Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Eighteenth Report


RAILWAYS AND TRANSPORT SAFETY BILL

INTRODUCTION

16.  This bill, in seven Parts, deals with a number of different subjects including -

  • Investigation of Railway Accidents (Part 1)
  • Office of Rail Regulation (Part 2)
  • British Transport Police (Part 3)
  • Alcohol and Drugs - Shipping and Aviation (Parts 4 and 5).

In particular, Part 1 implements some of the recommendations of the second part of the Report of the inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove rail crash.

17.  With some exceptions (listed in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the Explanatory Notes to the bill) this bill extends to the whole of the UK.

THE DELEGATED POWERS

18.   The delegated powers are identified in the memorandum to the Committee from the Department for Transport (and there is also a power at clause 7(1)(c)). The memorandum, which is printed in Annex 2 to this Report, includes a table listing the provisions containing the powers and the relevant Parliamentary procedures.

19.  The delegated powers in the bill include a number of Henry VIII powers (at clauses 1(2), 72(4), 80(2), 82(2), 92(4), 93(8) and 95(2), paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 4 and paragraph 2(d) and (o) of Schedule 6). All the Henry VIII powers, save that in paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 4, are subject to affirmative procedure.

20.  In this Report we draw to the attention of the House two delegated powers: the Henry VIII power in paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 4 and a power under clause 104.

Paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 4

21.  Paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 4 prescribes the membership of the British Transport Police Authority as an odd number between 11 and 17 (inclusive). Paragraph 1(2) allows the Secretary of State by order to substitute a different number for the 11 or 17. The power is unusual in that it is a Henry VIII power subject to no Parliamentary procedure other than laying. The Committee is aware that this provision repeats for the Authority the position for police authorities under section 4(2) of the Police Act 1996. We, none the less, take the view that it is inappropriate for power to be exercised under paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 4 without some level of parliamentary scrutiny. We therefore recommend that the negative procedure should apply in this case.

Clause 104

22.  Clause 104 enables regulations (subject to the negative procedure) to require those who provide railway services to pay a railway safety levy. As this is a significant new charge, and as the proposals for the charge are not yet fully developed (see paragraph 124 of the Department's memorandum), we recommend that the first exercise of this power should be subject to affirmative procedure so as to require an opportunity for debate on, and parliamentary approval of, the finalised scheme as brought into operation. The negative procedure provided for in the bill should apply thereafter.

CONCLUSION

23.  Save for the recommendations in paragraphs 21 and 22 above, there is nothing in the delegated powers in the bill to which the Committee wishes to draw the attention of the House.


 
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