|Tue 28th November 2017||
Space Industry Bill [HL]
3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
|7 interactions (343 words)|
|Tue 14th November 2017||
Space Industry Bill [HL]
Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords
|47 interactions (2,954 words)|
|Mon 23rd October 2017||
Space Industry Bill [HL]
Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
|21 interactions (2,474 words)|
|Mon 16th October 2017||
Space Industry Bill [HL]
Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
|39 interactions (3,662 words)|
|Wed 12th July 2017||
Space Industry Bill [HL]
2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
|9 interactions (2,347 words)|
My Lords, this amendment is the result of unfinished business at the end of Report. Basically, there has been an argument throughout this Bill, and there will be in other Bills that come before us, about the worrying nature of the use of secondary legislation that is vaguely promised and vaguely described in primary legislation. In this respect, Clause 67(1), which is vaguely written, refers back to Clause 1(1) which again makes vague commitments. The amendment merely suggests that there should be crisper and more tightly drawn references which avoid blank cheques and abuse of secondary legislation.
I do not intend to press this to a vote this afternoon, but to leave it as a bit of business still to be considered. The other place will need to look at it, because it should be as worrying to them as it is to this House.
I put on record my appreciation for the removal from the Bill of the Henry VIII clause, and I hope that will be a guide for other Bills that are coming before us. I am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, who is not in his place, who has made it quite clear that Henry VIII clauses were to be avoided, and that this example of putting in Henry VIII clauses and vague “blank cheque” secondary legislation was a problem that needed to be addressed. That is not to deny the fact that we also need to be able to future-proof Bills as best we can, particularly a Bill such as this. It is a matter of getting the balance right between future-proofing and ring-fencing them in terms of the powers that we write in.
As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, emphasised in his lecture at King’s College in 2016:
“This is not an attack on delegated legislation”.
However, in that lecture he quoted one of his distinguished predecessors as Lord Chief Justice—Lord Hewart—who, in 1929, warned against,
“the increase of bureaucratic, departmental authority over the citizen”.
The moving of power from Parliament to the Executive is one of the ironies of the Brexit process.
We believe that if we do not heed the warnings of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, and others, we face a constitutional car crash. At the very least, future-proofing should be tightly drawn. The super-affirmative process should be used where necessary, as should sunset clauses. I believe that we need to look at the case for making certain types of secondary legislation amendable by both Houses. That is the thinking behind this amendment—a billet-doux to send down the Corridor to the other place. I beg to move.
My Lords, we debated this issue extensively in Committee and on Report, and I regret that I have been unable to convince noble Lords of the necessity of this provision as drafted.
The wording of the clause—which is why we are keen to include it rather than the amendment put forward by the noble Lord, Lord McNally—is consistent with that contained in Section 60(2) of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the latter being a power to do anything,
“generally for regulating air navigation”.
A similar power arises under Section 11(1) of the Outer Space Act 1986 to enable the making of regulations generally for carrying that Act into effect. That is why we put forward the wording that we did in the Bill.
As noble Lords are well aware, there are a number of other regulation-making powers in the Bill, notably around security and safety. However, we need to ensure that we can regulate those wider matters relating to spaceflight and associated activities carried out in the UK that are not covered by the other powers. For example, this may include implementation of our international obligations relating to spaceflight arising from bilateral or multilateral treaties. We know from our experience in other sectors, such as aviation, that despite our best efforts there needs to be the flexibility to deal with any unexpected circumstances. The Government therefore remain convinced that this provision, as currently drafted, is needed to ensure that all aspects of the Bill can be fully implemented effectively.
Break in Debate
My Lords, I thank all those involved for their interest in, engagement with and scrutiny of the Bill over the past few months. The UK space industry is a British success story—a story of invention, innovation and global ambition. The Bill will take us further, enabling new satellite launch services and low-gravity spaceflight from UK spaceports, and supporting our industrial strategy to deliver a stronger economy that works for everyone.
I thank my predecessor, my noble friend Lord Callanan, who took the Bill through its early stages, and I thank the noble Lords, Lord Rosser, Lord Tunnicliffe, Lord McNally, and Lord Fox, and the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, who provided rigorous scrutiny throughout this process. I am grateful for the contributions of my noble friend Lord Moynihan; I, for one, will miss the strong advocacy for a certain location in Scotland. Finally, I thank policy officials and lawyers from the UK Space Agency, the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for their work on the Bill.
It has been a privilege to debate the Bill with noble Lords, whose knowledge and expertise I have found incredibly helpful. We have taken on many of the recommendations of the DPRRC and the Constitution Committee, and I thank them for their work. The constructive engagement, conversations and debates we have had together have led to significant improvements to the Bill. This is an example of this House at its best, where proper scrutiny and challenge can—put simply—lead to a better Bill. Today, therefore, we stand one step closer to a new commercial space age, and I beg to move.
