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 Charles Hendry Charles Hendry The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change 10:45 am, 21st June 2011

The purpose of the clause is to extend the powers of the Coal Authority in England and Wales to allow it to make use of and charge for its expertise in remediating coal-related environmental and safety liabilities in non-coal-related contexts. The extension will not take precedence over the authority’s existing statutory duties, and I hope that that has answered the hon. Gentleman’s question about coal subsidence. It will allow the Coal Authority to assist other public bodies and private landowners in dealing with mine-water treatment, subsidence or surface-hazard remediation outside the coal-mining sphere.

The change will not lead to an additional call on the public purse, as the authority will be able to charge for the additional non-coal work. Clause 104 mirrors the clause to extend the powers to Scotland. The Coal Authority’s status has been reviewed as part of the public bodies review and the internal Department of Energy and Climate Change delivery review. Its inclusion in the Public Bodies Bill will allow the Government to undertake any changes in the future, should the outcomes of the DECC review or any future circumstances require us to do so. The change is small and sensible.