Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eleventh Report


APPENDIX 3

Memorandum from the Department of Trade and Industry

RADIATION (EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION) REGULATIONS 2001 (S.I. 2001/2975)

1.The Joint Committee considered the above instrument at its meeting on 29 October and requested a memorandum on the following points:

(1)  Verify the reference in regulation 3(1), to regulation 17.

2.Regulation 3(1) (which sets out the scope of the Regulations) is made subject to regulation 17 in order that the scope of regulation 17 is not limited to work with ionising radiation but extends to the wider concept of radiation emergency.

3.Regulations 4 to 16, 18 and 20 apply to "work with ionising radiation" (as defined in regulation 2(1)) involving having on any premises, or transporting, any radioactive substances in excess of the appropriate quantities or masses in Schedules 2, 3 or 4 to the Regulations. Regulation 17 places duties on local authorities to prepare and keep up to date arrangements to supply information to the public in the event of a "radiation emergency" (again as defined). The origin of the radiation emergency need not be from work with ionising radiation as covered by regulations 4 to 16, 18 and 20. Such an emergency could arise from, for example, an event overseas.

(2)  Verify the reference in regulation 19(1), to regulation 17 and 21.

4.Regulations 17 and (in so far as it provides, via Schedule 11, for the amendment of provisions of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR 99)) 21 are made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 and not the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA). Regulation 19 applies powers and other provisions of HSWA to enable regulation 17 and these aspects of IRR 99 to be enforced as if they were made under HSWA.

(3)  Explain the purpose and effect of regulation 18(3) and in particular verify the reference to regulation 14.

5.The Regulations implement Title IX, Section 1 of Council Directive 96/29/Euratom. Euratom does not apply to military activities. However, the making of the Regulations (with the exception of regulations 17 and, as regards IRR 99, 21) under HSWA makes it possible for the requirements of the Regulations to apply to military activities (subject to regulation 18) without compromising the principle that the Directive does not apply to military activities.

6.The discretionary exclusion of regulation 14 (arrangements for emergency exposures) has been provided for in regulation 18(3) on grounds of policy.

(4)  Explain the purpose and effect of regulation 18(3) and in particular explain the meaning of the phrase "this regulation would in the opinion of the Secretary of State for Defence be against the interests of national security".

7.By way of background, the Committee may find it helpful to know that regulation 40(9) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1985 (IRR 85) (now revoked) used the phrase "this regulation would in the opinion of the Secretary of State be against the interests of national security" and identified a provision which could be against the interests of national security. In the same way this phrase is used in regulation 18(3) of the Regulations and identifies a provision (regulation 14) which could be against the interests of national security.

8.The reference to the interests of national security is explained by the fact that, as with regulation 40(9) of IRR 85, regulation 18(3) would be applied to personnel serving in an operational context, for example crews of nuclear powered war ships.

(5)  Explain the purpose and effect of regulation 18(3) and in particular explain how the person on whom the requirements in question are imposed is to know whether, and to what extent, the Secretary of State is of that opinion.

9.The circumstances which, and classes of personnel who, would be covered by any disapplication of regulation 14, pursuant to the power in regulation 18(3), will be set out in MoD internal documentation to which those personnel have access. It would not be practicable for the MoD to identify and inform individual personnel on a case by case basis since crews on mobile premises (such as nuclear powered war ships) change on a regular basis.

2 November 2001

Further Memorandum from the Department of Trade and Industry

RADIATION (EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION) REGULATIONS 2001 (S.I. 2001/2975)

1.The Joint Committee considered the above instrument at its meeting on 12 November and requested a further memorandum concerning regulation 18(3).

2.In response to the Committee's question, the Secretary of State for Defence would apply the power provided in regulation 18(3) only in relation to MoD personnel serving in an operational context, that is certain members of Her Majesty's forces. The Department accepts that the drafting of regulation 18(3) goes wider than this policy intention and will make an appropriate amendment at the earliest available opportunity.

16 November 2001


 
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