My Lords, I join the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, in thanking both the noble Baroness, Lady Sugg, and the noble Lord, Lord Callanan. Although I teased him at the time that he was not missed, it is clear that there was a smooth and orderly passing of the ball to the noble Baroness, Lady Sugg, who has carried out her role with great skill and charm and has made herself and officials available, for which we are grateful. Our Bill team consisted of Sarah Pughe, who has been a great help to me, and my noble friends Lady Randerson and Lord Fox. I have enjoyed working with the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, who brings his eye for detail to these matters, and with the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, who brought his experiences as an ex-pilot. I will remember two contributions by the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe. He reminded us that a rocket is a controlled explosion, which puts some of the health and safety aspects into perspective. He also said that the first civil aviation Act in 1920 completely underestimated the explosion of air travel that was about to come. Therefore, those who write off this Bill as a bit of futurology may be surprised at how soon some of this comes to pass.
I take pride that the problem of space rubbish has been put firmly in the Bill. It is now part of the Liberal Democrat lexicon, along with clean pavements and other matters. It was a delight to have contributions from the noble Lord, Lord Willetts, who, as a Minister, made such a contribution to giving the space industry of which we are so proud its impetus. We all look forward to the opening of the Moynihan International Spaceport in Scotland, which I am sure will be a festive occasion.
One has to say and lead the worry that Brexit casts a long shadow over this industry. It is important that, if Brexit were to go ahead, the industry be well protected to make progress.
Again I thank the Minister and her team for making this Bill a good example of the House of Lords at work.
My Lords, I declared an interest at the beginning of Committee and feel that that it is appropriate to do so again. I live in sight of Prestwick Airport, which has an active interest in the Bill and is an ideal site for the licensing of the first UK spaceport. I notice that my noble friend Lord Strathclyde, who was in his seat at the beginning of this debate, and my noble friend Lord Lang, who remains in his seat, have been very active supporters of the Ayrshire growth strategy and the interests of the airport in being so licensed.
I will focus briefly on paragraph (3) of the amendment: the importance of the Secretary of State laying,
“a report of the assessment before Parliament within one year of this Act passing, and once in each of the five calendar years following”.
Looking at the five items listed under new Clause 1(2). I think that the noble Lord, Lord McNally, would agree that the wider importance of collaboration not just with Europe but internationally is critical to ensure the economic success of the industry. I believe that a spaceport in the UK is a key development to unlock the potential for economic growth related to the space industry for the whole of the UK. As the first spaceport in Europe, it could be the catalyst for a whole new launch industry, and everything that flows from that. We will need to co-operate with Europe on all these areas if we are to achieve that objective. Grants of some £10 million here or there are frankly nothing compared with the huge development costs associated with this industry. I hope that the Government will be serious about getting involved.
At a time when my noble friend the Minister is looking to ensure economic growth during the Brexit period, and when significant infrastructure projects are being funded, surely a significant commitment to the spaceport is a sensible investment, and is small in overall terms. But it would be a major catalyst to ensure that this project happens, as would the ongoing relationship with Europe. I would be grateful if my noble friend could comment on this and recognise the vital importance of a significant, wide opportunity to bring together the vested interests in the economic success of this project—which, in addition to Europe, I would add are: a clear understanding of the range of trade and technical issues with the United States and the acquisition of funding required to deliver the spaceport and spaceflight operations. With that in mind, I hope that the Minister is looking at special-purpose vehicles rather than the straightforward grant process in order for operators to undertake activities and operations from the UK—in other words, to have a wide range of partners, including the Government and the Scottish Government but also private sector operations and organisations. Financial guarantees and an insurance cap will be absolutely essential.
I close by saying that we need a strong level of government support and a strong level of co-operation with Europe to achieve these objectives. This will be a highly competitive global market. I fear that we may have a hollow Bill, which might be a great exemplar of regulatory, legal and structural support—but if we do not address the issue I have raised, it will remain hollow. We as a country should not allow ourselves to miss this opportunity. If we do, we will be left with an Act of Parliament promoting an industry that never takes off.
My Lords, the UK space industry is a global success story. I am grateful for the productive debate we had in Committee, which will ensure the Bill puts this country at the forefront of new space services.
The Government continue to invest in the success of the UK space sector—for example, we recently invested more than £100 million in new satellite test facilities at Harwell, and manufacture and test facilities for rocket engines at Westcott in Buckinghamshire. As we discussed, another measure of our support to the UK space sector will be through our negotiations with the EU on future collaboration on the EU space programmes. The UK has played a major part in developing the main EU space programmes, Galileo and Copernicus, which have supported the rapid growth of the UK space sector and contributed directly to our prosperity and security. We are working to ensure we get the best deal with the EU to support strong growth in the sector. Last month, the Government published a science and innovation discussion paper and an external security discussion paper. Both set out the Government’s wish to discuss options for future arrangements in the EU space programmes.
