§ Mr. Noble
The question of harmonising oil pipeline legislation in Western Europe has arisen mainly as a result of the development of large international lines, and has not directly concerned the United Kingdom. My officials have however followed and, where appropriate, contributed to the discussions in European international organisations.
As to technical and safety requirements, the Government's view is that these are best ensured by a code of practice to which the industry subscribes, backed as in the Pipe-lines Act 1962 by machinery for enforcement if necessary. But the Government recognise that in the Western European context it may ultimately be desirable to accept general regulations: this could be done without difficulty.
§ Mr. Skeet
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the policy of the Government on the need to harmonise gas pipeline legislation on a scale to cover the major industrial states of Western Europe to ensure uniformity of approach pursuant to the recommendations of the European Commission for Europe Gas Committee at Geneva.
§ Mr. Ridley
There is no United Kingdom legislation dealing specifically with gas pipelines. These are laid under the Gas Acts 1948 and 1965 to strict specifications based on widely accepted codes of practice. The United Kingdom play an active part in preparing recommendations made by the Economic Commission for Europe Gas Committee to help member states who contemplate entering into international agreements. The recommendations have no legal force.
§ Mr. Ridley
It is Government policy to encourage harmonisation of this kind. The United Kingdom will continue to support the work being done in this field by international organisations such as the Economic Commission for Europe and the International Gas Union.