the main amendment. Amendment No 199, which is included in the fourth group of amendments relating to phased commencement, has yet to be debated. It contains provisions relating to these proposed amendments. I am pleased to report that the Committee was content with the proposed amendments.

The third issue to which my proposed amendments in this group relate is the assessment of the content of a reservoir engineer's report. Amendment No 187 addresses a concern raised by the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in relation to the potential for engineers to over-specify works, resulting in unnecessary additional costs for reservoir managers. The Committee considered this to be a particular concern for private-sector reservoir managers as they typically own only one structure and are therefore less likely to have the skills to understand the remedial works required.

In proposing this amendment, I fully recognise that reservoir engineers are highly skilled and specialised in reservoir engineering. They have achieved a level of competence and experience to satisfy the Institution of Civil Engineers that they should be appointed to the list of panel engineers to undertake the roles required by the Reservoirs Bill. These engineers will also be bound by their professional code of conduct. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that they would risk their professional integrity by over-specifying the works required to a reservoir.

As drafted, the Reservoirs Bill includes a dispute referral process where a reservoir manager can challenge a recommendation or direction by a reservoir engineer and arrange for a second opinion from a different reservoir engineer.

However, I recognise that this process would involve extra costs and that reservoir managers, particularly those in the private and third sectors, may therefore be reluctant to make use of it. I am, therefore, addressing the Committee’s concern by proposing amendment 187 to clause 106.

As drafted, clause 106 provides a power for my Department, by regulation, to assess the quality of an engineer’s reports, statements and certificates. Importantly, the proposed amendment to clause 106 empowers my Department to assess the content of reports, statements and certificates. If accepted, it will enable officials from my Department to consider concerns raised by reservoir managers, assess relevant recommendations or directions made by a reservoir engineer and discuss these with the engineer with a view to reaching an amicable agreement. All of this would be at no cost to the reservoir manager. My officials shared this proposed amendment with the Committee during Committee Stage, and I am pleased to note that the Committee recorded that it is content with this approach in its report to the Assembly on the Bill.

My final proposed amendment in this group, amendment No188, seeks to introduce a new clause providing a power for my Department to publish information on the range of costs for the provision of services by reservoir panel engineers. This amendment addresses a concern raised by the Committee on the lack of transparency about the likely costs associated with the services of reservoir panel engineers under the Bill. Publication of this information will provide reservoir managers with an indication of expected costs for the relevant services of reservoir engineers and should help them to make informed decisions about the costs of managing their reservoir. I am pleased to note that the Committee has welcomed this proposed amendment and is, therefore, content with all my proposed amendments in this group.

I now turn to amendment 201, tabled by Tom Elliott and Robin Swann, which proposes a new clause requiring my Department to publish a report on the operation of the Bill within three years of its receiving Royal Assent and to lay the report before the Assembly. I welcome this proposal, as it will provide both my Department and the Assembly with an opportunity to review and evaluate the effectiveness of this legislation on reservoir safety at a relatively early juncture.

Mr Speaker, these are the amendments in group 2.

Photo of William Irwin William Irwin DUP 3:45 pm, 28th April 2015

There are a number of issues and associated amendments grouped here, and I will try to deal with them separately, but there is considerable overlap, so I ask Members to bear with me if they think that I am repeating myself. As Chairperson of the Committee, I will deal primarily with the ministerial amendments.

In the Committee’s deliberations, one of our priorities was to ensure adequate protection for reservoir owners throughout the Bill. This led us to seek a number of amendments to the Bill, which the Department has provided. Most of these amendments either place a new duty on the Department or substantially amend an existing duty. These amendments may seem minor on the surface, but we believe that their overall impact will be vital.

I will deal with the series of amendments on the issue of cost recovery first. The Bill, as drafted, provides that if a reservoir owner or manager fails for any reason to comply with certain requirements the Department can meet those requirements and fully recover any associated costs. The Bill allows the Department to step in and take specified actions, including works, when a reservoir manager does not comply with the requirements of the Bill. In such cases, the Department would be obliged to seek to recover the full costs of such actions or works. For example, at clause 69, if the reservoir owner or manager fails to take a safety measure, the Department can step in and arrange for the measure to be taken.

At clause 69(6) there is provision that the reservoir owner or manager must pay the Department the costs incurred. While the Committee was of the opinion that those who could afford to pay should do so, it also recognised that some reservoir managers, particularly in the third sector, may be in this position because they are financially unable to comply with clause 69 in the first instance. In response to the concerns of the Committee, the Department proposed amendments to allow discretion whether or not to seek to recover costs. That discretion would also cover how much of the costs should be recovered. However, the Department wished still to have the authority to request full cost recovery, if it felt that was reasonable, to close any loophole allowing people or organisations not to pay just because they did not want to. The Committee was content with this. There was agreement that those who could afford to pay should. There would therefore be no easy way out for, for example, private-sector companies and businesses that own reservoirs.

Following agreement of the proposed amendments on cost recovery, there was a requirement to add an appeals system and to allow the Water Appeals Commission to deal with such appeals. The appeals system at new clause 71A provides the right of appeal on the decision to recover costs and the amount of cost to be recovered.

We will not know what the costs for repair and maintenance of reservoirs are likely to be until after the audit has been completed. It may be that most reservoir owners and managers in the private and third sectors will be able to afford them, but we are sure that most of the third sector, some of the smaller farmers and some elderly people could have been facing possible bankruptcy if we had left that aspect unchallenged.

I will now talk about a further set of amendments that deal with the appeals system. The appeals mechanism was further examined during the Committee's evidence sessions, and the Committee requested the Examiner of Statutory Rules to consider the delegated powers within the Bill. The outcome of that was that the Committee sought amendments to the appeals mechanism. The proposed clause 21(9) provided the Department with the power to make regulations in relation to appeals to the Water Appeals Commission on the charging of fees and the awarding of costs. The Committee felt that there would be a potential for a conflict of interest if the Department was to be a party of the appeal. Therefore, it was suggested that the power should rest with the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, which has similar appeal functions as the Water Appeals Commission for Northern Ireland and the Planning Appeals Commission for Northern Ireland. The Department tabled an amendment to that effect, which the Committee agreed. The proposed amendment will also introduce three new clauses — clauses 103(A), 103(B) and 103(C) — and a consequential amendment to schedule 3 to refer to the appeals system.

I will now move on to the next set of amendments in this group. I have referred to the issue of costs of compliance and cost recovery, and the cost of complying with the requirements of the Bill was a major issue at Second Stage and Committee Stage. The costs of complying with the Bill could include the cost of commissioning a supervising engineer, who may decide that multiple visits to the reservoir are required depending on the condition of the reservoir. It could also include the costs to commission an inspecting engineer, the costs to commission a construction engineer, the costs of complying with safety recommendations and the costs associated with appeals and disputes. The list goes on.

Members are aware that there is little public information on the financial aspects of complying with the Bill. As with the information on the condition of the 137 controlled reservoirs in Northern Ireland, it is the Committee's opinion that there is an information gap on the costs that reservoir manager can expect to meet to comply with the Bill. Despite the fact that legislation of a similar nature has been operational in England, Scotland and Wales for decades, the Committee could find no public information on the financial cost of compliance. The engineers also did not appear to any such information at hand regarding costs, which, of course, surprised us.

What little information was available appeared to suggest that capital costs could often be extremely high, and that has caused concern and, indeed, distress for some of the private- and third-sector owners, who worry about their ability to meet such costs. For example, Newry and Mourne District Council raised concerns with Members regarding the estimated costs of over £2 million for the remedial and capital works for Camlough lake. We have been told that Camlough lake is an extraordinary case with extreme costs associated with it and that those costs are unlikely to be repeated for any other reservoir.

When we spoke to the Institution of Civil Engineers about the potential costs, they stated that the big issue was the capital cost of repairing dams and bringing them up to the standard of public reservoirs. They also advised that funding for inspections and repairs is a serious issue in the UK. In addition, the Committee discovered that some reservoir owners or managers in the private and third sectors did not realise that the body of water on their land was a reservoir. Many had assumed it was a natural structure and were unaware of the potential for and consequences of dam failure due to the fact that flood maps had never been issued to advise of the risk.

Most were also unaware that, under common law, they would be responsible for any failure of the reservoir. An amendment at the request of the Committee will see that the Department will collect and publish information on actual costs incurred by reservoir owners and managers in Northern Ireland. While this will not be helpful in the short term, it should help to address another information gap around the Bill in the longer term. It will also allow reservoir owners to compare and contrast costs with other reservoirs and help to assure them that they are getting value for money. The Committee, therefore, welcomes the new clause 106A that proposes that the Department:

"may publish information as regards ranges of costs of the provision of relevant services by engineers who are members of panels of reservoir engineers".

The final amendment I will mention in this group concerns clause 106. The Committee had concerns that the Bill could be viewed as — and some of those who spoke to the Committee called the Bill — an &quot;engineers' charter&quot;. The Committee considered that this may be a particular concern for the private-sector and third-sector reservoir managers who are lay people and are, perhaps, less able to understand and challenge recommendations that reservoir engineers may make regarding the number of supervising visits and/or the repair, capital and remedial works that may be required for a reservoir, or other similar such requirements.

We were very concerned that the Bill lacked sufficient checks and balances on the engineers particularly, but not exclusively, around costs and charges and prevention of requirement of works above what would be necessary for minimum safety standards. Many who spoke to the Committee indicated concerns that an engineer would over-specify works on the precautionary principle, ie, that works would be over-engineered on a risk-averse principle. Part of this concern arises from what the Committee considers is an information vacuum around the types of works and associated charges made by the various reservoir engineers. In general, lay people do not understand the engineering associated with reservoirs and lack the knowledge and confidence to challenge reservoir engineers.

The Committee therefore welcomed proposals, sought by the Committee and brought by the Department, to amend clause 106 to allow the Department to scrutinise the contents of reservoir engineers' reports. When presenting this amendment, the Department noted that instead of there just being reference to the &quot;quality&quot; of the reports, it has added the words &quot;and content&quot;. The word &quot;quality&quot; could relate to just format and type, and whether it is in the right paragraphs or covers roughly the right issues. The amendment goes further and allows the Department to consider what the report actually says.

Where a reservoir manager is concerned about over-engineering, the Department will have an interest in that as the reservoir authority. While the Department stayed away from the term &quot;over-engineering&quot;, that is the Committee's understanding of what this amendment means. It is the Committee's understanding that the amendment will allow the Department to address reservoir managers’ concerns about over-engineering. The Committee indicated that it welcomed and was content with the amendment to clause 106.

As the DUP spokesperson for agriculture, I welcome the amendment put forward by Tom Elliott and Robin Swann. It is a good idea and we have absolutely no problems with it and welcome it.