My noble friend Lord Moynihan asked about continued support for the space industry. The European Space Agency programmes will continue to play an important role in delivering the UK national space objectives and, in December last year, the UK negotiated an investment of more than €1.4 billion over the next five years in ESA space initiatives. This sustained investment, alongside our industrial strategy, will ensure that we build on the strengths of the UK’s growing space industry. The UK’s membership of the European Space Agency will not be affected by the UK leaving the EU.
The Government hold a mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis of the impact of leaving the EU on sectors of the UK economy, including the UK’s space industry. This is contained in a range of documents developed at different times since the referendum. The analysis in this area is constantly evolving and being updated based on our regular discussions with industry and our negotiations with the EU. As the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU said in his Written Statement on 7 November, the intention is to provide this information to the Exiting the EU Select Committee as soon as possible, and within three weeks of the date of that Statement.
My noble friend Lord Callanan has confirmed to the House that we anticipate sharing the same information on the same basis with the Lords EU Committee as with the House of Commons Select Committee, subject to our being able to agree the terms of that disclosure. Given that this evidence will be published in the coming weeks, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw Amendment 1.
Break in Debate
2: Clause 2, page 2, line 25, at end insert—
“( ) the effect on the environment and on local communities of activities connected with the operation of spaceflight activities or the operation of a spaceport as licensed under this Act;”
My Lords, I was pleased to be able to add my name to Amendment 2. Before I speak to it, I welcome the Government’s Amendment 9, because it adds to Schedule 1 both noise and emissions as factors that should be taken into account when granting a licence. That is a step forward. However, it is still a narrow interpretation of the problems that I anticipate local communities and the slightly wider area might encounter. If these spaceports are a success—across the House we very much hope that they will be—they will have an impact on local communities and on the environment that those communities currently enjoy. These are by definition remote and peaceful places at this moment, and they will be significantly less remote and less peaceful after the development of a spaceport.
Other potential issues include the following. First, there is the issue of visual amenity in what could well be beautiful areas. These will be large installations and will not easily blend into the landscape. Secondly, there is the impact on local roads. I do not know the situation in Scotland, but I know that the roads in Wales are hardly even small motorways in that area. We are talking about moving large, wide loads across the country and along roads, often moving them slowly on to the site, and that will be disruptive. I remember how the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, in a memorable phrase, described a rocket as a controlled explosion. There is also potentially air pollution, as well as noise pollution.
Finally, I point to the basics of many of the issues and problems arising from planning applications for large or even small developments. Clearing a site to establish a spaceport could well impact on existing wildlife, and the ongoing use of the spaceport could, for example, disturb nesting birds.
I do not want to be a doom-monger but we need to be realistic. The enthusiasm of the Welsh and Scottish Governments may not be shared by local people. Any of us here who have been local councillors— I was a councillor for 17 years, albeit a long time ago—know that what I have outlined are routine planning issues that, appropriately, get in the way of wholesale development that does not take into consideration the amenities of local people and the environment beyond. Spaceports should not be exempt from the rules, and that needs to be flagged in this Bill.
My Lords, I recognise noble Lords’ concerns that there are currently no specific provisions in the Bill regarding the environmental impacts of spaceports and spaceflight activities on local communities, particularly in relation to noise and emissions. However, Clause 2 requires the regulator to take into account the environmental objectives set by the Government. I know that some noble Lords have raised concerns that future objectives cannot be predicted—indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, raised that again today—but the inclusion of that requirement was intended to promote environmental protection, as the regulator will have to take account of existing guidance, such as Defra’s air quality plan.
As noble Lords will be aware, there already exists a comprehensive body of environmental and planning legislation that spaceports and spaceflight operators will need to comply with independently of the requirements under the Bill. For example, an environmental impact assessment may be required for airport-related development under Schedule 2 to the environmental impact assessment regulations where it is,
“likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location”.
In such cases, the local planning authority will be obliged to scrutinise the environmental impact, taking into account the concerns of local communities such as the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, has just raised. An environmental assessment will be required as part of any airspace changes.
However, there might be circumstances where a particular activity could be carried out without the need for an environmental impact assessment under planning and airspace rules. The purpose of Amendment 9 is to put on the face of the Bill a licence condition that the regulator could impose—for example, where an environmental impact or other assessment has not already been undertaken.
I appreciate that this amendment does not impose a mandatory requirement for the spaceport or spaceflight operator to make an environmental assessment; nor does it require the regulator to take into account environmental and local impacts, as Amendment 2 seeks to do. However, it makes very clear the Government’s intention that some form of assessment of noise and emissions should take place, and it does this without creating requirements in the Bill that may duplicate existing requirements to carry out environmental assessments under other enactments.
