HL Deb 28 March 1994 vol 553 cc44-5WA
Lord Mancroft

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What will be the charging schemes for Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution for 1994–95.

The Earl of Arran

Charges to cover the costs of regulating processes under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) and premises subject to Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93) regulation were introduced in 1991 under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Act requires Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) to balance costs and income, taking one financial year with another.

With the agreement of the Treasury, and following consultation with industry and other bodies, my right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales have now made revised IPC and RSA93 charging schemes, specifying the revised scales of fees and charges which will take effect from 1 April 1994. Copies of the revised schemes have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The charges are based on the cost of HMIP's regulatory activities. For 1994–95, the rate per inspector day will be £993, an increase of 2.9 per cent. over the rate for 1993–94.

For IPC, the scheme comprises an application fee to cover the assessment of the operator's proposals and preparation of the authorisation; a variation fee to cover the costs of assessment of any proposals for substantial variation to a process; and an annual subsistence charge for the holders of authorisations, to cover the costs of inspection and oversight of the plant.

The application fee for 1994–95 is £2,570 per component for processes which have previously been subject to air pollution control and £3,860 per component for processes coming under regulation by HMIP for the first time. The variation fee is £1,290 per component.

The annual subsistence charge is £1,730 per component. This includes a charge of £150 to recoup the under-recovery of costs, including setting up costs, in earlier years. In addition, some operators will pay a charge for the monitoring of their processes by contractors engaged by HMIP; the amount of the monitoring charge will directly reflect the cost of this work to HMIP.

Under the RSA93 charging scheme, nuclear licensed premises are billed individually on the basis of regulatory time spent and costs incurred at each site, in accordance with the inspector day rate.

Non-nuclear premises are charged on the basis of flat-rate fees on a similar basis to the IPC scheme, covering applications, substantial variations and subsistence. For premises authorised to accumulate and dispose of radioactive waste ("Band 3 premises"—for example, research establishments and major universities) the application and variation fee will be £1,425 and the subsistence charge £995. For those premises authorised to accumulate and dispose of small quantities of substances, or substances with a lesser risk, a lower subsistence charge of £85 will be levied. For premises registered to keep and use radioactive material ("Band 4 premises"—for example, industrial users of radioactive sources) the application and variation fee will be £515. The subsistence fee for Band 4 premises will be £85, but the majority of such premises will be exempt from this because they handle small sources and do not require routine inspection.

For 1991–92, the first year of operation of the charging schemes, charges were initially set too low. To ensure equity with those operators applying for authorisations and registrations in later years when more realistic charges have been set, holders of authorisations and registrations arising from applications in 1991–92 pay a supplementary subsistence charge. This charge will continue in 1994-95 at the same rate as in 1992–93 and 1993–94: under IPC, £610 per component for applications charge at the full rate, £410 per component for those charged at the reduced rate; under RSA93, £210 and £80 for Band 3 and Band 4 premises respectively.

Copies of the schemes will shortly be sent to relevant operators and to other interested bodies.