Schedule 3

Climate Change Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 3rd July 2008.

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Trading schemes regulations: further provisions

Question proposed, That the schedule be the Third schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Schedule 3 goes into some detail. Not in the Bill or in primary legislation, but in secondary legislation, enormous powers will be given to the Secretary of State. The Government and the Minister ask us to take a great deal on trust, and I wonder whether the Orders in Council will cover such matters. For example, if the Secretary of State proceeds with personal carbon accounts, will that be subject to Orders in Council? If we proceed down the path of personal carbon accounts for England, will they therefore also exist in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

I make this point in every Committee that I attend, but the point of standing for Parliament and serving on Committees is that we are given the opportunity carefully to scrutinise the enabling powers. When such far-reaching, wide powers are placed on trust in the Secretary of State, we have effectively devolved responsibility to the Secretary of State without the opportunity to scrutinise the Orders in Council and the powers therein.

I think that the Minister said earlier that such measures will be subject to affirmative procedures and resolution, but if that scenario was to appear in relation to personal carbon accounts, would such accounts apply, by Orders in Council, to the whole United Kingdom? I am personally slightly sceptical about personalised carbon accounts, but industry, the CBI and a number of other bodies have spoken on a number of occasions about their concerns that business will be asked to take the lion’s share of pollution and emissions-reducing measures. My question is a probing one about the enabling legislation.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I share the hon. Lady’s views. “An idea ahead of their time” was the response of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Let me reassure the hon. Lady in two ways. First, we do not consider that the Bill would be the appropriate framework to introduce such a personal carbon-trading scheme, given the robust scrutiny by Parliament that such a scheme would rightly require.

I shall give the hon. Lady further assurance. Part 1 of the schedule sets out the procedure to be followed where regulations are made by a single national authority. It sets out the procedures for both Parliament and the devolved legislatures, in which support for the regulations is required. Part 2 sets out the process for regulation jointly made by the Secretary of State and/or Welsh Ministers and/or the relevant Northern Ireland Department. A separate arrangement applies to trading schemes that involve Scotland, which is covered by part 3 of the schedule.

Where the affirmative procedure applies, if either House of Parliament or a relevant devolved legislature does not approve the instrument, it cannot be made. That should cover the hon. Lady’s point. If the negative procedure applies, again if either House of Parliament or the relevant devolved legislature resolves that the regulation should be annulled, the instrument has no further effect and may be revoked by Order in Council.  For those two reasons—common sense and procedural—the provisions satisfy her point. I asked for that point to be made as well.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Clause 49 ordered to stand part of the Bill.