Photo of Oliver McMullan Oliver McMullan Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat. The cost recovery aspects of the Bill caused the Committee some concern. In its deliberations, the Committee noted that where a reservoir manager fails to comply with certain regulations in the Bill, the Department provides itself with powers to meet those requirements. This will require the recovery of the full cost of an engineer carrying out safety works etc. In most instances, it could lead to individuals, such as people with small farms and the like, with a large bill. If the reservoir manager fails to comply with the regulations in the Bill, the Department would have those powers to act.

However, the new clauses, such as clause 71A, brought in to cover that were agreed by the Committee and give discretion.

The Committee understood that some reservoir managers may refuse to comply with the operating regime, but, in many cases, that could be because a reservoir manager is simply financially unable to comply. The Committee started to look at how to get over that. It did not want the Department having to pursue a community-based club, or, as I said, even a small farm. The Committee understood and tabled amendments to cover that, so the safeguards are there now. There is discretion now on cost recovery on the basis of who can afford it. Those who can afford to pay will pay and cannot use any legal loophole so that they do not have to pay, or, as it says in the report, give the Department the runaround.

My party is quite happy with and recommends the amendments and new clauses.

Photo of Tom Elliott Tom Elliott UUP 4:00 pm, 28th April 2015

I support the principles of the amendments. Clearly, we have the Department and the Committee working together to try to make the Bill better and, I suppose, softer, especially for private owners. It could be a huge, onerous financial burden on those in the private sector.

I want to speak briefly about the amendment tabled in my name and that of Robin Swann, amendment No 201, which is in this group. When I spoke on the earlier group, I indicated that it was important that the Bill was controlled to some degree, in the sense that, if we feel that it is not working in an appropriate manner for reservoir owners in the private sector, we may need to make adjustments. That is why we thought it appropriate to table an amendment that provides a reporting mechanism. This means that the Minister and the Department must bring a report to the Assembly within a three-year period. I am pleased that it appears that the House generally, and particularly the Minister and the Department, will support and welcome that reporting process.

We may need to follow that up with more progress. The ideals of a Bill should not just stop when it goes through the House or gets Royal Assent. There should be a follow-up mechanism to see whether the Bill could be improved at a later stage. We may need to look at what will happen when that report comes forward after three years. It is not a debate for today, but I just put on record that we need to be able to take forward what comes out of that report at a later stage and, obviously, make the process better. Indeed, at that stage, we may say that the Reservoirs Bill is not ideal, does not achieve what it was supposed to achieve and that we need an entire review. We are building in a reporting process to allow the Assembly to do that.

Photo of Trevor Lunn Trevor Lunn Alliance

I really have very little to say about this group, as with the last group. Not being a Committee member, all I can say is that there certainly seems to have been considerable scrutiny and cross-party agreement between the Minister and the Committee Chair, which is always good to see. We have no issue whatsoever with any of the departmental amendments. The only one that catches my eye is amendment No 201, which Mr Elliott has just been speaking on. The idea of a report or review after three years is possibly one that could usefully be built into most legislation. In this case, however, you are replacing common-law legislation with something entirely new, and, therefore, there may well be scope for it to be tweaked or amended more seriously in future years. That said, we will support the whole lot.

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. I thank all Members for their comments and the issues that they raised. Hopefully, I covered most of them in my opening remarks, so I will not repeat myself. Members will appreciate that my proposed amendments in this group are wide-ranging and cover a number of sections. I assure the House that these will bring clarity and reassurance to all involved in reservoir safety, particularly reservoir managers. That is really all that I want to say.

Amendment No 32 agreed to.

Amendment No 33 made:

In page 12, line 7, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 34 made:

In page 12, line 7, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 35 made:

In page 12, line 16, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 36 made:

In page 12, line 21, leave out subsection (9). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 21, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 22 (Matters to be taken into account under sections 17(3), 18(2), 20(3)(b)(ii) and 21(5)(a))

Amendment No 37 made:

In page 12, line 35, leave out &quot;For the purposes of subsection (1)(a),&quot; and insert &quot;The&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 38 made:

In page 12, line 35, after &quot;consequences&quot; insert

<BR/>

&quot;of an uncontrolled release of water from a controlled reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 39 made:

In page 13, line 2, leave out &quot;The matters which&quot; and insert &quot;Issues that&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 40 made:

In page 13, line 3, leave out &quot;(b)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 41 made:

In page 13, line 3, after &quot;the&quot; insert &quot;potential adverse consequences or&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 42 made:

In page 13, line 9, leave out &quot;matters&quot; and insert &quot;issues&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 43 made:

In page 13, line 9, leave out &quot;may by regulations specify&quot; and insert &quot;considers relevant&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 44 made:

In page 13, line 10, leave out subsection (4). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 22, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 45 made:

After clause 22 insert



&quot;Matters to be taken into account under sections 17(3), 18(2), 20(3)(b)(ii) and 21(5)(a): further provision


 


22A.—(1) The Department may by regulations make further provision about the matters that are to be taken into account under sections 17(3), 18(2), 20(3)(b)(ii) and 21(5)(a).


 


(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the regulations may?—


 


(a) make further provision in relation to the matters in section 22(1),


 


(b) in particular, when the Department is satisfied that an appropriate methodology exists for assessing the probability of an uncontrolled release of water from a controlled reservoir, include provision as regards the methodology that is to be taken into account in assessing such probability,


 


(c) amend references in this Act to &#x0027;reservoir designation&#x0027;, &#x0027;high-consequence reservoir&#x0027;, &#x0027;medium-consequence reservoir&#x0027; and &#x0027;low-consequence reservoir&#x0027; in pursuance of the regulations,


 


(d) include adaptations for the purposes of section 3(3).


 


(3) Before making regulations under subsection (1), the Department must consult the Institution of Civil Engineers and such other organisations or persons as it considers appropriate.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 23 (High-risk reservoirs, medium-risk reservoirs and low-risk reservoirs: further provision)

Amendment No 46 made:

In page 13, line 16, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;.


— [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 47 made:

In page 13, line 16, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 48 made:

In page 13, line 17, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 23, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 24 (Supervision requirement and commissioning of supervising engineer etc.)

Amendment No 49 made:

In page 13, line 23, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 50 made:

In page 13, line 23, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 51 made:

In page 13, line 25, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 52 made:

In page 13, line 25, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 24, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

We now come to the third group of amendments for debate. With amendment No 53, it will be convenient to debate amendment Nos 54 to 56, 88 and 194. These amendments deal with the frequency of visits by engineers under the regime proposed in the Bill. Amendment No 56 is consequential to amendment No 54 and amendment No 88 is consequential to amendment No 56.

Clause 25 (Duties etc. in relation to supervision)

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. I beg to move amendment No 53:

In page 14, line 3, leave out &quot;section&quot; and insert &quot;Act&quot;.

The following amendments stood on the Marshalled List:

No 54: In page 15, line 5, leave out paragraph (k). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 55: In page 16, line 15, leave out &quot;26&quot; and insert &quot;25A&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New Clause

No 56: After clause 25 insert

<BR/>

&quot;Regulations as to visits by supervising engineer


 


25A.—(1) The Department may by regulations make provision?—


 


(a) for there to be a standard frequency of visits that must be made by a supervising engineer to a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir,


 


(b) for the standard frequency to be different according to whether or not the Department considers that a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained,


 


(c) for the Department to decide whether it considers that a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained, taking account (as appropriate) of the following?—


 


(i) whether or not a pre-commencement inspection report contains a pre-commencement safety recommendation,


 


(ii) whether or not an inspection report specifies any measure that should be taken in the interests of the safety of the reservoir or any other matter that the inspecting engineer recommends should be monitored by the supervising engineer until the next inspection of the reservoir,


 


(iii) any inspection compliance certificate,


 


(iv) any written statement by the supervising engineer under section 25(5) currently applicable and copied to the Department by virtue of section 25(6).


 


(2) Regulations making provision referred to in subsection (1)(c) must?—


 


(a) require the Department to notify the reservoir manager of a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir of its decision as to whether or not it considers that the reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained and accordingly the standard frequency of visits that must be made to it by the supervising engineer,


 


(b) provide that the reservoir manager may appeal to the Water Appeals Commission against the decision specified in the notice,


 


(c) provide that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision,


 


(d) provide that the decision in respect of which an appeal is made continues to have effect pending a decision being made in the appeal.


 


(3) In subsection (1)(c)(ii), “the inspecting engineer” has the same meaning as in sections 33 and 34 (see section 33(6)(a)).&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 88: In clause 33, page 21, line 24, leave out sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) and insert



&quot;is required of the supervising engineer by virtue of regulations made under section 25A(1),&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 194: In clause 117, page 70, line 12, at end insert



&quot;(iib) section 25A(1) (regulations as to visits by supervising engineer to high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir),&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

Amendment No 53 and the other amendments in this group arise as a result of concerns raised by the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in relation to the minimum number of visits that a supervising engineer makes to a controlled reservoir. As drafted, the Bill requires that a high-risk or medium-risk reservoir must, at all times, be monitored by a supervising engineer. In so doing, the supervising engineer must visit a high-risk reservoir at least twice in every twelve-month period and a medium-risk reservoir at least once in every twelve-month period. The Bill also provides for more frequent visits to a reservoir by a supervising engineer, should that be deemed necessary by an inspecting engineer following an inspection of a reservoir.

The monitoring of a reservoir by a supervising engineer is a key element of the management regime to maintain the safety of the reservoir. These engineers are recognised as having achieved a level of competence and experience in the specialism of reservoir safety. Regular visits are essential as they enable the supervising engineer to become familiar with the characteristics of a reservoir and increase the chance of early detection of potential defects which may lead to failure.

The Committee was not convinced that the minimum number of visits by a supervising engineer set out in the Bill is proportionate and regarded it as gold-plating, noting that there was no upper limit on the number of visits by a supervising engineer provided for in the legislation. However, imposing an upper limit would not be practicable as it would restrict the reservoir manager accessing professional help from a supervising engineer in managing their structure, particularly during a dam failure incident.

However, having considered the Committee’s concerns, I accept that the minimum number of supervising visits currently stipulated in the Bill is too high. Therefore, I am proposing to amend the Bill, as suggested by the Committee, by removing reference to the frequency and number of visits from the Bill and replacing it with provision to introduce these by regulations. The amendment also allows for the standard number of visits to a reservoir by a supervising engineer to be reduced when the Department is satisfied that a reservoir has reached an acceptable standard of safety.

Amendment Nos 54 and 88 remove the reference to visits by supervising engineers from the face of the Bill. Amendment No 56 proposes the introduction of a new clause to the Bill which gives the Department the power to make regulations on the frequency and number of visits to high- or medium-consequence reservoirs and also to enable the Department to reduce the standard number of visits when a reservoir has reached an acceptable standard.