I hope that I have reassured noble Lords of the Government’s intention of ensuring that environmental impacts are assessed, either as part of the planning process or as a condition of a licence under the Bill. However, I am aware that your Lordships do not think that this goes far enough, as they have made clear today—the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, made a very fair point about roads and road access. Therefore, I assure the House that the Government are considering introducing in the other place a further amendment that will require spaceport and spaceflight applicants to submit a noise and emissions assessment, and that regulators take this into account when deciding the licence application. I therefore ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.
The amendment we are considering taking forward is requiring spaceports and applicants to carry out the environmental assessment, which will of course take into account the effect on the local community, and requiring regulators to take that into account.
Amendment 2 withdrawn.
Break in Debate
My Lords, Clause 2 sets out the overarching duties of the regulator in carrying out its functions under the Bill. Subsection (1) establishes the duty of securing public safety as the regulator’s priority, while subsection (2) lists the other factors that the regulator must take into account while carrying out its functions. There is no hierarchy in the matters listed in subsection (2).
Amendments 3 and 8 to subsection (2) and Schedule 1 are in response to the helpful debate on space debris on the first day of Committee. In relation to an amendment tabled to Clause 12, the noble Lord, Lord McNally, highlighted the very real risks and challenges posed by space debris. The noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, recognised the work of the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee—the IADC—of which the UK is a member, which has issued guidelines in this area. My noble friend Lord Willetts acknowledged the UK’s expertise in this area.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the points made by my noble friend Lord Callanan during this debate. The UK Space Agency already considers matters relating to space debris and the guidelines issued by the IADC, and is an active member in carrying out its regulatory function under the Outer Space Act 1986. Through the IADC, the UK Government remain fully committed to implementing and influencing best practice to protect the space environment. Furthermore, the Bill enables regulators to include conditions within licences that relate to the disposal of a satellite at the end of its operational life and compliance with debris mitigation guidelines.
In the light of the Government’s commitment to the IADC and following further reflection on the points raised in Committee, we are tabling this amendment, which would place a requirement in the Bill for a regulator to consider space debris mitigation guidelines when exercising its functions. These guidelines are issued by an international organisation to which the UK is represented. This wording will cover international bodies, including the IADC, and the International Organisation for Standardization’s orbital debris co-ordination working group, as mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, in Committee. I beg to move Amendment 3.
My Lords, I welcome the amendments. They are a first step in the right direction. Although I may have rather light-heartedly introduced the issue at the last stage, we have only to look at what we have done to the sea and to Everest to see how easily important places can be polluted. For that reason, it is important that this is on the agenda.
As was indicated in our last debate, work is being done about this problem by British technology companies. Although it may be the less glamorous end of space travel, clearing up space debris may well be another cutting-edge area that we can exploit as this expands.
The IADC is a representative body. Its membership includes all the big players—Russia, the United States, China, ourselves, the European Space Agency, India, Italy, France, Japan, Ukraine. It is the right body to take these matters forward and the amendment is welcome.
Break in Debate
My Lords, Clause 14 enables a licensee to transfer their licence to another party, provided the regulator has given written consent. The provision enables a new body or company to take over the licence without starting a licence application completely afresh. In Committee the noble Lords, Lord Rosser and Lord Tunnicliffe, tabled an amendment seeking to clarify that the eligibility provisions in Clause 8(3) would also apply to the person to whom a licence is being transferred under Clause 14.
It is helpful to briefly recap what Clause 8 requires before a licence can be granted. Under subsection (2), the regulator must be satisfied that granting a licence will not impair national security, is consistent with the UK’s international obligations and would not be contrary to our national interest. Subsection (3) then sets certain eligibility criteria for licence holders, with which the regulator must be satisfied before granting a licence. The criteria ensure that a licence holder has the necessary financial and technical resources to do the things authorised by the licence and that both the licence holder and employees and agents acting on the licence holder’s behalf are fit and proper persons to do the things authorised by the licence.
It has always been the Government’s intention that the regulator will need to be satisfied that the tests set out in Clauses 8(2) and 8(3) would apply to the transfer of a licence under Clause 14, as it does to the initial grant of a licence. The amendment makes the Government’s intentions clear in the Bill and puts this beyond any doubt.
I thank noble Lords for their original amendment. I hope they will welcome the fact that we have reflected and that the amendment goes further than previously proposed. I beg to move.
Both the regulator and the Secretary of State would need to be satisfied that the transfer of a licence was appropriate.
Break in Debate
My Lords, the amendments in this group are minor and technical amendments which are required to address drafting issues in the Bill.
