§ Mr. Wiggin
asked the Prime Minister what steps she proposes to take to remove the present overlap in gas safety responsibilities between the Secretary of State for Energy and the Secretary of State for Employment.168W
§ The Prime Minister
It is intended that, as from 1 February 1984, the gas safety responsibilities which are now exercised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy should be transferred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment. Broadly, these responsibilities involve the power to make gas safety regulations under section 31 of the Gas Act 1972 and the associated powers on penalties and prosecutions under sections 42 and 43; and the enforcement of the Gas Safety Regulations 1972 and the Gas Safety (Rights of Entry) Regulations 1983. The Secretary of State for Employment will also become responsible for making gas appliance safety orders under the Energy Conservation Act 1981 and for associated questions relating to gas applicance safety, including European Community activities in this area.
I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment intends to make an agency agreement with the Health and Safety Commission to carry out most of these functions on his behalf. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy proposes to make a separate agreement with the Health and Safety Commission to cover the issue of consents under section 29 of the Gas Act 1972, since currently safety is the only consideration.