Select Committee on Deregulation First Report



FIRST REPORT

The Deregulation Committee has made further progress in the matter referred to it and has agreed to the following Report:—

THE DRAFT DEREGULATION (PIPE-LINES) ORDER 1999

1. The Pipe-lines Act 1962 ("the 1962 Act") regulates certain categories of onshore pipe-lines in Great Britain. Under the 1962 Act, "cross-country" pipe-lines (defined as those exceeding 10 miles in length) require authorisation from the Secretary of State through a pipe-line construction authorisation (PCA)[1] which carries deemed planning permission. "Local" pipe-lines (those of 10 miles or under in length) must be notified to the Secretary of State and require local authority planning permission[2].

2. On 30 November 1998, the Government laid before Parliament the draft Deregulation (Pipe-lines) Order 1999, together with a Statement from the Department of Trade and Industry[3]. We have already reported on the Government's original proposals for this draft Order[4], which contains four proposals to amend the 1962 Act.

3. The proposed Order would amend the 1962 Act, as follows:—

    (i) to provide for the use of a written representations procedure for consideration of objections made to applications for a PCA;

    (ii) to remove the requirement that applicants for a pipe-line notify the Secretary of State at least 16 weeks prior to construction;

    (iii) to repeal section 7 of the 1962 Act, which requires a PCA for the construction of pipe-lines which either connect two existing pipe-lines or are added to an existing pipe-line to create a pipe-line of longer than 10 miles; and

    (iv) to repeal section 3 of the 1962 Act which requires a pipe-line diversion authorisation from the Secretary of State if a "cross-country" pipe-line is diverted from the course agreed in its PCA, or a local pipe-line is diverted to the extent that its total length becomes greater than 10 miles.

4. Following our consideration of the proposal, we concluded that it should be amended before the draft Order was laid[5].

5. We noted that the proposed Order did not allow for the applicant for a PCA to object to use of the written representations procedure for consideration of objections to an application[6]. We argued that the applicant as well as the objector should have the right to object to use of the written procedure[7]. The draft Order has been amended accordingly[8].

6. We also believed that, with the repeal of section 3 of the 1962 Act, a company might seek to obtain a PCA for a cross-country pipe-line for one route with the deliberate intention of diverting the pipe-line through a different route[9]. Although such a diversion would still require planning permission, we believed that there may be circumstances in which an applicant would expect a greater chance of success if an application for a pipe-line to pass through a contentious area was made as a local planning application rather than as an application for a PCA. We also believed that it was anomalous for a local authority to vary (through planning permission for a diversion) an authorisation granted by the Secretary of State (through a PCA)[10]. We recommended that the draft Order should be amended so that the Secretary of State retained authority for the diversion of cross-country pipe-lines that have not yet been constructed[11].The draft Order has been amended accordingly[12].

7. The House has instructed us to consider the extent to which the Minister has had regard to "any other representations made during the period for parliamentary consideration".[13] Before the proposal was laid, the Department wrote to all those who had been consulted to inform them of a number of consequential amendments to be made to the 1962 Act that had not been referred to specifically in the original consultation document[14]. Representations were received during the period for Parliamentary consideration from 13 organisations. Substantive points were raised by Scottish Hydro-Electric, BP Gas Marketing Ltd., Penspen Ltd., and the National Farmers' Union. The Statement laid together with the draft Order outlines the points made[15]; we believe that the Department has given adequate consideration to these representations[16].

Report under Standing Order No. 141

8. We recommend unanimously that the draft Order should be approved.


1  1962 Act, section 1. Back
2  ibid., section 2. Back
3  Copies of these are available to Members from the Vote Office and to members of the public from the Department of Trade and Industry. Back
4  Ninth Report, Proposal for the Deregulation (Weights and Measures) Order 1998; Proposal for the Deregulation (Pipe-lines) Order 1998, HC 939 of Session 1997-98. Back
5  ibid., paragraph 90. Back
6  Ninth Report, 1997-98, paragraph 71. Back
7  ibid. Back
8  Paragraph 4(1) of the Schedule to the draft Order, for insertion as paragraphs 4A(2) and 4 (a) of Schedule 1 to the 1962 Act. Back
9  Ninth Report, 1997-98, paragraph 84. Back
10  ibid., 1997-98, paragraph 85. Back
11  ibid. Back
12  Paragraph 2(2) of the Schedule to the draft Order, providing new subsection (1A) of section 1 to the 1962 Act. Back
13  Standing Order No. 141(5)(B). Back
14  Statement, paragraph 9. Back
15  ibid., paragraph 10. Back
16  ibid., paragraph 11. Back

 
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Prepared 10 December 1998