Clause 54

Energy Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:00 pm on 4 March 2008.

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Secretary of State’s power of direction

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Minister of State (Energy), Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform

I shall give a brief introduction to the clause. If a person has not complied with an obligation imposed on them by the programme, or if the Secretary of State believes that that person has been engaged in unlawful conduct that he believes may affect the programme, under the powers in the clause, he can direct the person to take action to comply with the obligation or to remedy the effects of any breach. As for unlawful conduct, the person must have been convicted of a criminal act by a United Kingdom court and, if relevant, for the period of appeal to have expired—or if an appeal is made, for it to have run its course.

Before issuing a notice to direct a person, the Secretary of State must consult the interested bodies. If the person does not comply with the direction, the clause will allow the Secretary of State to apply to the High Court for an order. If the High Court decides that the person has failed to comply with the direction, it can order the person to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the notice is complied with. Without the clause, there would be no way of ensuring that remedial action could take place if it was considered necessary. At the same time, the constraints contained within the clause, such as the need for an appeal to have run its course, will ensure that the powers cannot be misused. I suggest that the clause stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 54 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 55 to 57 ordered to stand part of the Bill.