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"( ) In this paragraph "non-processing treatment" has the same meaning as in section 6."
Page 143, line 2, at end insert—


"(5) The NDA may also exclude from what it publishes under this paragraph—
(a) anything relating to the private affairs of an individual the publication of which the NDA considers would seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual; and

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(b) anything of a commercial nature relating specifically to the affairs of a particular body of persons the publication of which the NDA considers would seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that body.
(6) In determining whether to exclude anything from publication under sub-paragraph (5) the NDA must have regard to whether the harm that would be caused by publication is likely to outweigh the benefits." .

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 12 [Contents of strategy]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 27 and 28:


    Page 11, line 16, leave out "benefiting" and insert "that benefit"


    Page 11, line 17, after "facilities" insert "or that produce other environmental benefits for such communities.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Procedural requirements applicable to NDA's annual plans]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 29 to 31:


    Page 144, line 8, at end insert—


"( ) The Secretary of State must also consult the Scottish Ministers before approving anything relating to proposals for the non-processing treatment, the storage or the disposal of hazardous materials if it appears to him that the proposals would have an effect (notwithstanding that they relate only to England and Wales)—
(a) on the management of hazardous materials located in Scotland; or
(b) on the use of a site in England and Wales for the non-processing treatment, the storage or the disposal of hazardous materials that could be brought to that site from Scotland."
Page 144, line 34, at end insert—


"( ) In this paragraph "non-processing treatment"" has the same meaning as in section 6."
Page 144, line 46, at end insert—


"(5) The NDA may also exclude from what it publishes under this paragraph—
(a) anything relating to the private affairs of an individual the publication of which the NDA considers would seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual; and
(b) anything of a commercial nature relating specifically to the affairs of a particular body of persons the publication of which the NDA considers would seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that body.
(6) In determining whether to exclude anything from publication under sub-paragraph (5) the NDA must have regard to whether the harm that would be caused by publication is likely to outweigh the benefits." .

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 14 [Annual reports]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 32 and 33:


    Page 14, line 35, at end insert —


"( ) Before giving a direction for the purposes of subsection (3)(j) the Secretary of State must consult the Scottish Ministers."
Page 15, line 5, leave out from "anything" to end of line 6 and insert "falling within subsection (9).


(9) The following falls within this subsection—
(a) anything the publication of which the Secretary of State considers to be against the interests of national security;

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(b) anything relating to the private affairs of an individual the publication of which the Secretary of State considers would seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual; and
(c) anything of a commercial nature relating specifically to the affairs of a particular body of persons the publication of which the Secretary of State considers would seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that body."

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Jenkin of Roding moved Amendment No. 34:


    After Clause 14, insert the following new clause—


"SCHEMES FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE WITH RESPECT TO DECOMMISSIONING
(1) Where the Secretary of State makes a direction under section 3 which specifies paragraph (b) or (f) of section 3(1) as the purposes for which an installation is designated, unless he considers that the decommissioning of the installation will not cause adverse economic and social effects on communities living near it, he shall also make a direction to the NDA and any relevant development agency within whose area any communities so affected are situated, requiring the NDA and any such agency to prepare together a scheme for mitigating those effects.
(2) A scheme prepared under subsection (1) shall include the following—
(a) particulars of the way in which the powers conferred by section 10(2)(c) and (as the case may be) by—
(i) Part 1 of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998,
(ii) the Welsh Development Agency Act 1975, or
(iii) Part 1 of the Enterprise and the New Towns (Scotland) Act 1990,
are proposed to be exercised, and
(b) such other particulars and information as the Secretary of State may from time specify.
(3) Particulars and information may be specified by the Secretary of State under subsection (2)(b) either generally, or with respect to a particular scheme or description of scheme.
(4) The NDA and a relevant development agency to which a direction for the preparation of a scheme under paragraph (1) is made shall as soon as reasonably practicable submit the scheme to the Secretary of State for his approval; and the Secretary of State shall either—
(a) approve the scheme submitted to him with such modifications, if any, as appear to him to be appropriate; or
(b) give notice to the NDA and the agency specifying the matters with which he is dissatisfied and requiring the NDA and the agency to revise and resubmit the scheme to him for his approval.
(5) The Secretary of State may from time to time require the NDA and a relevant development agency to review a scheme approved by him; and upon such a review the NDA and the agency shall consider whether to submit proposals to the Secretary of State for the modification of the scheme.
(6) Subsection (4) shall apply to—
(a) any scheme resubmitted in consequence of a notice given under paragraph (b) of that subsection, and
(b) any proposals for modification submitted under subsection (5),
as it applies to a scheme submitted pursuant to a direction under subsection (1).

