Part of Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 21 March 2017.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Department for Transport) 9:45, 21 March 2017

I am always delighted to hear from my right hon. Friend on such matters. It might be helpful for me to set out the purpose of clause 14 and, in doing so, address the specific point that he made.

The purpose of the clause is, first, to provide the power to make exceptions to the obligation set out in the regulations and, secondly, to provide a safeguard against situations in which the requirements set out in the regulations flowing from the powers in the Bill have unintended consequences. These include where the regulations risk placing unreasonable requirements on businesses in order to comply, or where technological innovation advances in ways that could not have been anticipated at the time of drafting the regulations. Those are some of the reasons why the clause was drafted in this form.

The effect is to give the Secretary of State the ability to decide that the obligations contained in the regulations made under the Bill do not apply in particular or given circumstances. To ensure transparency, the Secretary of State will be required to publish any determination made using the powers. Being a veteran in all such legislative matters, my right hon. Friend will understand that the purpose of that is to ensure that the clause is used consistently and in a way that is open to scrutiny.

My right hon. Friend asked me about the types of situation in which the power might be used. They include where it would be unreasonable for a person to comply due to their particular circumstances—a good example would be a remote service station with very limited access to grid infrastructure—and where the aims of the regulation may be achieved by means that do not necessarily meet the exact requirements of the regulation—for example, where smart functionality is delivered through an innovation that could not have been anticipated at the point when the regulations were drafted.

Those are two areas where exceptions might be applied of the kind that I have described. Although, I am confident that I have satisfied my right hon. Friend with that assurance; maybe I have not, but that is for him to judge. At least, I hope that he will now understand the purpose of the clause as drafted.