Clause 102 - Agreement about modifying decommissioning programme

Part of Energy Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 21st June 2011.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Leader of the Green Party 10:45 am, 21st June 2011

I rise to add my voice to the pleasure expressed by the hon. Member for Southampton, Test about the Government’s  intention to withdraw the clause. The number of signatures on the amendment signal the strong feeling on both sides of the Committee and the real concern about the wording in the clause. I back the original purpose of the amendments, because I want the Secretary of State to retain his powers to modify a decommissioning agreement on his own, without requiring the agreement of the plant operator. I want to ensure that any decommissioning agreement can be modified such that obligations are added and not removed.

I am glad that the clause will not stand part, but can the Minister assure us that we will be involved in the drawing up of the new provision, so that we know what will be brought back and that it will not suddenly be presented to us? Some letter or process whereby, early on in the process, we can see what is being proposed would be helpful. We are beginning to run out of time, and all of us would appreciate not simply being presented with a solution on Report, on a take it or leave it basis. There is scope for us to find something that could get wider agreement.