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House of Commons
Session 1997-98
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Pesticides Bill
     The Bill will amend the framework for the regulation of pesticides in the UK set out in the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. The 1985 Act, together with the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 made under it, establishes a regulatory system designed to ensure that pesticides are only permitted to be marketed or used if they are safe to people and to the environment and are effective.
     The Bill will allow the Government to provide, by Regulations, for public access to information on pesticides to be extended to include pesticides evaluated under the voluntary arrangements that operated until 1986.
     The Bill will strengthen the existing enforcement powers as set out in the 1985 Act.
     The Bill will make a technical change to simplify the arrangements for making certain secondary legislation in Northern Ireland.
     Clause 1 does three things. First, it will give local authorities powers of seizure and disposal of pesticides and treated materials and powers to direct some other person to take such action or other remedial action. Ministers already have similar powers. Second, it will extend the powers of Ministers to regulate so as to provide information on pesticides to cover pesticides first authorised before 1986 and not subsequently reviewed. Third, it will provide for certain Regulations for Northern Ireland to be made jointly under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 and the European Communities Act 1972 and for these Regulations to be subject to negative resolution. At present such joint Regulations are not possible because regulations under the 1985 Act require to be approved by resolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
     Clause 2 also does three things. First, it will provide that enforcement notices issued under section 19 of the 1985 Act may be withdrawn and re-issued. This will allow enforcement officers to respond flexibly to changes in circumstances. Second, it will provide additional powers to question persons believed to have information that might assist enforcement. A safeguard against self-incrimination is included. Third, it will empower enforcement officers to take photographs of anything which may be relevant to their enforcement duties (at present the power to take photographs is limited to document, books and records).
     Clause 3 will provide for the commencement of the Bill and specify that it extends to Northern Ireland.
 Financial effects of the Bill
     The Bill's provisions on access to information will need to be implemented through Regulations. There will be some costs associated with the preparation of information for disclosure but these will depend upon the exact mechanism chosen for providing information. The provisions relating to enforcement powers and to the making of Regulations in Northern Ireland should not add to public expenditure.
 Effects of the Bill on public service manpower
     There may be a small increase in manpower requirements associated with the preparation of information for disclosure. Other provisions will not have any impact on manpower.
 Compliance cost assessment
     As the Bill's provisions on access to information will be implemented through Regulations, it is not possible to be precise as to the likely effect on business costs. However, the preliminary compliance cost assessment concludes that these costs will be small in relation to the overall costs of the regulatory regime. The assessment also concludes that there will be no compliance costs associated with the remainder of the Bill. Copies of the document are available from the Library of either House.
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Prepared 14 November 1997