HC Deb 17 June 1992 vol 209 cc563-4W
35. Mr. David Shaw

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the work of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution; and if he will arrange for hon. Members who wish to do so to visit the inspectorate.

Mr. Maclean

Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution has a key role in protecting the environment by enforcing the industrial pollution control regulations. The system has been strengthened by the introduction of integrated pollution contol under the Environmental protection act 1990, and the inspectorate's manpower complement has been increased significantly, from 199 at the time of its setting up in 1987 to 377 today.

Where hon. Members are seeking factual information on particular cases dealt with by the inspectorate, I am happy to arrange for those hon. Members to meet the inspectorate.

Mr. Steen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what powers of enforcement Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution has with regard to integrated pollution control; and what considerations are taken into account in determining the charges levied on industry for administering the inspectorate of pollution;

(2) how many staff are currently employed by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution; what are the current operating costs of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution; and what the figures were for the previous two years.

Mr. Howard

The enforcement powers of inspectors of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution—HMIP—in relation to integrated pollution control are contained in part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. They include powers to revoke an authorisation to carry on a process; and to serve an enforcement notice to secure necessary improvements in the operation to a process, to serve a prohibition notice in relation to a process where there is considered to be an imminent risk of serious pollution.

It is an offence to operate a prescribed process without an authorisation or in contravention with the conditions within an authorisation, and to fail to comply with an enforcement or prohibition notice.

HMIP's fees and charges for pollution control are set so as to recover the inspectorate's costs relating to the carrying out of integrated pollution control and regulation of premises under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960, as required by the relevant legislative provisions—section 8 of the Environmental Protection Act and section 11A of the Radioactive Substances Act.

There are currently 308 staff in post in HMIP. The figures for the previous two years were:

  • 1 April 1990 172
  • 1 April 1991 226.5
HMIP's authorised complement for 1992–93 has been increased to 377.5. Recruitment of additional staff is in progress.

In 1991–92, the operating cost of the inspectorate, on a full economic cost basis, was £20.5 million. For 1992–93, the forecast cost is £27.5 million, of which some £12.3 million relates to integrated pollution control and Radioactive Substances Act regulation and is recoverable through fees and charges. The increased total cost for 1992–93 is mainly due to the increase in staff in post and complement. Equivalent cost information for 1990–91 is not available.

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