Previous Section Home Page

Mr. Morgan : Considering the new questions that now face the NII when determining, almost on a six-monthly basis, whether this or that Magnox station can safely continue operating, and, if so, what work must be done on it before it can be approved, is the increase of 40 in the approved establishment, for which the Government say they are willing to pay, what the NII has asked for to meet its

responsibilities, which have been increased by the changed circumstances of the industry ; or is that some lower figure?

Mr. Spicer : There is no change as regards safety. The Magnoxes are reaching the end of their working lives. Questions of safety relating to those stations arise under present structures, which have not changed. The resources will be provided so that the NII can carry out its statutory responsibilities.

There may be some qualification in this context : the NII cannot ask for excessive resources, but, like the Opposition, we want to ensure that the industry continues to be as safe in the future as it has been in the past. The NII is the instrument to achieve that, so it stands to reason that it must have adequate resources. We are at one with the Opposition on that.

The hon. Members for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) and for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) asked about emergency procedures which, as they acknowledged, we discussed at some length in Committee. Matters have moved on, to the extent that it was recently announced that new health and safety regulations are to be made under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The regulations will place a formal requirement on local authorities to prepare integrated off-site plans for nuclear installations similar to those in the control of industrial major accident hazard regulations--the CIMAH regulations--which now cover the chemical industry. That would put on a statutory footing arrangements for emergency procedures which already exist. I hope that that announcement answers the arguments advanced by the hon. Member for Makerfield and by other hon. Members.

The hon. Member for Gordon raised one or two points about Scotland--most pertinently, about the non-fossil fuel obligation. The reason why that obligation does not exist in Scotland is the high level of non-fossil fuel generating capacity there. That capacity makes the obligation unnecessary for the foreseeable future. The hon. Member for Gordon went on to ask whether there would be some form of average pricing arrangements which would not put the same sort of commercial pressures--in the best sense of the word--on the industry in Scotland as are to be found elsewhere. The Nuclear Company in Scotland will be subject to regulation, and specifically subject to the need for transparent accounts and dealings. The regulator will be able to take a firm and direct view of whether the efficiency that he requires is present in the system.

The hon. Member for Gordon also asked about renewables and about the non- fossil fuel obligation applying to France. He was right to say that we have set a special tranche of 600 MW for renewables, although they can also compete within the general non-fossil fuel obligation. To some extent, that is a movable feast,

Column 808

capable of revision in the future. Should there be a massive under-provision for renewable capacity--in the context of the obligation for renewables--it would be open to the Government of the day to increase that tranche. That has been allowed for. So there is nothing final about this ; the tranche, at 600 MW, looks about right in terms of a special arrangement within the overall NFFO for renewables.

In the light of those remarks, I hope that the House will feel able to agree with us and to move on to the next debate.

Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment :--

The House divided : Ayes 291, Noes 190.

Division 318] [8.48 pm


Adley, Robert

Alexander, Richard

Alison, Rt Hon Michael

Allason, Rupert

Amess, David

Amos, Alan

Arbuthnot, James

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)

Ashby, David

Atkins, Robert

Atkinson, David

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)

Banks, Robert (Harrogate)

Batiste, Spencer

Beaumont-Dark, Anthony

Bellingham, Henry

Bendall, Vivian

Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)

Benyon, W.

Bevan, David Gilroy

Biffen, Rt Hon John

Blackburn, Dr John G.

Boscawen, Hon Robert

Boswell, Tim

Bottomley, Mrs Virginia

Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)

Bowis, John

Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes

Brandon-Bravo, Martin

Brazier, Julian

Bright, Graham

Brooke, Rt Hon Peter

Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)

Browne, John (Winchester)

Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)

Budgen, Nicholas

Burns, Simon

Burt, Alistair

Butler, Chris

Butterfill, John

Carlisle, John, (Luton N)

Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)

Carrington, Matthew

Carttiss, Michael

Cash, William

Chapman, Sydney

Chope, Christopher

Churchill, Mr

Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)

Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)

Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)

Conway, Derek

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Cope, Rt Hon John

Cormack, Patrick

Couchman, James

Cran, James

Currie, Mrs Edwina

Curry, David

Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Day, Stephen

Devlin, Tim

Dorrell, Stephen

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Dover, Den

Dunn, Bob

Durant, Tony

Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)

Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas

Fallon, Michael

Favell, Tony

Fenner, Dame Peggy

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Fishburn, John Dudley

Fookes, Dame Janet

Forman, Nigel

Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)

Forth, Eric

Fowler, Rt Hon Norman

Fox, Sir Marcus

Franks, Cecil

Freeman, Roger

French, Douglas

Gale, Roger

Gardiner, George

Garel-Jones, Tristan

Gill, Christopher

Glyn, Dr Alan

Goodlad, Alastair

Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles

Gorman, Mrs Teresa

Gorst, John

Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)

Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)

Greenway, John (Ryedale)

Gregory, Conal

Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)

Ground, Patrick

Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn

Hague, William

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Hampson, Dr Keith

Hanley, Jeremy

Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')

Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)

Harris, David

Hayes, Jerry

Heathcoat-Amory, David

Heddle, John

Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)

Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.

Hill, James

Hind, Kenneth

Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)

Holt, Richard

Hordern, Sir Peter

Howard, Michael

Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)

Next Section

  Home Page