HC Deb 19 November 1992 vol 214 cc306-7W
Mr. Gill

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will determine the appeals by National Power and PowerGen under section 22(5) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for parts of their applications for integrated pollution control authorisation to be excluded from the public register on grounds of commercial confidentiality.

Mr. Howard

I have today dismissed the appeal by PowerGen which related to forecast schedules of emission for 1991. In view of what I conclude to be the significance of the information to the process of application and authorisation and the consequent importance of its being available to the public, and my conclusions on the likelihood and extent of prejudice, I consider that the inclusion of the information in the register would not have been prejudicial to an unreasonable degree to the commercial interests of the appellant.

I and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales have today jointly determined to allow National Power's appeal, which relates to different information. We are satisfied that the information is not directly relevant to determination of the applications for authorisation themselves or to any of the conditions that are likely to be imposed in the authorisations and is not necessary to enable the public to comment effectively on the applications. The information was provided in excess of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution's normal requirements and is not of the type intended by the legislation to be made available to the public. In view of the lack of relevance for the purposes of integrated pollution control, we consider that any prejudice to the company's commercial interests would be unreasonable in the circumstances.

The appeals were the first of their kind under the new system and raised complex issues which required full and careful consideration. Forecast schedules of emission have been supplied by PowerGen for 1992 and are the subject of a separate appeal. Similar information in respect of 1993 will be required to be supplied to HMIP shortly by both PowerGen and National Power. It is to be hoped that any further issue of confidentiality will be resolved as soon as possible, and that determination of all the companies' applications for authorisation will then proceed without undue delay.

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