First, I turn to Amendments 12, 13, 29, 30 and 38. Currently, the definition of “enactment” in Clause 68 provides that it includes an enactment contained in Northern Ireland legislation. The Interpretation Act 1978 provides in Section 5 and Schedule 1 that unless the contrary intention appears, the term “enactment” used in legislation does not include Acts of the Scottish Parliament or legislation made under those Acts. As it is the policy intention that references to “enactment” in the Bill should cover legislation made throughout the United Kingdom, we propose to amend the clause so that the term “enactment”, where used, refers to secondary legislation and Scottish and Welsh legislation, as well as retaining the reference to Northern Ireland. I reassure noble Lords that official conversations have taken place with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and all are content with the amendments the Government are tabling on Report. There are a number of consequential amendments to Clause 51 and Schedule 5 to replace uses of “enactment”. Those references are to particular Acts of the UK Parliament rather than to legislation in general, so it is not appropriate for the definition of “enactment” to apply in those cases.
Amendment 39 ensures that English, Welsh and Northern Ireland partnerships can be prosecuted in Scotland. Currently, Clause 57, which deals with offences by partnerships, only extends to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is set out in the full heading of Clause 57, and Scotland is explicitly excluded from the extent of the clause in Clause 70(2). The Government initially considered that Clause 57 did not need to extend to Scotland because partnerships are treated differently in Scots law. Existing legislation already makes similar provision for Scotland to that in Clause 57; Clause 70 was drafted accordingly. However, it has since come to light that while there is no need for the Bill to make provision for Scottish partnerships, the current draft presents the risk that there would be no power to prosecute an English, Welsh or Northern Ireland partnership in Scotland. Since it is the policy intention that these prosecutions should be within the power of the Scottish courts, we propose to delete Clause 70(2).
Finally, Amendment 40 includes an additional provision in the Bill to allow this legislation to be extended to Crown dependencies and overseas territories, as modified, by way of an Order in Council. The Bill has the potential to bring new business opportunities in an expanding space market, bringing in new revenue, jobs, training opportunities and other benefits to local areas. It is an important principle that the potential benefits of the Bill are accessible across not just across the United Kingdom but in our Crown dependencies and overseas territories. Amendment 40 will allow the Government of a Crown dependency or overseas territory to utilise the regulatory framework the Bill creates for spaceflight activities and to develop a spaceport if they would like to do so. I beg to move Amendment 12.
The noble Lord has stolen many of my lines. There seem to be a lot of loose ends here. I reiterate his question about how much of the Bill applies to a Crown dependency in the event that it builds a spaceport. Are we looking just at the right to do it, or are all the other provisions of the Bill in place in a Crown dependency situation? The point that the noble Lord made very well is: are we in danger of allowing people to set up low-cost competitors in an industry that we are hoping to run from the United Kingdom mainland?
Break in Debate
That money is available to people who are currently putting together a case to create a spaceport. As I said, there is currently no interest from overseas territories or Crown dependencies, so that money would not be used by them.
On the tax regime, I am afraid that I do not have the full answer. I will have to get back to the noble Lord.
Any international company could request spaceflight activity within any of the ports but, as I say, it will ultimately be a commercial decision as to whether these activities take place. We would not play an active role in that.
The Bill is designed to promote the industry in this country and that is what we are focusing on. The addition of this provision just allows that in the future, should there be any interest, the Crown dependencies and overseas territories could take on the legislation framework and develop the activity.
Break in Debate
14: Clause 32, page 23, line 32, at end insert—
“( ) An enforcement authorisation must be referred to a justice of the peace for evaluation within 48 hours, following the 48 hour period under subsection (7) in which the enforcement authorisation remains in force.”
My Lords, I once again associate myself fully with the comments that have just been made. I am still struggling with the “anything necessary” line. Having defended those words so spiritedly in Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, is now escaping. Are we looking at enforcement at an economic level or at a national security level? I suspect there are already the necessary powers, were this to be a national security issue. There are sufficient powers to act with sufficient speed, with or without judicial oversight, in the event that it was a national security emergency that needed to be dealt with quickly. Therefore, it seems that we are looking at a commercial emergency—such a thing exists—and on that basis it seems to me that the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, are entirely reasonable and we should not invest these draconian powers because we do not need to in dealing with that kind of issue.
I thank noble Lords for raising the question of emergency powers again. Since their interventions in Committee, we have been reflecting on this provision. I will do my best not to make all the same arguments that we made in Committee.
