Fortieth Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Final Version of the Regulatory Action Policy to be issued by the Information Commissioner

11.This Regulatory Action Policy sets out how the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) proposes to use its investigatory and enforcement powers under the Data Protection Act 2018 (“the DPA”). The Policy has been laid before Parliament by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on behalf of the ICO as required by section 160 of the DPA and replaces previous guidance. According to DCMS, the Policy sets out a risk-based approach to taking regulatory action against organisations and individuals that have breached the law in relation to data protection and freedom of information. It includes guidance on how the ICO proposes to use tools such as information notices, assessment notices, enforcement notices and penalty notices. It also sets out how the ICO intends to deal with legally privileged communications which it obtains or has access to in the course of carrying out its functions, and how it will comply with restrictions and prohibitions in relation to such communications.

Framework Agreement on the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (Cm 9672)

12.The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a UN treaty organisation sponsored by India which aims to mobilise $1,000 billion of private finance to increase the use of solar energy to combat the effects of climate change. It aims to support the installation of 1,000 Giga watts of solar power (roughly 15 times the UK’s electricity supply) which should reduce global C02 emissions from fossil fuels by approximately three Giga tonnes per year or roughly 10%. Although ISA membership is only open to countries located between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, the UK qualifies due to the location of certain of its Overseas Territories, who have agreed to UK membership of ISA.6

13.ISA is the first significant climate initiative to be promoted by a developing country. The Department for International Development states that it is important for the UK to support this new initiative, which puts the emphasis on addressing the shared global problem of climate change collectively. India’s Prime Minister Modi has made ISA his flagship international initiative and UK support for ISA is important in the evolution of the UK’s relationship with India.

Marine Licensing (Application Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/850)

14.These Regulations amend the fee structure and fee rates for marine licence applications made under Part 4 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the system of marine licences seeks to facilitate the sustainable use of the marine environment and ensure that activities such as construction or dredging are permitted only after any potential environmental, economic or social impact has been assessed. Defra says that the current licensing fees regime has been in place since 2014 and that the Regulations are intended to achieve full cost recovery for the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and greater efficiency in the administration process. During a six-week public consultation on the proposed changes, stakeholders supported proposals for a simplification of some of the fees, while strongly opposing a planned 30% increase in the hourly fee rate for certain marine licence applications and suggesting a cap for the licence fees for the most expensive or complex projects. Defra has not taken up the suggestion of a cap and says that it will proceed with the 30% fee increase on the basis that the methodology used to calculate the increase is in line with government guidance and has been assured by HM Treasury. Defra expects the additional costs to licence applicants as a result of the changes to be less than £700,000 per year over a ten-year period. We sought additional information from the Department about the timing of the consultation exercise and its position on the suggested cap. We are content with Defra’s response and are publishing it at Annex 1.

6 Anguilla, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Virgin Islands.

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