This proposed new clause also includes an appeal procedure and, as advised in the debate on group 2 amendments, the new clause proposed at amendment No 183 and amendment No 214 to schedule 3 include reference to this appeal procedure. Amendment Nos 53, 55 and 194 are consequential amendments and make reference to the proposed new clause where required. A reference to the proposed amendment to introduce a new clause is also included in amendments proposed under group 4, relating to the phased commencement of the Bill, which is yet to be debated.

I am pleased that the Committee was content with these amendments and I want to thank the Committee for its helpful suggestion regarding this matter. The amendments being proposed not only address the concerns of the Committee but, more importantly, do not compromise the approach to managing the safety of high- or medium-consequence reservoirs. <BR/>Those are the amendments in group 3.

Photo of William Irwin William Irwin DUP

This group of amendments is on the frequency of visits by supervising engineers.

During the time that the Committee carried out scrutiny of the Bill, we identified a number of concerns. Rivers Agency brought draft ministerial amendments to address those concerns, and the vast majority of them were agreed by the Committee. The detail on those amendments can be found in the Committee Bill report and in the addendum to the Committee report. In fact, I recommend that any Member who is speaking today, particularly to this group, ensures that they have both the Committee report and the addendum as source documents.

One area that was not initially addressed to the satisfaction of the Committee was the issue of frequency of visits by the supervising engineer. As a result, the Committee voted that it was not content with the relevant clauses in the Bill, namely clauses 25 and 33. The Committee revisited the issue on 11 November 2014, when it finalised its position. That position was presented to Rivers Agency with a request that it bring amendments to address the issue. Rivers Agency returned to the Committee with proposed amendments on 10 February, and, after scrutiny, the Committee agreed that it was content with those proposed amendments. These are the amendments that we are debating now.

On 10 February 2015, the Department also asked the Committee to note that it had managed to reduce the number of reservoirs falling under the Bill to 137 and that, of those that had been eliminated, 10 are privately owned and three are owned by local councils. The reduction in numbers is, in part, down to the insistence of the Committee that the Department commission and use the information from more detailed flood maps. That has led to an assessment of capacity, which shows that some reservoirs are actually below the 10,000 cubic metres threshold. The Committee expressed its delight at the reduction in numbers.

I will now take a few minutes to lay out for you the position regarding the number of visits by engineers. Clause 24 requires a high- or medium-consequence reservoir to be under the supervision of a supervising engineer at all times; ie, on an ongoing basis. Clause 25 sets out the duties of the supervising engineer, with clause 25(2)(k) specifying a minimum number of visits by the supervising engineer per year to high- and medium-consequence reservoirs.

Clause 33 requires a high- or medium-consequence reservoir to be subject to an inspection at specified periods and sets out the duties of the inspection engineer. Clause 33(4)(i) provides that the inspecting engineer can specify visits by a supervising engineer over and above that provided for in clause 25. Members will have a copy of the Bill available to them, and there is therefore no need for me to read out the exact provisions or requirements in the clauses.

Supervising engineers are to be retained by the reservoir owner or manager. They are on call at all times for high- and medium-consequence reservoirs. It is anticipated that the supervising engineer will, over time, become familiar with the reservoir. The Department strongly advised that, in this respect, the Bill had been designed around the advice of the Institution of Civil Engineers and its reservoir panel. Engineers felt that the provision in the Bill was the minimum standard that the engineers could, in their professional capacity and for professional indemnity reasons, stand over.

The Department initially resisted attempts by the Committee to reduce the requirements to one in three for high- and one in five for medium-risk reservoirs. This was because it affected the ability of the engineer to see and assess changes in the condition of the reservoir that could lead to a breach in the dam wall and flooding. However, the Committee felt that these provisions and requirements were gold-plated, particularly as the Department could not prove that this level of supervision was required for reservoirs in Northern Ireland. This point harps back to the requirement or need for an audit of reservoirs, which I referred to in my opening remarks and on which there will be a different debate.

No one is doubting the professionalism of the engineers, but there was a feeling that the Bill was geared too much towards what engineers considered was necessary and not enough to what is actually needed. It was also felt that no consideration was given to the impact of this requirement on private owners, such as farmers, and third-sector groups, particularly as a reservoir owner could be charged around £500 each time the engineer called on a supervising visit.

The Committee felt that there was insufficient protection for the reservoir owner. There was a feeling among Members that engineers often "over-engineer" — that they will go beyond the minimum that is required. Most of our private-sector or third-sector reservoir owners lack both the expertise and the confidence to challenge reservoir engineers.

That issue is dealt with in another set of amendments that was debated previously, but it is mentioned here because it impacted on the Committee's thinking on the issue.

Therefore, during the Committee Stage, the Committee voted that it was not content with clause 25(2)(k) and clause 33(4)(i). Subsequent to that, the Department proposed amendments that would reduce the number of supervised visits at clause 25. The first set of amendments was rejected by the Committee as not going far enough. The second set of amendments was received too late for Committee consideration as it was signing off its report, and the Committee felt that it had not been given adequate time to decide whether it was sufficient. Copies of both amendments are in the addendum to the Committee report at paragraphs 9 and 10.

On 11 November 2014, the Committee revisited that issue and, after a closed-session discussion, consideration of various options and open-session oral briefing with the Department, the Committee confirmed its position. The Committee wrote to the Department requesting that it bring forward an amendment to the Bill to provide that the regime for the number of visits by the supervising engineer to high- and medium-consequence reservoirs is done by regulation subject to draft affirmative procedure. That would replace the provisions in the Bill at clause 25(2)(k) and clause 33(4)(i). The Committee further indicated that the detail of what is in the regulation will need to be discussed with the Committee in due course. As an early indication, the Committee would like to see a regime whereby the supervising engineer would visit a high-consequence reservoir at least once in every 12-month period, and, for a medium-risk reservoir, at least once in every 36-month period, until the reservoir is brought to a standard that is acceptable. Thereafter, the Committee would like to see the number of visits by a supervising engineer reduced.

The Committee indicated that its position on that issue was based on the lack of information about the condition of reservoirs in Northern Ireland. That lack of information means that it was extremely difficult for it to judge whether the schedule of supervised visits, as proposed in the Bill and the amendment, was at the correct level. The Committee further indicated to the Department that it should assume that the information from the reservoir audit, when available, may influence the thinking of what the Committee would like to see in the proposed regulation. The amendments were made available for the Committee to consider at its meeting on 10 February 2015. The full text of the amendments can be found at appendix 1 of the addendum to the Committee report.

The proposed amendments will introduce new clause 25A, which will make provision for the Department to make regulations regarding the frequency of visits to a high- or medium-consequence reservoir by a supervising engineer. The proposed amendment will provide that the regulation can vary the frequency of visits by a supervising engineer once the reservoir is brought to an acceptable safety standard.

In an oral evidence session on 10 February 2015, the Department confirmed that the standard minimum number and frequency of visits by a supervising engineer will be reviewed when the Department is presented with information that suggests that the reservoir has achieved an acceptable standard of safety. That information will take the form of an inspection report, an inspection compliance certificate or an annual statement from a supervising engineer. In giving evidence to the Committee, officials noted that they had not yet decided how that would manifest itself, but the number and frequency of inspections would be reduced.

In oral evidence to the Committee, officials stated:

"I want you to bear with me on that, because we have not absolutely decided. It may move, for example, from an inspection of a high-consequence reservoir at least once every 12 months to at least once every 24 months. For a medium-consequence reservoir, it could move from an inspection at least once every 36 months to once every 60 months, which is five years. That is our thinking at this point."

The Department also confirmed that the detail will be in the regulations, which can be made only after a draft has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the Assembly. Therefore, the Committee and the Assembly will have every opportunity to scrutinise, challenge and, where necessary, suggest changes to the draft regulations before they are made.

Members noted that the inspecting engineer can specify additional visits by a supervising engineer over and above that required in the regulation, but, in doing so, the inspecting engineer must specify why and how many. That decision is open to challenge and appeal by the reservoir owner. Indeed, officials stated that, when the Department receives information regarding the condition of a reservoir, hopefully the reservoir owner will have nothing to appeal.

Earlier in my speech on this group of amendments, I referred to Committee concerns that engineers, by their very nature, often over-specify and go beyond the minimum needed and that private or third-sector owners would lack the expertise and confidence to challenge such specifications. The reassurance that the inspecting engineer must give specific reasons why extra supervising visits are required went a long way in helping the Committee to make its decision on this aspect. If a reservoir is given a clean bill of health and is found to be safe, the Department will readily amend the frequency and number of visits. If, for any reason, the Department decides not to do that, the reservoir owner could appeal that decision to the Water Appeals Commission. That is the independent body that will hear evidence from the reservoir manager and the Department, and it will make an independent decision. The Department will have no say once the appeals mechanism has been engaged by the reservoir manager.

I am pleased, therefore, to restate the Committee position on this issue. After detailed discussions with departmental officials, the Committee voted that it was content with the amendments. The Committee agreed that its decision should be reflected in an addendum to the Committee report on the Reservoirs Bill, to be provided to the Assembly in time for the Consideration Stage debate.

Photo of Declan McAleer Declan McAleer Sinn Féin 4:15 pm, 28th April 2015

Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. I wanted to take the opportunity to speak on this group of amendments, relating to the operating regime in the Reservoirs Bill.

From the outset, the Committee shared the Bill's overall objective to protect people, the environment and society from flooding. Thankfully, incidences of dam failure in the North of Ireland are very rare, but, no doubt, many thousands live in potential inundation areas. So, we share the view that protection is better than cure, and we welcome this legislation, which reduces the possibility of loss of life and damage to property. We also welcome the fact — this was shared as well — that the Bill takes a proportionate, risk-based approach in looking at the potential consequences of reservoir failure to the wider area.

I share William's view that the Committee was content with the operating regime proposals in place for low-risk reservoirs. However, it was concerned about what was proposed originally for high-risk reservoirs. The phrase "gold-plated" was used. The Committee was not content with the operating requirements relating to the number of visits and inspections that were originally proposed, as set out in clauses 25 and 33. To that end, and being always conscious of the costs to reservoir managers and the value or necessity of the visits, we require additional information before that can be decided upon. The Committee also sought to amend the Bill by regulation to regulate the number of visits by a supervising engineer. So, we welcome the introduction of clause 25A, which was brought before the Committee on 10 February this year. It provides for the Department to make regulations regarding the frequency of visits to high- and medium-risk reservoirs.

In conclusion, I thank the Committee and, indeed, Stella and all her team, who worked very hard on this, and I commend the Minister and the Department for listening to the Committee, taking on board the concerns and reflecting those in a swathe of amendments. From our party's perspective, I thank my colleague Ian Milne, who led on this in the party and guided us through this difficult and, at times, complex task. This was a good example of the parties and Department working together to draft and create good legislation that will positively affect people's lives and livelihoods. I commend the Bill.

