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

We do not expect the work or the income to be substantial; it will be a niche area, but it is nevertheless one where the authority’s skills are relevant, and in which it should be allowed to develop. An important point is that we have to find the right balance between allowing that expertise—it is not being used as broadly as it could be—to be brought to bear and to help in other areas, and making sure that where good private sector operators can provide such services they are not squeezed out of the process. At the moment, this is a permissive change to legislation, to allow the Coal Authority to extend its work. As Ministers who strongly believe in the role of competition and the private sector, we will watch very carefully to ensure that the authority’s powers are not abused.