Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Twenty-Fourth Report


ANNEX 7

FIREWORKS BILL

LETTER FROM LORD SAINSBURY OF TURVILLE, PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY AT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY, TO THE CHAIRMAN

I write with regard to the Committee's report published on 10 July on the Fireworks Bill.

I am pleased that the Committee regard the provisions of the bill as generally acceptable. But I have also noted the concerns expressed in paragraph 18 and the consequent assurances sought. These were as follows:

·  that a training requirement for public displays should be imposed only where unusually dangerous fireworks are involved;

·  that there should be a mechanism whereby the Secretary of State may approve the level of fees payable under clause 10 by those attending fireworks training courses and by those licensed to provide training.

In light of the above, I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the Committee - and also other noble members of the House who share your concerns. With regard to the first concern, I can tell you that it is indeed the intention that clause 10 of the bill would only apply to those operating fireworks displays where "unusually dangerous" fireworks are used. In our view, this clause would particularly apply to operators that use category 4 fireworks - which under the British Standard classification (BS7114) are not suitable for sale to the general public. This is enshrined in the Fireworks (Safety) Regulations of 1997 (regulation 4(2)(b) as read with regulation 5). It should also be noted that the majority of operators use fireworks in this category.

Regarding the second concern, it is general Government policy that any service provided by Government or delegated body may charge only on a cost recovery basis - and not seek a surplus above and beyond such level. Such policy would be the guarantor that fees and charges would be set at fair and proportionate levels. Notwithstanding this policy, the Government, by way of addressing the Committee's concern directly, will ensure that any regulations made under clause 10(4) (training courses) setting out the fees for training courses will include a mechanism whereby the Secretary of State will be able to approve the level of fees.

I hope that this addresses the concerns of the Committee and of other noble members of the House.

16 July 2003


 
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