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin 4:30 pm, 28th April 2015

I again thank all Members for their comments and the issues that they raised in the debate on the third group of amendments. I fully appreciate that this issue became very contentious during the Committee's scrutiny of the Bill and led to some protracted discussions with officials. It is important to point out that the supervision by a qualified engineer is an integral part of the reservoir safety management regime, and, therefore, the Department was concerned that any change would dilute the Bill's policy intention. However, I am happy to propose the amendments, because the regulation-making provision allows for more flexibility and should result in the number and frequency of visits to be more reservoir specific. I thank the Committee again for its keen interest in the matter and for working with my officials to reach an amicable solution.

Amendment No 53 agreed to.

Amendment No 54 made:

In page 15, line 5, leave out paragraph (k). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 55 made:

In page 16, line 15, leave out &quot;26&quot; and insert &quot;25A&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 25, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 56 made:

After clause 25 insert

<BR/>

&quot;Regulations as to visits by supervising engineer


 


25A.—(1) The Department may by regulations make provision?—


 


(a) for there to be a standard frequency of visits that must be made by a supervising engineer to a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir,


 


(b) for the standard frequency to be different according to whether or not the Department considers that a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained,


 


(c) for the Department to decide whether it considers that a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained, taking account (as appropriate) of the following?—


 


(i) whether or not a pre-commencement inspection report contains a pre-commencement safety recommendation,


 


(ii) whether or not an inspection report specifies any measure that should be taken in the interests of the safety of the reservoir or any other matter that the inspecting engineer recommends should be monitored by the supervising engineer until the next inspection of the reservoir,


 


(iii) any inspection compliance certificate,


 


(iv) any written statement by the supervising engineer under section 25(5) currently applicable and copied to the Department by virtue of section 25(6).


 


(2) Regulations making provision referred to in subsection (1)(c) must?—


 


(a) require the Department to notify the reservoir manager of a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir of its decision as to whether or not it considers that the reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained and accordingly the standard frequency of visits that must be made to it by the supervising engineer,


 


(b) provide that the reservoir manager may appeal to the Water Appeals Commission against the decision specified in the notice,


 


(c) provide that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision,


 


(d) provide that the decision in respect of which an appeal is made continues to have effect pending a decision being made in the appeal.


 


(3) In subsection (1)(c)(ii), “the inspecting engineer” has the same meaning as in sections 33 and 34 (see section 33(6)(a)).&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 26 and 27 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 28 (Inspection timing: general requirements)

Amendment No 57 made:

In page 17, line 4, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 58 made:

In page 17, line 4, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 59 made:

In page 17, line 9, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 60 made:

In page 17, line 10, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 61 made:

In page 17, line 11, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 62 made:

In page 17, line 11, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 63 made:

In page 17, line 17, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 64 made:

In page 17, line 21, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 65 made:

In page 17, line 21, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 28, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

We now come to the debate on the fourth group of amendments. With amendment No 66, it will be convenient to debate amendment Nos 69, 70, 73, 199 and 200. The amendments deal with phased commencement.

Clause 29 (Inspection timing: reservoir subject to pre-commencement inspection report)

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

I beg to move amendment No 66:

In clause 29, page 17, line 25, leave out from second &quot;subsection&quot; to &quot;28(1)&quot; on line 26 and insert &quot;section 28(1) does not apply&quot;.

The following amendments stood on the Marshalled List:

No 69: In clause 29, page 17, line 35, at beginning insert

<BR/>

&quot;Where section 28(1) does not apply by virtue of subsection (1),&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 70: In clause 29, page 17, line 38, leave out from second &quot;subsection&quot; to &quot;28(1)&quot; on line 39 and insert &quot;section 28(1) does not apply&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 73: In clause 29, page 18, line 4, at beginning insert



&quot;Where section 28(1) does not apply by virtue of subsection (3)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 199: In clause 120, page 71, line 13, at end insert



&quot;(2A) No order may be made under subsection (2) in respect of the following provisions unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Assembly?—


 


(a) section 24(1), (2), (4) and (5),


 


(b) in section 25?—


 


(i) subsections (1) to (9),


 


(ii) subsection (10), for the purposes of sections 25A to 29 and 35,


 


(c) sections 25A, 26 and 27,


 


(d) in section 28?—


 


(i) subsections (2) to (4),


 


(ii) subsection (5), in so far as it defines an “inspecting engineer” as an engineer duly commissioned under section 32 to supervise the taking of a measure referred to in section 32(1)(b),


 


(e) sections 29(2) to (5),


 


(f) in section 32?—


 


(i) in subsection (1), paragraph (b),


 


(ii) subsection (3),


 


(g) in section 33?—


 


(i) subsections (2) and (3),


 


(ii) in subsection (4), paragraphs (c), (d) and (i),


 


(iii) in subsection (5), paragraph (b),


 


(iv) in subsection (6), paragraph (b),


 


(h) sections 34 and 35,


 


(i) in section 36(1)?—


 


(i) paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d),


 


(ii) paragraph (e) (in relation to the requirements of section 32(1)(b)),


 


(iii) paragraph (g),


 


(j) in section 36(2), paragraphs (a), (b), (d) and (e),


 


(k) section 36(3), in relation to the following offences?—


 


(i) an offence under section 36(1)(a), (b), (c) or (d),


 


(ii) an offence under section 36(1)(e) that is attributable to a failure to comply with the requirements of section 32(1)(b),


 


(iii) an offence under section 36(1)(g),


 


(iv) an offence under section 36(2)(a), (b), (d) or (e),


 


(l) section 36A,


 


(m) section 37,


 


(n) in section 63(1), paragraph (a),


 


(o) sections 64 and 65, in so far as they concern the commissioning of a supervising engineer,


 


(p) in section 66, paragraph (a),


 


(q) sections 67 to 69,


 


(r) section 70, in relation to an offence under section 36A(1),


 


(s) section 71A, as regards costs in relation to the commissioning of a supervising engineer under section 65 and costs under section 67 or 69,


 


(t) sections 76 to 84,


 


(u) section 85, in relation to the consultation required by sections 76(2), 78(2) and 81(2),


 


(v) section 86, in relation to regulations under sections 76(1) and 81(1),


 


(w) section 87,


 


(x) section 93, in so far as it defines a “relevant engineer” as a supervising engineer (including a nominated representative of a supervising engineer under section 25(7)(a) who is acting as such in the event of the supervising engineer being unavailable),


 


(y) section 95, in relation to failure to comply with the requirements of section 93 as respects a relevant engineer who is a supervising engineer (including a nominated representative of a supervising engineer under section 25(7)(a) who is acting as such in the event of the supervising engineer being unavailable),


 


(z) sections 103A, 103B and 103C, in relation to?—


 


(i) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 25A(1),


 


(ii) an appeal under section 71A as regards costs in relation to the commissioning of a supervising engineer under section 65 and costs under section 67 or 69,


 


(iii) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 76(1), 78(1) or 81(1),


 


(za) section 105.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 200: In clause 120, page 71, line 16, after &quot;Act&quot; insert



&quot;including, in the case of an order in respect of any provision referred to in subsection (2A), such transitional or transitory modifications of this Act as the Department considers necessary or expedient in connection with any other provisions of this Act not yet having come into operation&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

The main amendment in this group is amendment No 199, which introduces a pause in the commencement of certain clauses of the Reservoirs Bill. It provides for the Bill to be commenced in two phases. I am proposing the amendment to address a concern that the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee raised with me that it was being asked to consider the legislation in the absence of information on the condition and the estimated capital costs of making safe the reservoirs that will come within the scope of the Bill. I gave an assurance to the Committee that my Department would, subject to the required approvals, make financial assistance available to reservoir managers to help to meet the cost of commissioning an engineer to examine the reservoir and to provide a report on the condition and the estimated cost of making it safe. When completed, the outcome of that exercise will be presented in a report to the Committee for consideration.

I also assured the Committee that I would propose that the Bill is commenced in two phases and that the clauses of the Bill in phase 2 would be commenced only after a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the Assembly and after the Committee had received and considered the reservoirs report. I am pleased that the Committee, having received those assurances, agreed to the Bill progressing and to completing the Assembly legislative process.

I am also pleased to be in a position to deliver on my assurances by, first, proposing these amendments and, secondly, by advising that the financial assistance to reservoir managers has been approved and that the gathering of information on reservoirs in the North has commenced.

As regards the proposed commencement of the Bill, I can advise that phase 1 will allow the commencement of the non-recurring elements, that is: the definition of a controlled reservoir; the definition of a reservoir manager; the requirement on the manager to register the reservoir with the Department; a requirement on the Department to give a reservoir a designation; and a requirement on the manager to commission an inspection of the reservoir.

Commencement of phase 2 will be considered when the Assembly is presented with the Department's report on the condition of the reservoirs that will come under the scope of the Bill, together with an estimate of the capital costs of making them safe. Phase 2 contains the recurring parts of the Bill, such as the requirement to commission a supervising engineer and the requirement to comply with directions made by an inspecting engineer. The relevant clauses of the Bill to be commenced in phase 2 are detailed in amendment No 199. This amendment includes references to new clauses proposed in group 2 and group 3 amendments, which have already been debated, as well as reference to amendments being proposed in group 5, which is still to be debated.

It is worth repeating that phase 2 of the Bill can be commenced only after a draft of the order has been laid before the Assembly and approved by a resolution of the Assembly. The other amendments in this group — amendment Nos 66, 69, 70, and 73 — are required to pave the way for the phased commencement approach being proposed. These amendments relate to clause 29 on inspection timings for reservoirs and allow the subsections to be effective on their own and to be commenced separately.

Amendment No 200 is required to facilitate the phased commencement. If phase 2 provisions are to be commenced over a period of time, some clauses may need to be modified for the period until the other phase 2 provisions come into operation. This amendment will give the Department express power to modify such clauses as necessary. The Examiner of Statutory Rules has been consulted regarding the amendment and has confirmed that he is content that a draft of the order would have to be laid before the Assembly and approved by a resolution of the Assembly. I am pleased that the Committee welcomed, and was content with, the proposed amendments. Those are the amendments for group 4.

Photo of William Irwin William Irwin DUP

In my speech on this group of amendments, I will be explaining some of the background to the phased commencement and talking about an audit of reservoirs. This audit is not mentioned in the Bill. In fact, it sits outside, and is separate to, the Bill, but I have mentioned the audit in every other speech I have made, so Members can be in no doubt of its importance to the Committee.

This is a vital aspect of the whole agreement that we came to, as a Committee, with the Department. I think it is fair to say that without the agreement from the Department to do an audit and without the proof that the audit has started none of the other amendments brought here today would have been agreed. In fact, we might be in a very different scenario whereby we would be voting against the Bill.

