Clause 103 - Additional powers of the Coal Authority: England and Wales

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

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Photo of Huw Irranca-Davies Huw Irranca-Davies Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change) 10:45 am, 21st June 2011

I rise to give the Minister a proper opportunity to introduce the clause. I welcome it, because it recognises the expertise that has resided in the Coal Authority over many years in respect of subsidence,  and the potential for that expertise to be applied more widely than purely in respect of coal mining. How does the hon. Gentleman see the new powers being utilised by the Coal Authority? Can he give us an assurance that its core functions in coal subsidence will not be affected by extending its remit beyond that? How has he dealt with the danger or the perils of the Coal Authority, with its special status and renowned expertise, driving out competition unfairly when it wants to competes in a wider market for its services? The same questions stand for clause 104 in respect of Scotland. Rather than repeat my comments, perhaps both I and the Minister can deal with both clauses in one go.