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Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 8:



"Confidentiality
(1) The Secretary of State shall exclude—
(a) from what he lays before Parliament and publishes under any Part of this Act, and
(b) from what is to be laid before the Scottish Parliament,
any of the material referred to in subsection (3) of this section.
(2) The NDA shall exclude from any report that it is required to make public any of the material referred to in subsection (3) of this section, but nothing in this subsection shall entitle or require the NDA to withhold from the Secretary of State any information which he is reasonably entitled to require to be disclosed to him or

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which he may require to be disclosed in confidence or for the purpose of the performance of his duties under this or any other Act.
(3) The material referred to in subsections (1) and (2) is any of the following—
(a) anything, the publication of which (otherwise than under any enactment) would constitute a breach of confidence by any person;
(b) anything which constitutes a trade secret;
(c) anything which would be prejudicial to the commercial interests of any person.
(4) In relation to any information which the NDA is entitled to have disclosed to it under any Part of this Act and which the NDA considers that the requirements of this Act, and in particular Schedule 3, would require it to disclose to any other person (otherwise than under any enactment) anything which would normally either constitute a breach of confidence by any person or the disclosure of a trade secret or which would be prejudicial to the commercial interests of any person—
(a) the NDA shall consider whether the disclosure of such information is strictly necessary in order to fulfil such requirements and shall not disclose the information unless it is strictly necessary; and
(b) the NDA shall not disclose the information unless or until the person to whom it is disclosed has agreed to be bound by confidentiality obligations in substantially the same terms as those which are binding on the NDA in relation to the information,
and otherwise shall exclude it from disclosure."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this amendment, which deals with confidentiality, is grouped with Amendment No. 26 and Amendments Nos. 31 and 33, which are government amendments.

I have read those government amendments carefully. Although they do not cover every point exactly, both we and the companies involved would be satisfied with them. I intend to listen to what the Minister says on those amendments, and if necessary we will not press them. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for giving me the opportunity to explain the later amendments. There was considerable discussion on the issue of confidentiality in this and other contexts in the Grand Committee, and the Government recognise that there are concerns here.

Although we consider that a number of these issues can be dealt with by contract rather than by legislation, we have brought forward our own amendments to address those valid concerns.

Our amendments relate to the exclusions that the Secretary of State can make in respect of the publication of the NDA's annual report, and the NDA in respect of the publication of its strategy and annual plan. The key differences between our approach and that of the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon, are that our amendments are targeted on the publication of documents, for which, under provision of the Bill, the requirements of disclosure might otherwise outweigh the contractual protections.

The information to be protected relates to information in respect of an individual, or body of persons, which would "seriously and prejudicially affect" their interests.

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That is necessary because there has to be a balanced test on whether the information should be disclosed. The amendments would enable the Secretary of State and—subject to a suitable cost/benefit analysis—the NDA, to decide that the information should be disclosed. This is an important dimension.

The NDA and the Secretary of State need to be able to make a decision in favour of disclosure where they consider it necessary. Because of the general provisions of these amendments, such decisions would be taken only with the greatest care and would not detract from the NDA's financial and natural responsibility to stand behind site companies, should they be exposed to claims for damages as a result of the site licensee providing the information required.

As a consequence of discussions that we have had with both the NDA and the companies concerned, we believe that they are now reasonably happy that the Government's amendments meet at least the bulk of their requirements. They have probably conveyed that view to the noble Baroness as well.

Our amendments meet the main anxieties previously expressed here, and those of the companies themselves.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I have listened carefully to the Minister. That is what I thought his amendments meant when I first read them. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved Amendment No. 9:


    After Clause 3, insert the following new clause—


"PRINCIPAL DUTIES OF THE NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING AUTHORITY
(1) It shall be a principal duty of the NDA, in carrying out its functions, to have particular regard to each of the following—
(a) relevant Government policy;
(b) the need to safeguard the environment;
(c) the need to protect persons from risks to their health and safety from activities involving the use, treatment, storage, transportation or disposal of hazardous material;
(d) the need to preserve nuclear security;
(e) the need to promote, and to ensure, the maintenance and development in the United Kingdom of a skilled workforce able to undertake the work of decommissioning nuclear installations and of cleaning up nuclear sites; and
(f) the need to secure the adoption of what it considers to be good practice by the persons with control of designated installations, designated sites and designated facilities."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the amendment moves towards the front of the Bill what the Government have in the Bill as drafted "general duties" of the NDA at Clause 9. Here they are made the principal duties of the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency.

We moved the amendment in Committee and the Minister's reply prompted us to return to the matter on Report. We believe that the principal duties of the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency should be laid

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down in legislation. Yet the Minister, in reply on 15 January, said that the proposed new clause was more or less a mission statement laying down the objectives of the NDA. He went on to say:


    "It is not appropriate to cover a mission statement in legislation. It will properly be for the NDA itself, once established, to determine how it will frame its objectives in line with legislation".—[Official Report, 15/1/04; col. GC 138.]

I believe that it is for the legislation to lay down the objectives for the NDA. I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon, and the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, for adding their names to the amendment.

It is of critical importance that the NDA has clear principal duties. Besides those laid down as general duties, we have added two more in paragraphs (e) and (f) so that in its principal duties it shall have all the important aspects which it can go on to draw out for itself as a mission statement. At least the legislation refers to those important duties so that the NDA can check that it is going in the right direction.

I hope that between the Committee and Report stages the Government have had time to reflect on the importance of legislation laying down an organisation's objectives. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, who replied in Committee, will today be able to tell me whether it is the practice for public bodies to frame their own objectives. In Committee he said that it was, but that surprised me. Perhaps it goes some way to explaining why public bodies do not always seem to have the focus we believe they should. I believe that objectives should be framed for public bodies so that they are extremely clear on what they are supposed to be achieving. I beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I support the amendment. The focus and importance of Amendment No. 9 is reflected in its new position in the Bill after Clause 3. I can see no problems that the Government may have with it. Paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) in the amendment and in Clause 9 of the Bill are the same. Paragraphs (e) and (f) appear in subsection (2)(a) and (c) of Clause 9. There is nothing new and we have tabled the amendment to demonstrate its importance and focus at an earlier part of the Bill.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, the origin of putting such objectives into a Bill came from the Select Committee in another place. I confess that when the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, moved the amendment in Grand Committee and I listened to the Government's reply, I had more sympathy with the Government. Her amendment reflected what the other place had said, but it was not an appropriate addition to the Bill. But, as my noble friend Lady Miller, has now said, this is a different situation. It is useful for those duties to be given such

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prominence in the amendment and I hope that the Government will feel able to smile upon it. I was happy to add my name to it.


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