HC Deb 31 July 1974 vol 878 cc349-50W
Mr. Robin F. Cook

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what progress has been made in introducing the unified arrangements for the control of major hazards referred to in his statement of 27th June.

Mr. Foot

With the agreement of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, the Explosives Inspectorate will be transferred to the Department of Employment next month. I will then assume responsibility for all the functions currently discharged by my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Scotland under the Explosives Acts 1875 and 1923, the Petroleum (Regulation) Acts 1928 and 1936, the Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922, the Hydrogen Cyanide (Fumigation) Act 1937 and Sections 4 and 7 of the Fireworks Act 1951, except for functions relating to the security of explosives and the controls over fireworks contained in Sections 30–32 and 80 of the Explosives Act 1875. The work concerned will fall to the Health and Safety Commission when it is set up.

Major hazards cover a much broader field than explosives. They also include toxic, flammable, and other substances. I am therefore setting up a Major Hazards Co-ordinating Unit to develop policy on the control of all installations presenting large scale hazards to public safety and to co-ordinate the work of other Government Departments and local authorities in this field. The unit will also service the expert committee on major hazards to which I referred in my statement of 27th June.