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(7) If the Secretary of State considers that the NDA or a relevant development agency has failed properly to implement a scheme or modifications of a scheme approved by him under this section, he may give the NDA or the agency directions about the steps that it is to take for the purposes of securing such implementation.
(8) Each of the following is a relevant development agency for the purposes of this section—
(a) a regional development agency within the meaning of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998;
(b) the Welsh Development Agency;
(c) Scottish Enterprise; and
(d) Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
(9) For the purposes of this section, the area of Scottish Enterprise shall not be treated as including the Highlands and Islands within the meaning of section 21(1) of the Enterprise and the New Towns (Scotland) Act 1990 unless the Secretary of State directs otherwise."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendment stands in my name and in the names of noble Lords from various parts of the House. I recognise that the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, has sat patiently while we have dealt with earlier parts of the Bill. The amendment also stands in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Maclennan of Rogart, who has taken part in the debates.

The amendment has been promoted by some of the local authorities in the areas likely to be seriously affected by decommissioning and, therefore, by the activities of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The closure of nuclear installations or the substantial reduction of activity at such installations arising from the NDA's activities could—and almost certainly will—have serious adverse consequences for some of the communities around them.

A good deal of anxiety is being expressed about future employment prospects in those areas. One thinks particularly, but not exclusively, of Sellafield. Sellafield will be affected, if there is a cessation of reprocessing activities, which could mean the loss of thousands of jobs in an area that is otherwise of high deprivation and where any restructuring of the economy will be particularly difficult. Those of us who have, over the years, had the privilege of visiting the remarkable installations at Sellafield know that it is a considerable trek. The roads are not good, and road transport is slow. That is the kind of thing that will make it difficult to attract other industries quickly to the area.

With regard to the economic impact of the NDA's decommissioning activities, the Bill includes several supplemental functions to the principal task of the NDA, which is to decommission and clean up the designated installations. I do not quarrel with that for a moment; that is its principal task. However, Clause 7(1) states that,


    "the NDA shall have the function, to the extent that it considers it appropriate to do so, of . . . giving encouragement and other support to activities benefiting the social or economic life of communities living near designated installations, designated sites or designated facilities".

It is clear that that function or power gives the NDA the capability to work with other government agencies and local authorities to provide economic support to affected

18 Mar 2004 : Column 436

communities. However, the communities and their representatives, who live in those areas, are concerned that the function, as set out in the Bill, is discretionary. The NDA may or may not do it. There is nothing contained in the Bill as it stands to give a clear assurance that affected communities, which may suffer severely the impact of decommissioning activities, will receive the necessary support to restructure their economies because of decommissioning and reductions in employment. One might well ask the question, what provision is being made for social and economic support in the anticipated expenditure of the NDA? It may be too early to answer it, but are there going to be budget heads which will deal with this for the NDA's activities?

Given the overwhelming importance of the activities of the NDA in these areas as it works on its decommissioning duties, it should not be left to others to deal with economic consequences. I believe that it should be an integrated and required part of the NDA's duties. What we are seeking in these amendments is that instead of it simply being a power for the NDA to give economic support, there should be a clear duty laid on it. The amendment would give the assurance to the affected communities that support to mitigate the economic and social effects would be forthcoming by requiring that support be set out in a scheme and then approved by the Secretary of State. Without a statutory requirement for a scheme that commits to mitigate the economic and social effects, how can local communities be assured that the help they will certainly need will be forthcoming?

The burden of this amendment is that it should be a requirement, a duty, and not merely a power. I shall be interested to hear the Minister's answers on this. There are many worried people around the country, not only in Sellafield and Dounreay, but in a number of other areas where the NDA will have its activities. I hope that the Government will be able to give them the assurances that we seek with this amendment. I beg to move.

6.00 p.m.

Lord Campbell-Savours: My Lords, I shall try to truncate what I was going to say because I do not want to repeat what the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, has said. I am grateful to him for moving this amendment. It provides us with a peg on which to promote the discussion on decommissioning and regeneration currently under way in Cumbria where I live and where I have spent most of my life.

My noble friend will know that the decommissioning of nuclear plants will have a significant effect on local economies. The noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, set out the legislation which deals with this particular issue and draws specific attention to the words,


    "to the extent that the NDA considers it appropriate to do so".

Those words worry us.

This capability outlined in Clause 7 coupled with Clauses 10(2)(c) and 12(2)(e) clearly gives the NDA the power to work with other Government agencies and local authorities in providing economic support to communities likely to suffer adverse consequences from reduced activity at nuclear installations.