This amendment seeks to require that an enforcement authorisation issued by the Secretary of State is evaluated by a justice of the peace within 48 hours after the 48 hours that the authorisation has been in force. The enforcement authorisation issued under Clause 32 may be issued only under certain circumstances, which do not include a commercial emergency. They are: when there is an urgent case to act to protect national security; to ensure compliance with international obligations; or to protect people’s health and safety. The authorisation must be issued in writing to a named person and specify the action authorised to be taken. The authorisation itself will remain in force for 48 hours only. This reflects the urgent nature of the action considered necessary and requires it to be taken within a short period.
We referred to similar powers of other regulators in Committee, and we have tried to look across other legislation to ensure that we have the right balance here. Some of these powers are not subject to any review once they have been exercised. There is a precedent for this approach in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which allows officers to enter premises without a warrant where it is suspected that there has been a breach of legislation, where giving notice would defeat the purpose of the entry, and where it is not practicable to give notice or where the entry is for the purpose of surveillance. The reasons for which an authorisation under Clause 32 may be issued are strictly related to emergency situations, and therefore are more restricted than the circumstances in the Consumer Rights Act. I should also clarify that improper use of the power by an appointed person under Clause 32 would be subject to judicial review, so it can be challenged if necessary.
The noble Lord, Lord Fox, brought to noble Lords’ attention the fact that warrants issued under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 are subject to approval by a judicial commissioner within three working days of the warrant being issued. This is appropriate because these warrants remain in place for five days and relate to the sensitive practices of targeted interception, examination of the contents of communications and international assistance in such matters. This is not comparable to either the power under Clause 32 or the approach proposed by this amendment. Our advice from cross-Whitehall consultations is that there is no known precedent of a justice of the peace conducting an evaluation of an emergency power once it has been exercised.
We are also not clear what purpose evaluation by a justice of the peace would serve, as the order would be spent and the specified action taken by the time of the evaluation. It is also not clear what, if any, follow-up action would be available. I am afraid I cannot address the noble Lord’s concerns directly but we are continuing to reflect and will keep working with colleagues across Whitehall to ensure that we get a proportionate set of enforcement powers in the Bill, so that we can undertake spaceflight activities safely but also with regard to our national security and international obligations. I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.
As I say, we are still looking at some type of post hoc review. We are developing the options for that and trying to understand what the implications would be. That work is ongoing.
Amendment 14 withdrawn.
Break in Debate
My Lords, I see that the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, is in his place. I would like to say that he was sorely missed this afternoon, but unfortunately I cannot—we did not miss him at all. I can see that his popping in occasionally in the afternoon to this House of concord and agreement must be a pleasure, away from the hell of the Brexit department. It is good to see him. I do not know whether it was my eloquence or the fact that a former Lord Chief Justice—the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge—applied his powerful arguments, but we welcome the Government’s concession.
I will not go into a great deal of detail on Amendment 33A. I will read out the section we want to delete:
“Regulations may make provision generally for carrying this Act into effect and for achieving the purpose set out in section 1(1)”.
Subsection 1 is equally catch-all. It states:
“This Act has effect for the purpose of regulating—(a) space activities, (b) sub-orbital activities, and (c) associated activities, carried out in the United Kingdom”.
That is far too wide-reaching.
I make one last plea to the Minister: perhaps we could have further talks involving the opposition—the Official Opposition as well, who put their names to this—to see whether we can get some different wording. We have done a lot of good work on this, but the wording is far too wide. I give her this Gypsy’s warning: if we send the Bill down to the other place with this subsection, it will cause just the same trouble. Parliament has to be very jealous of its privileges during the passage of Bills such as this. This is a bridge too far for anyone who cares about the need to keep powers within these two Houses. I am not going to press the amendment—it would be jarring to the spirit of the whole debate to have a Division at this stage—but if the Minister would agree to meet us and have one more go before Third Reading, that would be helpful.
I will attempt again to explain our opposition to the amendment. It would result in primary legislation being needed for such cases, including, for example, to make provisions for any developments in technology. This could lead to delayed launches from the UK and harm a burgeoning industry, so we are keen to maintain flexibility.
It is worth noting that the power’s scope is limited. Only regulations that relate to the regulation of spaceflight activities and associated activities can be made, as set out in Clause 1(1). I provided assurances in Committee on the limited scope of these associated activities. If regulations were to go wide of those and cover other areas, the Secretary of State would have exceeded his or her delegated authority and the decision would be subject to judicial review.
The Government have reflected on the concerns expressed about the powers contained in the Bill. We have gone a significant way towards addressing them by removing the Henry VIII power. The removal of Clause 67(1) would adversely impact on the Government’s ability to ensure that legislation relating to spaceflight was kept up to date. I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, that this Bill was brought forward to supply certainty to the industry, but I understand that concerns remain about the definition of “associated activities” and would be happy to meet noble Lords ahead of Third Reading. I ask noble Lords not to press their amendment.