During its scrutiny, the Committee examined the evidence provided to it and had concerns that the Department had not proved the need for the Bill. The Committee is strongly of the opinion that, before the Bill was introduced to the Assembly, the Department should have carried out an audit of the 150 reservoirs, which were initially anticipated would fall under the remit of the Bill. It was the Committee's opinion that Rivers Agency should have carried out an audit of the reservoirs before the Bill was introduced to the Assembly. Such an audit could have provided basic information on the condition and likely cost of bringing the reservoirs up to an acceptable standard for public safety. An audit would have provided the proof that the Bill is required and that the policy approach in the Bill, for example, the panel engineer system, is the correct approach.

The Committee noted that the lack of information concerning the condition of reservoirs and the likely cost to repair and maintain them has made decision-making in other areas of the Bill difficult. The Committee is aware that, of the 137 reservoirs, 48 belong to Northern Ireland Water, and those have been maintained to the standards set out in the Reservoirs Act 1975, which applies in England, Scotland and Wales. Another 27 reservoirs in the public sector belong mainly to local authorities and Departments and, with some exceptions, they are also maintained to the spirit of the Reservoirs Act 1975. In other words, we can take some comfort that 75 of the 137, or around 54%, are already more or less operating to the spirit of the proposed Reservoirs Bill.

The Committee is mindful that the Department is primarily concerned about the 50 reservoirs in private ownership, the nine that are in the ownership of the third sector, and the three in which ownership is still unknown. It is those 62 reservoirs and, particularly, the 31 that are high consequence and the 12 that are medium consequence that are the cause for concern. It is those reservoirs that will be obliged to comply with the entire operating regime in the Reservoirs Bill. The low-consequence reservoirs will have a light touch operating regime.

After all, reservoirs are man-made. Many of these artificial structures were designed with the aim of providing water for industrial usage. Like any man-made structure, they need to be maintained and kept safe. After all, if you own a building, you maintain it to ensure that the roof is sound and the electrics safe.

The Committee received evidence from the Department that indicated that the vast majority of reservoirs in Northern Ireland were constructed from clay core embankments, which are now more than 100 years old. It appears that the engineering involved would be considered primitive compared with the standard of reservoir construction today. The Department went on to state that anecdotal evidence suggests that many reservoirs in private and third-sector ownership have not been subjected to any type of maintenance regime over the years. Let me be clear: the Committee fully endorses the need to ensure that reservoirs are safe and the public are protected. However, it is strongly of the opinion that the Department should not rely on anecdotal evidence that suggested that some private sector and third-sector reservoirs were old and in poor condition.

The Committee considered that an audit would have had the following benefits. First, by defining the condition of reservoirs, particularly in the private and third sector, the Department might have provided definitive rather than anecdotal evidence that the Bill in its current format is actually required. Secondly, an audit would have allowed an informed assessment of the level, type and criteria of any grant aid likely to be needed to bring reservoirs up to the minimum safety standards that the Department would expect. Thirdly, it would have gone some way to addressing the real worries, concerns and, indeed, distress that some reservoir owners are experiencing regarding the potential impact of the Bill.

Last but not least, an audit would have addressed the information vacuum that appears to exist around the condition of reservoirs in Northern Ireland and the cost of bringing them up to an acceptable standard for public safety. The Department responded to the concerns of the Committee and proposed a fundamental shift in policy approach but within the confines of the existing Bill. It proposed a new approach that would allow for an initial financial assistance package for reservoir managers to enable them to undertake the first inspection process as detailed in the Bill.

The Bill is to be enacted but with only certain sections commenced. Other recurring sections will be paused until the initial financial assistance package has been provided, the inspections undertaken and the findings provided to the Assembly.

Let me be clear: these amendments create two phases. Phase 1, which will be enacted upon Royal Asset, brings in the definitions and makes clear who is responsible for the reservoirs. Phase 2 covers all the recurring elements of the Bill, such as the visits by the engineers.

As additional protection, the paused parts of the Bill will require affirmative resolution in the Assembly to be commenced. The Committee discussed this proposal and associated amendments at some length. Concerns were expressed by all Committee members. However, after due consideration of all the issues and the proposal, and on foot of reassurances from the Minister, the Committee indicated that it was content and commended the Department for bringing this revised approach and the amendments to clause 120 on commencement and clause 29.

I, therefore, put on record that the Committee is content with the ministerial amendments in this group.

Photo of Ian Milne Ian Milne Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. I will speak on the group 4 amendments on phased commencement and audit. Like Members before me, I convey my appreciation to the Committee Clerk, Stella, and staff, departmental officials and Rivers Agency representatives, who were always very helpful and informative, and the various stakeholders who made representation to the Committee. Their on-the-ground experience brings practicality to the theory. The Reservoirs Bill is, first and foremost, about protecting lives and property, as well as the potential impact on the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity, should a dam burst unexpectedly.

With this in mind, the Committee had no difficulty in supporting the principle of the Bill, but we quite rightly had a number of concerns that needed to be addressed before we were content to proceed. In our opinion, the initial evidence was not substantial enough to prove the need for the Bill. Much of it was anecdotal and lacked factual information.

The review gave us a better understanding of the reservoirs that needed to be included. Originally, there were 151, but 14 had already been found to be outside the scope of the Bill. Potentially, another six or seven will be excluded. Ownership has now been established in all but one or two cases. However, the Committee formed the opinion that a full audit of remaining reservoirs was not only necessary but vital before moving forward. I commend the Minister and her Department for accepting the amendment, which now allows for an assessment of the condition of each reservoir as well as the projected cost of any maintenance or repair work that may be required to bring a reservoir up to an acceptable standard.

The proposed financial assistance package will enable managers to undertake the first inspection process or, if that is already completed, other initial works, after which phase 2 of the Bill can be enacted. That approach simply makes good sense, and I hope that it goes some way in addressing the understandable concerns raised by owners. The phased commencement is the sensible and practical way forward, and I give it my full support.

I thank the Committee for its cooperation and sensible approach to the Bill. All political parties were of one mind to a large extent.

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin 4:45 pm, 28th April 2015

Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. I thank Members for their comments in the debate on the fourth group of amendments. It is important to point out that the purpose of the legislation is to minimise the risk to the public of flooding due to an uncontrolled release of water resulting from dam failure.

The preliminary flood risk assessment identified that thousands of people are at potential risk from dam failure in the North from reservoirs capable of holding 10,000 cubic metres or more. Anecdotal evidence also suggested that many reservoir managers were not aware of their responsibility to arrange for regular inspections and maintenance of these ageing structures.

The findings from the assessment were presented to the Executive, who agreed that I should bring forward this primary reservoir safety legislation. However, I accept that detailed information on reservoirs may have been helpful to the Committee during its scrutiny of the Bill. It is for that reason that I brought forward these proposed amendments to commence the Bill in two phases and gave an assurance that my Department would gather information on the condition and capital costs of making reservoirs safe.

I assure the House that I will not seek to commence the recurring parts of phase 2 of the Bill until that information has been presented to the Assembly. That reflects a sensible and proportionate approach to the commencement of this legislation.

Amendment No 66 agreed to.

Amendment No 67 made:

In page 17, line 27, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 68 made:

In page 17, line 27, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 69 made:

In page 17, line 35, at beginning insert

<BR/>

&quot;Where section 28(1) does not apply by virtue of subsection (1),&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 70 made:

In page 17, line 38, leave out from second &quot;subsection&quot; to &quot;28(1)&quot; on line 39 and insert &quot;section 28(1) does not apply&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 71 made:

In page 17, line 40, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 72 made:

In page 17, line 40, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 73 made:

In page 18, line 4, at beginning insert



&quot;Where section 28(1) does not apply by virtue of subsection (3)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 74 made:

In page 18, line 12, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 75 made:

In page 18, line 13, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 29, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 30 (Inspection timing: other qualifications)

Amendment No 76 made:

In page 18, line 16, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 77 made:

In page 18, line 17, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 78 made:

In page 18, line 21, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 79 made:

In page 18, line 21, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 30, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 31 (Pre-commencement inspection report)

Amendment No 80 made:

In page 18, line 34, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 81 made:

In page 18, line 34, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 82 made:

In page 19, line 14, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 83 made:

In page 19, line 14, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 31, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 32 (Commissioning of inspecting engineer etc.)

Amendment No 84 made:

In page 19, line 28, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 85 made:

In page 19, line 28, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 86 made:

In page 20, line 7, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 87 made:

In page 20, line 7, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 32, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 33 (Duties etc. in relation to inspection)

Amendment No 88 made:

In page 21, line 24, leave out sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) and insert



&quot;is required of the supervising engineer by virtue of regulations made under section 25A(1),&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 33, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 35 (Recording of water levels etc. and record keeping)

Amendment No 89 made:

In page 23, line 7, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 90 made:

In page 23, line 7, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 35, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 36 (Offences: supervision, inspection, record keeping)

Amendment No 91 made:

In page 23, line 37, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 92 made:

In page 23, line 37, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 93 made:

In page 24, line 12, leave out paragraph (f). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 94 made:

In page 24, line 18, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 95 made:

In page 24, line 18, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 96 made:

In page 24, line 36, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 97 made:

In page 24, line 39, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 98 made:

In page 24, line 41, leave out subsection (4). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 36, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 99 made:

After clause 36 insert



&quot;Offence in connection with inspection: failure to secure compliance with safety direction or recommendation


 


36A.—(1) Failure by a reservoir manager of a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir without lawful excuse to comply with the requirements of section 34(1) (ensuring compliance with direction in inspection report or pre-commencement safety recommendation as to taking of measure) is an offence.


 


(2) A reservoir manager guilty of an offence under subsection (1)?—


 


(a) in relation to a controlled reservoir which is, at the time the offence is committed, a high- consequence reservoir is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale,


 


(b) in relation to a controlled reservoir which is, at the time the offence is committed, a medium-consequence reservoir is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.


 


(3) Section 70 makes provision as to further remedies available on conviction of an offence referred to in subsection (1).&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 37 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 38 (Application of Part 3 etc.)

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

I will not call amendment No 100, as it is consequential to amendment No 1, which has not been made. I will not call amendment No 101, as it is consequential to amendment No 1, which has not been made.

Clause 38 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 39 to 41 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 42 (Safety report)

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

I will not call amendment No 102 as it is consequential to amendment No 1, which has not been made.