18 Mar 2004 : Column 437

At first glimpse it is very helpful. But there are profound concerns in West Cumbria as to whether the capability will actually deliver the benefits required if decommissioning of aspects of the work at Sellafield is to proceed. The Bill does not specify the support that we believe is required. For example, in West Cumbria the impact of a reduction in reprocessing activities at Sellafield may mean a significant reduction in employment in areas of high deprivation and all exacerbated by the relative remoteness of the communities involved.

Given that efforts to ensure balanced economic regeneration in that area over the past 20 years have failed to reduce West Cumbria's dependency on the nuclear industry, it is clear that a far more co-ordinated approach will be necessary now that the Sellafield site is moving into a period of uncertainty. When I was one of the local MPs, I always believed that the dependency on nuclear employment, which had increased in recent years following a reduction in other manufacturing activity in West Cumbria, was not conducive to the development of a balanced economy, despite my very strong support for nuclear power. That was also the expressed view of many in the nuclear industry itself. All that gives a greater importance to the need for co-ordinated, socio-economic regeneration programmes, not only in West Cumbria but in other parts of the country affected by the NDA. It is therefore vital that the NDA is required to ensure that the impact of its decisions and actions as they affect communities living near the,


    "designated installations, designated sites and designated facilities",

is not left to others to deal with, but is an integrated and required part of its duties.

Regeneration on the scale required will require substantial investment of funding and support from relevant bodies. To encourage innovation, enterprise and commitment, a community needs to have confidence in its future. In the absence of a clear assurance in the Bill as it stands, will that support be provided?

How will the affected communities be assured that their future in terms of economic stability will be properly addressed? Through its organising of contractual arrangements for cleaning up sites and other responsibilities, the NDA has a vital role to play in facilitating regeneration. Economic benefits to be realised from the contractual arrangements should be optimised by the NDA as should those from the re-use of the same cleaned-up sites. Additional to these are its capabilities through the Bill to provide assured funding in the form of grants and loans. Accountability to maximise these opportunities and clarity as to what is to be provided is vital to help to reassure local communities. My noble friend gave the noble Baroness a very positive answer on the question of support for environmental projects. I hope that he can reassure me in the same way on this matter.

Clause 11 of the Bill requires the NDA to prepare a,


    "strategy for carrying out its functions; and . . . from time to time to revise that strategy".

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The strategy would be required to set out how the NDA proposes to exercise its functions under Clause 7 (1)(e). Given that this is a supplemental function, will affected communities be sure that economic support is prioritised by the NDA and adequately resourced? If not, will the Government require that it is?

On behalf of people in West Cumberland, in the absence of this amendment, how would the NDA be made accountable for ensuring that the socio-economic impact of its activities is dealt with in a manner acceptable to the communities affected? For the purposes of enabling the NDA to carry out its functions, the Secretary of State may make grants to the NDA. I understand that it will be the duty of the Secretary of State to establish and maintain an account to be known as the nuclear decommissioning funding account, which would be the source of funding for the NDA to exercise its functions under Clause 7(1)(e) of,


    "giving encouragement and other support to activities benefiting the social or economic life of communities living near designated installations".

What allowance has been made in the estimates produced for the anticipated expenditure of the NDA for the funding of measures to offset the socio-economic impact of its activities? As the Bill is drafted, there is considerable uncertainty about what socio-economic support affected communities can expect. People want to know whether it would be additional to existing funding sources. Who will provide such support and how will it be guaranteed in the long term? This lack of clarity is a matter of some concern for those communities.

That is the case from Cumbria for the proposed amendment. It would require the NDA and the relevant regional development agency—as the Government's agent for delivering economic assistance—to prepare schemes for mitigating socio-economic effects on local communities. Setting these out in detail, underpinned by legislation, will go a considerable way to giving the clarity and guarantees that would be needed.

I welcome the Secretary of State's plans, announced in December 2003, to establish a strategic task force for West Cumbria. This is an important statement that the Government will work with representatives of the community and other relevant bodies, to draw up and implement a vision for the future. While supporting this important initiative, I believe it complements—and does not remove the need for—the proposed amendment. Clearly, it is primarily relevant to West Cumbria as far as we are concerned. As the Bill stands, there is no commitment to provide additional, long-term economic support. Obviously, there cannot be a guarantee that the task force would be operational in the long term. As we are all aware, priorities—and, indeed, administrations—change. Nevertheless, a commitment bound into the legislation would give the necessary reassurances, and be very helpful to all those involved in regeneration.

Without a commitment to a scheme of support as set out in the amendment, or a very clear statement by the department guaranteeing a commitment outside the legislation, how can local communities be assured

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that the required level of economic support will be provided? This brings me to my final question. In the absence of this proposed amendment, could the Minister advise how the financing of necessary socio-economic measures will be guaranteed in future years?

I hope to get a very positive response from Ministers to each of my questions today, as they will be pored over by lots of people in the county of Cumbria.


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