§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many officials for whom he has responsibility currently have the power to enter and search premises, subject to statutory conditions; and, in each case, if he will indicate the statutory authority under which power is exercised.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
Thirty two officials of my Department currently have powers to enter premises for purposes which, in some circumstances, might be regarded as searching them. The purposes are to ensure the integrity and safety of mainly oil and gas installations and equipment and that discharges from them are environmentally acceptable. These powers derive principally from one or more of the following Acts and relevant Regulations made under them:
- Pipe-lines Act 1962
- Mineral Workings (Offshore Installations) Act 1971
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975
The 667 members of the Atomic Energy Authority constabulary have power to enter and search premises within 15 miles of any of the authority's establishments and of any other specified body corporate as defined in Schedule 1 to the Nuclear Installations Act 1965. The power is exercisable outside the premises of the bodies concerned only in respect of their property and, in the absence of an occupier's consent, only when a search warrant is issued by a magistrate. The relevant statutory authority is contained in the Atomic Energy Authority Acts 1954 ans 1971 and the Atomic Energy Authority (Special Constables) Act 1976, in conjunction with other Acts defining police powers.