Clause 42 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 43 to 45 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 46 (Final certificate)

Amendment No 103 made:

In page 29, line 40, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 104 made:

In page 29, line 40, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 105 made:

In page 30, line 1, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 106 made:

In page 30, line 1, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 46, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 47 and 48 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 49 (Offences: construction or alteration)

Amendment No 107 made:

In page 31, line 19, leave out from &quot;any&quot; to the end of line 25 and insert

<BR/>

&quot;the requirements in section 40(2)(a) (commissioning of construction engineer) is an offence.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 108 made:

In page 31, line 33, leave out &quot;(a)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 109 made:

In page 31, line 35, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 110 made:

In page 31, line 39, leave out subsections (4) and (5). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 49, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 111 made:

After clause 49 insert



&quot;Offences: failure to comply with safety direction in safety report, preliminary certificate or final certificate


 


49A.—(1) Failure by a reservoir manager of a controlled reservoir without lawful excuse to comply with any of the following requirements under this Part is an offence?—


 


(a) the requirements in section 43(1) (ensuring compliance with direction in safety report as to taking of safety measure),


 


(b) the requirements in section 47 (ensuring compliance with preliminary certificate or final certificate).


 


(2) A reservoir manager guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable?—


 


(a) on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or to a fine, or to both,


 


(b) on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.


 


(3) Section 70 makes provision as to further remedies available on conviction of an offence referred to in subsection (1)(a).&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 50 and 51 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 52 (Incident reporting)

Amendment No 112 made:

In page 33, line 28, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

We now come to the fifth group of amendments for debate. With amendment No 113, it will be convenient to debate amendment Nos 114 to 119, amendment Nos 123 to 129, amendment Nos 135 to 140, amendment No 186, amendment Nos 189 to 191 and amendment Nos 195 to 198. These deal with sensitive information and technical amendments.

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin 5:00 pm, 28th April 2015

I beg to move amendment No 113:

In page 33, line 37, after &quot;in&quot; insert &quot;or relating to&quot;.

The following amendments stood on the Marshalled List:

No 114: In page 33, line 38, leave out from &quot;direct&quot; to second &quot;notice&quot; in line 41. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 115: In page 33, line 42, after &quot;concerned&quot; insert

<BR/>

&quot;and any other person who has prepared the incident report&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 116: In page 33, line 42, after second &quot;manager&quot; insert



&quot;and (as appropriate) the other person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 117: In page 34, line 1, leave out from &quot;a&quot; to end of line 3 and insert



&quot;the incident report, a copy of it or any information in or relating to it,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 118: In page 34, line 4, leave out &quot;give access to a copy of such an incident report&quot; and insert



&quot;permit access to the incident report, a copy of it or any information in or relating to it,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 119: In page 34, line 5, at end insert



&quot;(3A) Notice under subsection (3) may also specify requirements as to the storage of the incident report and copies of it in the interests of national security.


 


(3B) Where notice under subsection (3) states that this subsection applies to any of the information specified in the notice (“the specified information”), the person on whom the notice is served must not give to any other person any indication of the existence of the specified information.


 


(3C) Any duty of a person under regulations made under subsection (1) to publish an incident report, a copy of such a report or any information in or relating to such a report does not apply to the extent that notice served on the person under subsection (3) requires the person not to do so.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 123: In clause 53, page 35, line 26, after &quot;in&quot; insert &quot;or relating to&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 124: In clause 53, page 35, line 27, leave out from &quot;direct&quot; to second &quot;notice&quot; in line 29. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 125: In clause 53, page 35, line 30, after &quot;concerned&quot; insert



&quot;and each other relevant person&quot;.


— [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 126: In clause 53, page 35, line 30, after second &quot;manager&quot; insert



&quot;and other relevant person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 127: In clause 53, page 35, line 31, leave out from &quot;a&quot; to end of line 33 and insert



&quot;the flood plan, a copy of it or any information in or relating to it,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 128: In clause 53, page 35, line 34, leave out &quot;, or not to give access to, a copy of such a flood plan&quot; and insert



&quot;and not to permit access to the flood plan, a copy of it or any information in or relating to it,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 129: In clause 53, page 35, line 35, at end insert



&quot;(4A) Notice under subsection (4) may also specify requirements as to the storage of the flood plan and copies of it in the interests of national security.


 


(4B) Where notice under subsection (4) states that this subsection applies to any of the information specified in the notice (“the specified information”), the person on whom the notice is served must not give to any other person any indication of the existence of the specified information.


 


(4C) For the purposes of subsection (4), a relevant person is a person (other than the Department)?—


 


(a) who is required, by virtue of regulations under subsection (1), to prepare, review or update the flood plan, provide, produce or submit it or publish or distribute copies of it,


 


(b) who receives or may receive the flood plan or information in or relating to it.


 


(4D) Any duty of a person under regulations made under subsection (1) to publish a flood plan, a copy of such a plan or any information in or relating to such a plan does not apply to the extent that notice served on the person under subsection (4) requires the person not to do so.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 135: In clause 56, page 37, line 4, leave out subsection (1). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 136: In clause 56, page 37, line 10, leave out &quot;reservoir manager of a controlled reservoir&quot; and insert &quot;person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 137: In clause 56, page 37, line 12, at end insert



&quot;(ya) the requirements of a notice under subsection (3) of section 52 (publication etc. of incident reports and national security) or subsection (3B) of that section in so far as subsection (3B) applies in relation to the notice,


 


(za) the requirements of a notice under subsection (4) of section 53 (publication etc. of flood plans and national security) or subsection (4B) of that section in so far as subsection (4B) applies in relation to the notice,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 138: In clause 56, page 37, line 15, at end insert



&quot;(2A) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (2) where the person fails to comply with the requirements referred to in paragraph (ya) or (za) of that subsection in order to comply with any other duty imposed on the person by virtue of any of the following?—


 


(a) the Environmental Information Regulations 2004,


 


(b) the Freedom of Information Act 2000,


 


(c) a constable acting in the course of the constable’s duties,


 


(d) an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 139: In clause 56, page 37, line 16, leave out &quot;reservoir manager&quot; and insert &quot;person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 140: In clause 56, page 37, line 16, leave out &quot;(1) or&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 186: After clause 104 insert



&quot;National security: further provision


 


104A.—(1) Without prejudice to section 9(4), if it appears to the Secretary of State that any other disclosure of any information relating to a controlled reservoir would adversely affect national security, the Secretary of State may issue a notice (“a non-disclosure notice”) to the Department in relation to the information.


 


(2) Where a non-disclosure notice has been issued under subsection (1), the Department must not publish or disclose any of the information or require any person to do so.


 


(3) Where a non-disclosure notice states that this subsection applies to any of the information specified in the notice (“the specified information”), the Department must not give to any other person any indication of the existence of the specified information.


 


(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to the extent that they would prevent the Department from complying with any other obligation to which it is subject in pursuance of?—


 


(a) the Environmental Information Regulations 2004,


 


(b) the Freedom of Information Act 2000,


 


(c) a constable acting in the course of the constable’s duties,


 


(d) an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 189: In clause 107, page 66, line 16, after &quot;must&quot; insert



&quot;, not later than 28 days after the resignation,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 190: In clause 107, page 66, line 16, leave out &quot;the resignation&quot; and insert &quot;it&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 191: In clause 107, page 66, line 21, leave out subsection (3). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 195: In clause 117, page 70, line 28, leave out &quot;a statutory provision&quot; and insert



&quot;Northern Ireland legislation or an Act of Parliament&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 196: In clause 118, page 70, line 39, at end insert



&quot;“the Water Appeals Commission” means the Water Appeals Commission for Northern Ireland,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 197: In clause 120, page 71, line 7, after &quot;on&quot; insert &quot;the day after&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

No 198: In clause 120, page 71, line 9, leave out &quot;116,&quot; and insert &quot;116 to&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

The amendments in this group relate to the management of sensitive information about reservoirs to prevent it being wrongly disclosed, accessed, distributed, or published. The group also includes other minor technical amendments that are required.

(Mr Deputy Speaker [Mr Beggs] in the Chair)

Reservoirs are complex technical structures. When a reservoir fails, it can cause a huge amount of water to be released suddenly and history shows us that when this occurs it has the potential to cause loss of life, extensive damage to property, critical infrastructure, the environment, cultural heritage, and economic activity. It is therefore extremely important that certain information is protected, particularly for reservoirs used for public water supply. Information that would be considered to be sensitive include the capacity of reservoirs, the parts of flood plans that include detailed inundation maps, and the parts of incident reports that highlight any weakness in a reservoir.

The Reservoirs Bill makes provision for the withholding of sensitive information from the reservoir register, incident reports and flood plans. On reflection, this is an unnecessarily bureaucratic arrangement that will result in a delay in the restricting of the sensitive information. Also the provision extends only to the issue of a notice to a reservoir manager not to publish, distribute or give access to information. However, this should also extend to others who may be in possession of the same sensitive information. Therefore, the effectiveness of the notice is somewhat limited. I am therefore proposing, through amendment Nos 113 to 119 and amendment Nos 123 to 129, to introduce a more efficient process whereby any notice may be issued directly to a reservoir manager. Importantly, this also makes provision for the issue of a notice directly to any other relevant person who may hold or have access to sensitive information, for example a reservoir engineer. A new clause at amendment No 186 is required to deal with sensitive information held by the Department as well as consequential amendment Nos 135 to 140 to clause 56, relating to associated offences.

Turning to the proposed technical amendments, I advise that these do not affect the meaning or purpose of the clauses to which they refer. Therefore, I do not wish to prolong the debate by commenting on each individual amendment. However, I will briefly comment on what the amendments are intended to achieve within the respective clauses.

Amendment Nos 189 to 191 to clause 107 are proposed to achieve consistency in relation to requirements on a reservoir manager to give notice of resignation or revocation of an engineer's commissioning to the Department within 28 days. <BR/>Proposed amendment No 195 to clause 117 is a drafting refinement that, from now on, will be adopted in all Assembly Bills to clarify that the draft affirmative procedure is to apply to any subordinate legislation that amends primary legislation or any Act of Parliament. The amendment has been discussed and agreed with the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

Proposed amendment No 197 to clause 120 makes it clear that the clauses, as listed, come into operation on the day after Royal Assent, while amendment No 198 adds clause 117 to the list of clauses to be commenced on the day after Royal Assent. Proposed amendment No 196 provides the full title of the Water Appeals Commission in clause 118.

Photo of William Irwin William Irwin DUP

The fifth group of amendments were brought forward by the Minister. They were not seen or discussed by the Committee during the Committee Stage of the Bill. In fact, the issue that these amendments cover was never raised in any of the evidence presented to the Committee. Departmental officials informed the Committee of the amendments and provided it with the text, but it never took a position on them. Thank you.

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

That was quick. I thank the Chairperson for his comments, and I thank everybody for their comments throughout the debate.

Some of the reservoirs in the North, particularly those used for public water supply, are vital to our social and economic infrastructure. Therefore, it is extremely important that sensitive information relating to such reservoirs is protected where it is deemed necessary. I am satisfied that my proposed amendments reflect best practice and should ensure that sensitive information is properly managed.

Amendment No 113 agreed to.

