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The Earl of Balfour: Perhaps I may just make two points in addition to what my noble friend has just said. There are also gases like carbon-dioxide for soda water or oxyacetylene torches for garages and welding gear. I believe that those types of gas should also be taken into consideration.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: I am having some difficulty in understanding the detail. If one bought a

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1136

cylinder of gas--and I believe I understood the noble Baroness to say that that would be included--would it be a "product" for the purposes of this part of the schedule, where the product's safety would be a reserved matter and, therefore, a matter for the UK Parliament? In other words, would one have the situation where the specification of safety of the cylinder of gas would be a matter for the UK Parliament but the supply of the cylinder of gas would be a matter regulated by the Scottish parliament? It seems, prima facie, slightly surprising if that is so.

The Duke of Montrose: We are now reaching the stage where cars will be running on gas. I do not know whether that has been taken into consideration. That gas will presumably be supplied to cars through a pipeline.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: I hope the Committee will forgive me for saying that I think it is making extremely heavy weather of what is, to my mind, a rather straightforward situation. I repeat what I said about the regulatory regime; namely, the intention behind the oil and gas reservation is to preserve a uniform regulatory regime for the exploitation of oil and gas reserves, especially for the offshore oil and gas industry and pipelines. That is where the regulatory regime comes in. The noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, queried that.

The health and safety aspects of the manufacture and transport of gas, either by "happy campers" or anyone else, are covered by other reservations on health and safety and transport matters. There is no need for a general reserve control over the manufacture of gas and its conveyance. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, asked whether a safety aspect would be a reserve matter and whether a cylinder of gas would be a devolved matter. The answer is yes because health and safety matters cut across everything. I do not know why the Committee finds that odd.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for giving way. We are pleased to hear that health and safety will be a reserve matter and that transport will be a reserve matter. I do not think we find that odd. But what puzzles me is what the words mean in terms of what regulations and rules a Scottish parliament and a Scottish executive would be able to consider with regard to the,

    "conveyance, shipping and supply of gas other than through pipes".

If I was given an answer to that I might understand why those words appear at all; otherwise I shall take a leaf out of the book of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale.

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Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: The provision concerns anything that is not the manufacture of gas or its,

    "conveyance, shipping and supply ... other than through pipes".

Pipelines are covered, but conveying gas in any other way is not. Any question of health and safety is reserved under another heading. Cylinders and everything to do with marketing and matters other than health and safety will be devolved because there is no reason why that should not be the case, as with any other industrial process. It seems odd to me that noble Lords opposite find this so difficult to understand.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The last sentence the noble Baroness utters is usually the despairing remark of a schoolmaster or mistress who has failed to get a point over to the class. In this case I do not think the class is entirely stupid. I still await a real example of what a Scottish parliament might do differently from the UK Parliament. I do not believe that the Scottish parliament will have anything to do with the marketing of gas. I believe these words are totally unnecessary. I shall take a leaf out of the book of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, and suggest that the words be removed from the Bill. I therefore seek the opinion of the Committee.

10.13 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 198) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 26; Not-Contents, 60.

Division No. 4


Attlee, E.
Balfour, E.
Burnham, L.
Byford, B.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chesham, L.
Courtown, E. [Teller.]
Dixon-Smith, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Kintore, E.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Minto, E.
Montrose, D.
Mountevans, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rowallan, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sempill, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stair, E.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Torphichen, L.


Addington, L.
Alli, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Judd, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Monkswell, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thurso, V.
Tope, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Whitty, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1138

10.21 p.m.

The Earl of Balfour moved Amendment No. 199:

Page 73, line 40, at end insert--
("The subject-matter of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993.").

The noble Earl said: I rise to move Amendment No. 199. Amendment No. 200 is consequential upon that amendment. I believe that radioactive and nuclear materials should be a United Kingdom responsibility. I seek to place the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 in the reservation area of Section 4 under Head 4. In order to support my argument, perhaps I could ask the Committee to look at Head 5, Section 5, page 76, at line 31. The transportation of radioactive material is a reserved function, which I believe strengthens my argument that radioactive substances should be a reserved matter. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My name is also down to this amendment. I have the same puzzlement. The Radioactive Substances Act 1993 is about registration of premises and so on, as far as I can see from the copy of Statutes in Force which I obtained from the Library. I wonder whether it is wise to take one small part of the nuclear industry and devolve it to the Scottish parliament. Would it not be better to keep the whole subject together and reserved?

Lord Sewel: We start from the point that environmental protection is a devolved area. We then go through and look at environmental protection in relation to radioactive waste. The Radioactive Substances Act 1993 contains provisions under which the Scottish Environment Protection Agency at present grants authorisations for the disposal of radioactive waste on or from premises in Scotland.

At the moment the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), operating with the authority given to it under the Radioactive Substances Act, controls the disposal of radioactive waste in Scotland in terms of environmental considerations. That specific part was taken out and not reserved because it reflects what happens at the moment. It is not a deviation of policy

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1139

from that which obtains at the present time. On that basis, with that clarification, I hope the noble Earl can withdraw his amendment.

The Earl of Balfour: I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 200 not moved.]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 201:

Page 74, line 27, leave out from ("training)") to second ("of") in line 28.

The noble Lord said: We now move on to Head 5 which concerns transport. The amendment relates to road transport. A number of matters are reserved about which I have no argument. Once again my puzzle comes from the exemption reservation. The exemptions are the subject matter of Sections 39 and 40 relating to road safety and training--I have no trouble with that--and Sections 157 to 159, which relate to payments for treatment of traffic casualties, of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

That seems to suggest that the payment for treatment of traffic casualties should be devolved to the Scottish parliament and implies that the Scottish parliament could opt for a different system. It may decide to claim all the costs of any patient treated as a result of a road traffic accident. I suspect that that would be an awkward position inside the United Kingdom where motorists move between one country and another and it would be even more awkward for insurance companies. They would clearly have to increase their premiums for any driver who lived in Scotland or anyone in the United Kingdom who drove in Scotland because they would be carrying a higher risk.

I am puzzled as to why the Government decided to devolve that matter. It seems to me to be part and parcel of the uniform way in which we deal with the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. I shall be grateful for an explanation. Perhaps I am missing some subtle point, but it seems to me to be worthy of at least a probe. I beg to move.

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