HL Deb 26 March 1991 vol 527 cc55-6WA
Lord Kimball

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What will be the cost recovery charges for regulation of radioactive substances.

Baroness Blatch

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides for the introduction of charges to cover the costs incurred by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) in regulating the holding of radioactive material, and the accumulation and disposal of radioactive waste, under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960. With the agreement of the Treasury and the consent of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Wales have now made a scheme of fees and charges. to take effect from 1st April 1991. I have placed a copy of the scheme in the Library.

Last July, the Government published a consultation document inviting comments on proposed charging arrangements, with fees and charges based on a division of premises into four bands designed to relate the level of charges to the amount of regulatory effort involved. The department received 17 responses on the proposals, a list of which has been placed in the Library. Copies of individual responses may be obtained through the Library.

Respondents generally endorsed the banded structure, and the scheme now made operates on this basis. Band I and 2 premises—BNFL Sellafield and the 30 or so nuclear power stations and other premises subject to licensing under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965—will be charged individually on the basis of the actual regulatory time and costs incurred. Charges for Band 3 and 4 operators will be on the basis of a series of flat-rate fees, for consideration of applications for authorisation or registration, for the subsequent variation of an authorisation or registration, and annual subsistence charges for holding each authorisation or registration to cover the ongoing costs of inspection, monitoring and oversight.

For Bank 3 operators (for example, major laboratories major industrial users) the application and variation fees will he £800, and the annual subsistence charge £400. For Bank 4 operators (for example, smaller industrial users) the application and variation fees will be £300. The annual subsistence charge will be £75, but this will apply only to those holding larger closed sources. The majority of Bank 4 operators, holding smaller closed sources, will not pay any annual charge, since these sources do not require routine inspection.

HMIP and MAFF will closely monitor their regulatory expenditure, and at the end of the financial year accounts and information on charge income and regulatory costs will be published.