Amendment No 114 made:

In page 33, line 38, leave out from &quot;direct&quot; to second &quot;notice&quot; in line 41. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 115 made:

In page 33, line 42, after &quot;concerned&quot; insert

<BR/>

&quot;and any other person who has prepared the incident report&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 116 made:

In page 33, line 42, after second &quot;manager&quot; insert



&quot;and (as appropriate) the other person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 117 made:

In page 34, line 1, leave out from &quot;a&quot; to end of line 3 and insert



&quot;the incident report, a copy of it or any information in or relating to it,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 118 made:

In page 34, line 4, leave out &quot;give access to a copy of such an incident report&quot; and insert



&quot;permit access to the incident report, a copy of it or any information in or relating to it,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 119 made:

In page 34, line 5, at end insert



&quot;(3A) Notice under subsection (3) may also specify requirements as to the storage of the incident report and copies of it in the interests of national security.


 


(3B) Where notice under subsection (3) states that this subsection applies to any of the information specified in the notice (“the specified information”), the person on whom the notice is served must not give to any other person any indication of the existence of the specified information.


 


(3C) Any duty of a person under regulations made under subsection (1) to publish an incident report, a copy of such a report or any information in or relating to such a report does not apply to the extent that notice served on the person under subsection (3) requires the person not to do so.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 52, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 53 (Flood plans)

Amendment No 120 made:

In page 35, line 13, after &quot;(n)&quot; insert &quot;and subsection (3A)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 121 made:

In page 35, line 20, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 122 made:

In page 35, line 24, at end insert



&quot;(3A) Regulations under subsection (1) containing provision entitling the Department to recover costs as referred to in subsection (3)(m) must provide for a right of appeal to the Water Appeals Commission against?—


 


(a) the Department’s decision to require the person to pay the costs,


 


(b) the Department’s decision as to the amount of the costs.


 


(3B) The Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 123 made:

In page 35, line 26, after &quot;in&quot; insert &quot;or relating to&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 124 made:

In page 35, line 27, leave out from &quot;direct&quot; to second &quot;notice&quot; in line 29. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 125 made:

In page 35, line 30, after &quot;concerned&quot; insert



&quot;and each other relevant person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 126 made:

In page 35, line 30, after second &quot;manager&quot; insert



&quot;and other relevant person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 127 made:

In page 35, line 31, leave out from &quot;a&quot; to end of line 33 and insert



&quot;the flood plan, a copy of it or any information in or relating to it,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 128 made:

In page 35, line 34, leave out &quot;, or not to give access to, a copy of such a flood plan&quot; and insert



&quot;and not to permit access to the flood plan, a copy of it or any information in or relating to it,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 129 made:

In page 35, line 35, at end insert



&quot;(4A) Notice under subsection (4) may also specify requirements as to the storage of the flood plan and copies of it in the interests of national security.


 


(4B) Where notice under subsection (4) states that this subsection applies to any of the information specified in the notice (“the specified information”), the person on whom the notice is served must not give to any other person any indication of the existence of the specified information.


 


(4C) For the purposes of subsection (4), a relevant person is a person (other than the Department)?—


 


(a) who is required, by virtue of regulations under subsection (1), to prepare, review or update the flood plan, provide, produce or submit it or publish or distribute copies of it,


 


(b) who receives or may receive the flood plan or information in or relating to it.


 


(4D) Any duty of a person under regulations made under subsection (1) to publish a flood plan, a copy of such a plan or any information in or relating to such a plan does not apply to the extent that notice served on the person under subsection (4) requires the person not to do so.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 53, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 54 (Maintenance of records)

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP

Amendment Nos 130 to 134 are consequential, technical amendments. I, therefore, propose, by leave of the House, to group the amendments for the Question and then to group the relevant clauses for the Question.

Amendment No 130 made:

In page 36, line 6, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 131 made:

In page 36, line 6, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 132 made:

In page 36, line 7, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 54, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 55 (Display of emergency response information)

Amendment No 133 made:

In page 36, line 35, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 134 made:

In page 36, line 35, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 55, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 56 (Offences under Part 4)

Amendment No 135 made:

In page 37, line 4, leave out subsection (1). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 136 made:

In page 37, line 10, leave out &quot;reservoir manager of a controlled reservoir&quot; and insert &quot;person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 137 made:

In page 37, line 12, at end insert

<BR/>

&quot;(ya) the requirements of a notice under subsection (3) of section 52 (publication etc. of incident reports and national security) or subsection (3B) of that section in so far as subsection (3B) applies in relation to the notice,


 


(za) the requirements of a notice under subsection (4) of section 53 (publication etc. of flood plans and national security) or subsection (4B) of that section in so far as subsection (4B) applies in relation to the notice,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 138 made:

In page 37, line 15, at end insert



&quot;(2A) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (2) where the person fails to comply with the requirements referred to in paragraph (ya) or (za) of that subsection in order to comply with any other duty imposed on the person by virtue of any of the following?—


 


(a) the Environmental Information Regulations 2004,


 


(b) the Freedom of Information Act 2000,


 


(c) a constable acting in the course of the constable’s duties,


 


(d) an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 139 made:

In page 37, line 16, leave out &quot;reservoir manager&quot; and insert &quot;person&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 140 made:

In page 37, line 16, leave out &quot;(1) or&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 141 made:

In page 37, line 18, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 56, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 57 to 64 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 65 (Commissioning of engineer by Department)

Amendment No 142 made:

In page 42, line 1, leave out subsection (4) and insert



&quot;(4) If the Department considers it appropriate to do so, it may by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay the Department such amount of the costs reasonably incurred by it in pursuance of the exercise of its powers under this section as is specified in the notice.


 


(5) Subject to section 71A, the reservoir manager must pay the amount of any costs so incurred and specified in such notice.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 65, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 66 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 67 (Enforcement notice: safety measures)

Amendment No 143 made:

In page 42, line 42, leave out subsection (6) and insert



&quot;(6) If the Department considers it appropriate to do so, it may by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay the Department such amount of the costs reasonably incurred by it in connection with consultation under this section as is specified in the notice.


 


(7) Subject to section 71A, the reservoir manager must pay the amount of any costs so incurred and specified in such notice.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 67, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 68 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 69 (Department's power to arrange taking of safety measures)

Amendment No 144 made:

In page 43, line 27, leave out subsection (6) and insert



&quot;(6) If the Department considers it appropriate to do so, it may by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay the Department such amount of the costs reasonably incurred by it in making arrangements under this section as is specified in the notice.


 


(7) Subject to section 71A, the reservoir manager must pay the amount of any costs so incurred and specified in such notice.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 69, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 70 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 71 (Emergency powers)

Amendment No 145 made:

In page 45, line 1, at beginning insert &quot;Subject to section 71A,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 71, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 146 made:

After clause 71 insert



&quot;Recovery of costs under section 65, 67, 69 or 71: appeal


 


Recovery of costs under section 65, 67, 69 or 71: appeal


 


71A.—(1) A reservoir manager required by virtue of notice served by the Department under section 65(4), 67(6), 69(6) or 71(7) to pay the Department’s costs referred to in the section may appeal to the Water Appeals Commission against?—


 


(a) the Department’s decision to require the manager to pay the costs,


 


(b) the Department’s decision as to the amount of the costs.


 


(2) The Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 72 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 73 (Stop notices: content and procedure)

Amendment No 147 made:

In page 46, line 10, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 148 made:

In page 46, line 23, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 149 made:

In page 46, line 32, leave out from &quot;include&quot; to &quot;and&quot; on line 33 and insert



&quot;—


(a)&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 150 made:

In page 46, line 39, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 151 made:

In page 47, line 2, at end insert


&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 152 made:

In page 47, line 3, leave out subsection (6). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 73, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 74 (Stop notices: compensation)

Amendment No 153 made:

In page 47, line 17, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 154 made:

In page 47, line 18, leave out


&quot;and provide for the powers of the Commission in an appeal&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 155 made:

In page 47, line 21, at end insert &quot;(d) must secure that the Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 156 made:

In page 47, line 22, leave out subsection (2). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 74, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 75 and 76 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 77 (Regulations as to enforcement undertakings: further provision)

Amendment No 157 made:

In page 49, line 15, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 158 made:

In page 49, line 16, leave out



&quot;and the powers of the Commission in an appeal&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 159 made:

In page 49, line 21, at end insert &quot;(ja) for the Commission to have power to confirm or quash the decision,&quot; — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 160 made:

In page 49, line 37, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 161 made:

In page 50, line 10, leave out subsection (2). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 77, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 78 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 79 (Fixed monetary penalties: procedure etc.)

Amendment No 162 made:

In page 51, line 16, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 163 made:

In page 52, line 9, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 164 made:

In page 52, line 10, leave out subsection (7). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 79, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 80 and 81 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 82 (Variable monetary penalties: procedure etc.)

Amendment No 165 made:

In page 53, line 38, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 166 made:

In page 54, line 37, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 167 made:

In page 54, line 38, leave out subsection (8).


— [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 82, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 83 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 84 (Undertaking referred to in section 82(5): enforcement)

Amendment No 168 made:

In page 55, line 36, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 169 made:

In page 56, line 10, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm or quash the decision.&quot; — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 170 made:

In page 56, line 11, leave out subsection (6). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 84, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 85 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 86 (Recovery by the Department of certain costs)

Amendment No 171 made:

In page 57, line 5, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 172 made:

In page 57, line 6, leave out from &quot;and&quot; to &quot;appeal&quot; on line 7. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 173 made:

In page 57, line 9, at end insert



&quot;(b) secure that the Commission may confirm, quash or vary the decision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 174 made:

In page 57, line 10, leave out subsection (4). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 86, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 87 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 88 (Powers of entry)

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP

Amendment Nos 175 and 176 are technical and consequential.

Amendment No 175 made:

In page 58, line 5, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 176 made:

In page 58, line 6, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 88, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 89 and 90 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 91 (Offence: preventing or obstructing entry)

Amendment No 177 made:

In page 60, line 2, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 91, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 92 (Compensation)

Amendment No 178 made:

In page 60, line 38, leave out from the beginning to &quot;of&quot; and insert

<BR/>

&quot;If the Department considers it appropriate to do so it may, in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (8A), by notice served on the reservoir manager require the manager to pay the Department such amount of the following as is specified in the notice&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 179 made:

In page 61, line 1, at beginning insert



&quot;(8A) The circumstances are &quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 92, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 93 (Affording of reasonable facilities to engineers)

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP

Amendment Nos 180 to 182 are consequential and technical.

Amendment No 180 made:

In page 61, line 17, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 181 made:

In page 61, line 17, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 93, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 94 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 95 (Offences: sections 93 and 94)

Amendment No 182 made:

In page 62, line 19, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 95, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 96 to 103 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 183 made:

Before clause 104 insert

<BR/>

&quot;Power of Water Appeals Commission to award costs in an appeal


 


103A.—(1) The Water Appeals Commission may make an order as to the costs of the parties to an appeal mentioned in subsection (2) and as to the parties by whom the costs are to be paid.


