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Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, I fear that I must disagree with the noble Lord. He alluded to the fact that an action for judicial review is under way at the present time. I appreciate that it is his intention to

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attempt to approach this matter in such a way that it would not invalidate the Government's position in that action of judicial review. However, I cannot agree with him that this approach would not carry that risk.

As the noble Lord is aware, we are confident that the directive has been correctly implemented by the Government. As he said, there are those who do not agree that we have done that and have accordingly raised proceedings for judicial review. Against the background of an action for judicial review which has not yet been heard, I do not believe that we can look further at the proposal pending the outcome of that case.

More generally, even if we felt in a position to do that we certainly would not want to approach the issue of the implementation of the directive in a piecemeal manner solely for the gas industry by amending the Gas Act. I recognise that the noble Lord is concerned that the vehicular argument, as he described it, should not be used too regularly, but it seems to me to be appropriate in this context.

I do not believe that I can say much more on the subject so long as legal proceedings are pending before the courts.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, I understand what the Minister says. I am disappointed that he feels that it would so embarrass the Government in those proceedings that he cannot accept the amendment. I think that he is wrong about that. However, he has made the decision of the Government quite clear. When it comes to vehicles, I hope that the Government's vehicle that is currently careering through the courts meets with an untimely end.

Can the Minister indicate when the proceedings are likely to be heard? Is there any indication of that?

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, I am never entirely confident about my understanding of the detail of English legal procedures. I understand that it has not been possible to put the action through the accelerated procedure. It is likely to be heard at the beginning of next year.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, I hoped that the Minister would say that the accelerated procedure would apply, particularly in the light of our discussions here. However, that is not to be the case. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 132:


Page 62, leave out lines 21 to 24 and insert—
("(a) such activities as are mentioned in section 5(1) above; and
(b) activities ancillary to such activities as are so mentioned (including in particular the storage of gas, the provision and reading of meters and the provision of pre-payment facilities).").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 128, I spoke to Amendment No. 132. I beg to move.

18 Oct 1995 : Column 802

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 133:


Page 63, line 30, at end insert—

("Functions with respect to gas measuring equipment etc.

. After section 36A of the 1986 Act there shall be inserted the following section—
"Functions with respect to gas measuring equipment etc.
36B.—(1) If and to the extent that the Secretary of State so directs, the functions of the Secretary of State under section 6 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985 (testing of standards and equipment) so far as relating to—
(a) any article used or proposed to be used as a standard of a unit of measurement in relation to gas;
(b) any measuring equipment, or other metrological equipment, for use in relation to gas; or
(c) any article for use in connection with any such equipment,
shall be exercisable by the Director concurrently with the Secretary of State; and references in that section to the Secretary of State shall be construed accordingly.
(2) Any sums received by the Director by virtue of this section shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund." ").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 134:


Page 64, line 43, at end insert—

("Duty to consider representations and give reasons

. After section 38 of the 1986 Act there shall be inserted the following section—
"Duty to consider representations and give reasons.
38A.—(1) The Secretary of State may by order exercise any one or more of the powers conferred by subsections (2) to (4) below.
(2) This subsection confers power to provide that, before the Director makes a specified decision in relation to a licence holder, the Director—
(a) shall give to the licence holder a written notice stating—
(i) that he is considering making the decision and the reasons why he is considering doing so; and
(ii) that the licence holder may, within a period specified in the notice, make written representations to him or, if the licence holder so requests, make oral representations to a person appointed by him for the purpose; and
(b) shall consider any representations which are duly made and not withdrawn.
(3) This subsection confers power to provide that, where the Director makes a specified decision in relation to a licence holder, the Director shall as soon as practicable give to the licence holder a written notice explaining why it appeared to him to be appropriate to make the decision.
(4) This subsection confers power to provide that, where a specified decision made or proposed to be made in relation to a licence holder will or may materially affect any specified person, any provision made by virtue of subsection (2) or (3) above shall, with any specified modifications, apply in relation to that person.
(5) Nothing in any order made under this section shall require the Director to disclose any information the disclosure of which he considers would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of a particular individual or body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporate.
(6) An order under this section—
(a) may make different provision in relation to different cases or different circumstances; and

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(b) shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
(7) In this section—
'decision' means any decision under this Part, or under a condition of a licence, other than a decision to make a provisional order under section 28 above;
'specified', in relation to an order under this section, means specified in the order or of a description so specified;
and references to a licence holder include references to an applicant for a licence." ").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I spoke to Amendment No. 134 when speaking to Amendment No. 129. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendments Nos. 135 to 137:


Page 65, line 10, leave out ("section 38 above") and insert ("subsection (1) of section 38 above, which is required by or has been obtained in pursuance of a notice under subsection (1A) of that section").
Page 65, line 14, leave out from ("is") to end of line 17 and insert ("required by the other licence holder for purposes connected with the carrying on of relevant activities.
(1B) In subsection (1A) above 'relevant activities', in relation to a licence holder, means—
(a) activities which he is authorised by his licence to carry on; and
(b) in the case of a public gas transporter, such activities as are mentioned in section 7(1)(b) and (c) above." ").
Page 65, line 21, leave out ("(2) and") and insert ("to").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 138:


Page 65, line 22, at end insert—
("Making of false statements etc.
48A. After subsection (1) of section 43 of the 1986 Act (making of false statements etc) there shall be inserted the following subsection—
"(1A) Any person who with intent to deceive—
(a) impersonates an officer of a public gas transporter, gas supplier or gas shipper for the purpose of obtaining entry to any premises; or
(b) for that purpose makes any statement or does any act calculated falsely to suggest that he is an officer, or an authorised officer, of such a transporter, supplier or shipper,
shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale."").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 68, I spoke to Amendment No. 138. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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