Break in Debate
Noble Lords will recall the wide-ranging debate on parliamentary oversight of secondary legislation that took place in Committee. The Government have reflected on the concerns expressed by noble Lords. As a result, this amendment will impose a statutory duty to carry out a public consultation before any regulations are made under the affirmative resolution procedure.
I hope that the amendment alleviates noble Lords’ concerns and reassures them of the Government’s intention to undertake full and wide-ranging consultation. This will also include a report by the Secretary of State on the consultation. As my noble friend Lord Callanan said in Committee, the Government’s intention is to carry out a public consultation that will invite a response from all interested parties, including noble Lords and trade unions.
Any subsequent regulations that materially changed the substance of the original instruments would also be subject to consultation. All noble Lords who have spoken on the subject will be notified of any public consultation. I beg to move.
Amendment 35 shows that some fertile minds have been at work since these issues were raised. Therefore, while I welcome the amendment, I suggest that the Minister puts those same fertile minds to work on Amendment 33A; then we might have an equally happy outcome at Third Reading.
My Lords, I declare my interest as a member of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee and say that I am speaking personally in this debate and not on behalf of that committee. I support what the noble Lord, Lord McNally, is seeking to achieve in these amendments and the important principle he has raised. I also echo the words of my noble friend Lord Deben as well as the views both of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, and the noble Lord, Lord Lester.
This is an issue which, every Wednesday, I consider in detail during the Select Committee’s proceedings. It is not an issue that is receding—it is growing. In the original draft of this Bill, there was provision in regulations to allow the Secretary of State to do this, and this was consequential on any provision in the Space Industry Bill. It included a Henry VIII power to amend, repeal, or revoke any Act of Parliament made since the beginning of parliamentary history—in other words, completely changing any aspect of preceding law in the context of this Bill.
I recognise that the Government have moved on from where the draft Bill was published to where we are today. I welcome this and thank them. They have taken into account a whole series of concerns that have been expressed very eloquently this afternoon, and in previous debates. Many of the Henry VIII powers have gone. Many of the statutory instruments will now be by affirmative rather than negative resolution. It is all in the right direction to enable Parliament to determine its view on many of the key issues in this Bill.
The Space Industry Bill requires a lot of detail in secondary legislation to achieve the single most important objective—the commercial success of this industry within an appropriately regulated authority. We are focusing on the regulations, but it is all too easy for Government to either make a success or a commercial failure with the industry in terms of the regulations they propose. Because of the importance of the commercial aspect of the Bill in encouraging this industry to come to this country and to provide potentially tens of thousands of jobs and activities in areas of unemployment, what is in that secondary legislation will be critical. That is why I think it is right that the noble Lord, Lord McNally, and others have spoken to this subject in the context of this Bill as well as in principle. If we do not focus now, as we will during this debate, on the nature of the Henry VIII powers and where there will be affirmative or negative resolutions and procedures, we could be putting into law a Bill which actually is of no value, unless the secondary legislation and the negotiations with industry are successful. We will need to come back to this House to look at what is achieved in that context and have our say. That is vital for the success of the objectives of this Bill.
Having said that, I reiterate once more that there has been huge progress as a result of the reports of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, reports in another place and the fact that the Government have been listening. We should also place that on record, because there are significant changes from the original draft Bill, which have taken into account the importance of Parliament having a say on the secondary legislation that will be coming forward.
My Lords, I thank all those who have contributed to the debate so far. I have carefully noted all views.
I know there is considerable concern about the granting of Henry VIII powers—I would be worried if noble Lords did not express such concerns—because of the wide scope of such powers to amend primary legislation that underwent parliamentary scrutiny and debate. However, I assure the Committee that we have given very careful consideration to the need to include such a power. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, acknowledged that we have already acted on many of the concerns expressed, and we have modified the Bill considerably as a result of many of the points put to us by committees in this House and the other place.
Break in Debate
My Lords, I will speak very briefly in support of what my noble friend has just said. As a former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, I must admit that I know nothing about this particular Bill—but the principle she had enunciated is very important. Indeed, it seems to me that this clause, unamended, almost falls foul of the Scotland Act as we passed it in this House. So I hope that the Minister will take this issue away. I see no reason for having this in the Bill at all. It surely should be possible, as a matter of courtesy, simply to talk to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly—if it was recreated. I do not see the need for this issue to arise at all. It is a very dangerous principle and I am grateful to my noble friend for raising it.
My Lords, I apologise to the Committee that when I spoke a few minutes ago I did not indicate that I was a member of the Constitution Committee. I indicate it now. I do not want to repeat everything that the Constitution Committee said—but, with respect, although I do not speak for the Constitution Committee, there is an awful lot of constitutional sense in that paper.
Break in Debate
My Lords, there appears to be a theme developing in this afternoon’s debate. In moving Amendment 44, I will also speak to Amendments 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51. Again, we are on the subject of catch-all powers. Despite our having about 45 minutes left, I will keep this relatively brief.