 


(2) The appeals are?—


 


(a) an appeal under section 21 (reservoir designation),


 


(b) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 25A(1) (decision of Department as to whether high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained: frequency of visits by supervising engineer),


 


(c) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 53(1) (cost recovery in relation to flood plan),


 


(d) an appeal under section 71A (cost recovery under section 65, 67, 69 or 71),


 


(e) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 72(1) ( in relation to stop notice),


 


(f) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 76(1) (in relation to enforcement undertaking),


 


(g) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 78(1) (imposition of fixed monetary penalty),


 


(h) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 81(1) (in relation to variable monetary penalty).


 


(3) An order made under this section has effect as if it had been made by the High Court.


 


(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), the Master (Taxing Office) has the same powers and duties in relation to an order made under this section as the Master has in relation to an order made by the High Court.


 


(5) Proceedings before the Commission are, for the purposes of the Litigants in Person (Costs and Expenses) Act 1975, to be regarded as proceedings to which section 1(1) of that Act applies.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 184 made:

Before clause 104 insert



&quot;Orders as to costs: supplementary


 


103B.—(1) Subsection (2) applies where all of the following apply?—


 


(a) for the purpose of an appeal referred to in section 103A(2)?—


 


(i) the Water Appeals Commission is required, before a decision is reached, to give any person an opportunity, or ask any person whether the person wishes, to appear before and be heard by it,


 


(ii) arrangements are made for a hearing to be held,


 


(b) the hearing does not take place,


 


(c) if it had taken place, the Commission would have had power to make an order under section 103A(1) requiring any party to pay any costs of any other party.


 


(2) The power to make such an order may be exercised, in relation to costs incurred for the purposes of the hearing, as if the hearing had taken place.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 185 made:

Before clause 104 insert



&quot;Fees in relation to appeals


 


103C. The Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister may by regulations specify the fees to be paid to the Water Appeals Commission in connection with appeals referred to in section 103A(2).&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 104 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 186 made:

After clause 104 insert



&quot;National security: further provision


 


104A.—(1) Without prejudice to section 9(4), if it appears to the Secretary of State that any other disclosure of any information relating to a controlled reservoir would adversely affect national security, the Secretary of State may issue a notice (“a non-disclosure notice”) to the Department in relation to the information.


 


(2) Where a non-disclosure notice has been issued under subsection (1), the Department must not publish or disclose any of the information or require any person to do so.


 


(3) Where a non-disclosure notice states that this subsection applies to any of the information specified in the notice (“the specified information”), the Department must not give to any other person any indication of the existence of the specified information.


 


(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to the extent that they would prevent the Department from complying with any other obligation to which it is subject in pursuance of?—


 


(a) the Environmental Information Regulations 2004,


 


(b) the Freedom of Information Act 2000,


 


(c) a constable acting in the course of the constable’s duties,


 


(d) an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 105 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 106 (Assessment of engineers’ reports etc.)

Amendment No 187 made:

In page 65, line 29, after &quot;quality&quot; insert &quot;and content&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 106, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 188 made:

After clause 106 insert



&quot;Publication of information as regards ranges of costs of engineers’ services


 


106A.—(1) The Department may publish information as regards ranges of costs of the provision of relevant services by engineers who are members of panels of reservoir engineers established under section 97.


 


(2) For the purposes of this section, “relevant services” are services that are provided by such engineers in pursuance of this Act or are available for such provision.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 107 (Notice to the Department of revocation of commissioning, or resignation, of engineer)

Amendment No 189 made:

In page 66, line 16, after &quot;must&quot; insert



&quot;, not later than 28 days after the resignation,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 190 made:

In page 66, line 16, leave out &quot;the resignation&quot; and insert &quot;it&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 191 made:

In page 66, line 21, leave out subsection (3). — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 192 made:

In page 66, line 27, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 107, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP

No amendments have been tabled to clauses 108 to 116. I propose, by leave of the Assembly, to group those clauses for the Question on stand part.

Clauses 108 to 116 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 117 (Orders and regulations)

Amendment No 193 made:

In page 70, line 12, at end insert

<BR/>

 


&quot;(iia) section 22A(1) (further provision about matters that are to be taken into account under sections 17(3), 18(2), 20(3)(b)(ii) and 21(5)(a)),&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 194 made:

In page 70, line 12, at end insert



&quot;(iib) section 25A(1) (regulations as to visits by supervising engineer to high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir),&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 195 made:

In page 70, line 28, leave out &quot;a statutory provision&quot; and insert



&quot;Northern Ireland legislation or an Act of Parliament&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 117, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 118 (Definitions)

Amendment No 196 made:

In page 70, line 39, at end insert



&quot;“the Water Appeals Commission” means the Water Appeals Commission for Northern Ireland,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 118, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 119 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 120 (Commencement)

Amendment No 197 made:

In page 71, line 7, after &quot;on&quot; insert &quot;the day after&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 198 made:

In page 71, line 9, leave out &quot;116,&quot; and insert &quot;116 to&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 199 made:

In page 71, line 13, at end insert



&quot;(2A) No order may be made under subsection (2) in respect of the following provisions unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Assembly?—


 


(a) section 24(1), (2), (4) and (5),


 


(b) in section 25?—


 


(i) subsections (1) to (9),


 


(ii) subsection (10), for the purposes of sections 25A to 29 and 35,


 


(c) sections 25A, 26 and 27,


 


(d) in section 28?—


 


(i) subsections (2) to (4),


 


(ii) subsection (5), in so far as it defines an “inspecting engineer” as an engineer duly commissioned under section 32 to supervise the taking of a measure referred to in section 32(1)(b),


 


(e) sections 29(2) to (5),


 


(f) in section 32?—


 


(i) in subsection (1), paragraph (b),


 


(ii) subsection (3),


 


(g) in section 33?—


 


(i) subsections (2) and (3),


 


(ii) in subsection (4), paragraphs (c), (d) and (i),


 


(iii) in subsection (5), paragraph (b),


 


(iv) in subsection (6), paragraph (b),


 


(h) sections 34 and 35,


 


(i) in section 36(1)?—


 


(i) paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d),


 


(ii) paragraph (e) (in relation to the requirements of section 32(1)(b)),


 


(iii) paragraph (g),


 


(j) in section 36(2), paragraphs (a), (b), (d) and (e),


 


(k) section 36(3), in relation to the following offences?—


 


(i) an offence under section 36(1)(a), (b), (c) or (d),


 


(ii) an offence under section 36(1)(e) that is attributable to a failure to comply with the requirements of section 32(1)(b),


 


(iii) an offence under section 36(1)(g),


 


(iv) an offence under section 36(2)(a), (b), (d) or (e),


 


(l) section 36A,


 


(m) section 37,


 


(n) in section 63(1), paragraph (a),


 


(o) sections 64 and 65, in so far as they concern the commissioning of a supervising engineer,


 


(p) in section 66, paragraph (a),


 


(q) sections 67 to 69,


 


(r) section 70, in relation to an offence under section 36A(1),


 


(s) section 71A, as regards costs in relation to the commissioning of a supervising engineer under section 65 and costs under section 67 or 69,


 


(t) sections 76 to 84,


 


(u) section 85, in relation to the consultation required by sections 76(2), 78(2) and 81(2),


 


(v) section 86, in relation to regulations under sections 76(1) and 81(1),


 


(w) section 87,


 


(x) section 93, in so far as it defines a “relevant engineer” as a supervising engineer (including a nominated representative of a supervising engineer under section 25(7)(a) who is acting as such in the event of the supervising engineer being unavailable),


 


(y) section 95, in relation to failure to comply with the requirements of section 93 as respects a relevant engineer who is a supervising engineer (including a nominated representative of a supervising engineer under section 25(7)(a) who is acting as such in the event of the supervising engineer being unavailable),


 


(z) sections 103A, 103B and 103C, in relation to?—


 


(i) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 25A(1),


 


(ii) an appeal under section 71A as regards costs in relation to the commissioning of a supervising engineer under section 65 and costs under section 67 or 69,


 


(iii) an appeal by virtue of regulations under section 76(1), 78(1) or 81(1),


 


(za) section 105.&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 200 made:

In page 71, line 16, after &quot;Act&quot; insert



&quot;including, in the case of an order in respect of any provision referred to in subsection (2A), such transitional or transitory modifications of this Act as the Department considers necessary or expedient in connection with any other provisions of this Act not yet having come into operation&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Clause 120, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause

Amendment No 201 made:

After clause 120 insert



&quot;Duty to report on operation of this Act


 


121.—(1) The Department must, not later than three years after this Act receives Royal Assent, publish a report on the operation of this Act.


 


(2) The Department must lay the report before the Assembly.&quot;. — [Mr Elliott.]

New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 121 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 1 (Pre-commencement inspection reports: review of decision under section 31(2))

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP

Amendment Nos 202 to 205 are consequential, technical amendments. I therefore propose, by leave of the House, to group those amendments for the Question.

Amendment No 202 made:

In page 72, line 5, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 203 made:

In page 72, line 5, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 204 made:

In page 72, line 27, leave out first &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 205 made:

In page 72, line 27, leave out second &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 2 (Index of defined expressions)

Amendment No 206 made:

In page 73, line 24, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 207 made:

In page 73, line 31, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 208 made:

In page 73, line 32, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;consequence&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 209 made:

In page 73, line 37, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 210 made:

In page 73, line 47, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 211 made:

In page 74, line 9, at end insert

<BR/>

&quot;








the Water Appeals Commission



section 118(1)


 



 


&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 3 (Minor and consequential amendments)

Amendment No 212 made:

In page 74, line 15, leave out &quot;for Northern Ireland&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 213 made:

In page 74, line 23, leave out &quot;risk&quot; and insert &quot;reservoir&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Amendment No 214 made:

In page 74, line 24, at end insert



&quot;(aa) an appeal (made by virtue of regulations made under section 25A(1) of that Act) against a decision as to whether a high-consequence or medium-consequence reservoir is of an acceptable standard as regards how it is being maintained: frequency of visits by supervising engineer,


 


(ab) an appeal (made by virtue of regulations made under section 53(1) of that Act) against a decision as to recovery of costs in relation to a flood plan,


 


(ac) an appeal (under section 71A of that Act) against a decision as to recovery of costs under section 65, 67, 69 or 71 of that Act,&quot;. — [Mrs O'Neill (The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development).]

Schedule 3, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Long title agreed to.

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP

This concludes the Consideration Stage of the Reservoirs Bill. The Bill stands referred to the Speaker.

Adjourned at 5.48 pm.