Clause 67(1) states:
“Regulations may make provision generally for carrying this Act into effect and for achieving the purpose set out in section 1(1)”.
We regard this as a catch-all power that should be removed, which would be done by Amendment 44.
Amendments 46 to 50 relate to Clause 67(6), which stipulates that general regulations must be made using the affirmative procedure but that for those that will be made under certain sections, only the first regulations are subject to it. In other words, the first go through the affirmative procedure but the rest follow behind without it. These amendments would remove the word “first” in each paragraph, subjecting all regulations that will be made under the relevant sections to affirmative procedure. I believe that Amendments 46 to 50 enjoy Cross-Bench support. During Second Reading, my noble friend Lord McNally highlighted the need for the sector to be continuously consulted to ensure that legislation is fit for purpose.
Amendment 51 proposes that before any secondary legislation is made under the Act, the Secretary of State must consult the various relevant bodies to ensure that this is done. The Minister may have a view as to which the relevant bodies are, but the principles of consultation and affirmative change are enshrined in these amendments. I beg to move.
My Lords, I rely on the report of the Constitution Committee but I wonder what the point of the clause actually is. We have a proposed Act of Parliament, Clause 1 of which tells us that the Act is going to regulate,
“space activities … sub-orbital activities, and … associated activities, carried out in the United Kingdom”.
Then there are the Henry VIII powers in Clause 66, with the Secretary of State able to dispense with any part of the statute. Now we have a regulation-making power in Clause 67(1) that enables the creation of regulations to carry the Act into effect, presumably because something has gone wrong with the way in which Clause 1 operates. If Clause 1 gives statutory power to regulate space activities and so on, what on earth do we need a further regulation-making power for? This Act is brim-full of regulations. Is this just belt and braces, or is it belt, braces and a rather heavy boot?
Break in Debate
45: Clause 67, page 42, line 43, leave out subsection (6) and insert—
“(6) A statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provision)—(a) regulations under section 4(2),(b) regulations under section 5(2),(c) regulations under section 7(4),(d) regulations under section 7(6),(e) regulations under section 9,(f) regulations under section 12(7),(g) regulations under section 18,(h) regulations under section 22,(i) regulations under section 34(5),(j) regulations under section 35(3)(a),(k) regulations under section 58,(l) regulations under section 64, or(m) regulations that create offences,is subject to the super-affirmative resolution procedure.(6A) For the purposes of this Act the “super-affirmative procedure” is as follows.(6B) The Minister must lay before Parliament—(a) a draft order; and(b) an explanatory document.(6C) The explanatory document must—(a) introduce and give reasons for the order,(b) explain under which power or powers in this Act the provision contained in the order is made, and(c) give a detailed explanation of provisions included in the order.(6D) The Minister must have regard to—(a) any representations,(b) any resolution of either House of Parliament, and(c) any recommendations of a committee of either House of Parliament charged with reporting on the draft order,made during the 40-day period with regard to the draft order.(6E) If, after the expiry of the 40-day period, the Minister wishes to make an order in the terms of the draft, he must lay before Parliament a statement—(a) stating whether any representations were made under subsection (6D)(a); and(b) if any representations were so made, giving details of them.(6F) The Minister may after the laying of such a statement make an order in the terms of the draft if it is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.(6G) However, a committee of either House charged with reporting on the draft order may, at any time after the laying of a statement under subsection (6E) and before the draft order is approved by that House under subsection (6F), recommend under this subsection that no further proceedings be taken in relation to the draft order.(6H) Where a recommendation is made by a committee of either House under subsection (6G) in relation to a draft order, no proceedings may be taken in relation to the draft order in that House under subsection (6F) unless the recommendation is, in the same Session, rejected by resolution of that House. (6I) If, after the expiry of the 40-day period, the Minister wishes to make an order consisting of a version of the draft order with material changes, he must lay before Parliament—(a) a revised draft order; and(b) a statement giving details of—(i) any representations made under subsection (6D)(a); and(ii) the revisions proposed.(6J) The Minister may after laying a revised draft order and statement under subsection (6I) make an order in the terms of the revised draft if it is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.(6K) However, a committee of either House charged with reporting on the revised draft order may, at any time after the revised draft order is laid under subsection (6I) and before it is approved by that House under subsection (6J), recommend under this subsection that no further proceedings be taken in relation to the revised draft order.(6L) Where a recommendation is made by a committee of either House under subsection (6K) in relation to a revised draft order, no proceedings may be taken in relation to the revised draft order in that House under subsection (6J) unless the recommendation is, in the same Session, rejected by resolution of that House.(6M) In this section the “40-day period” means the period of 40 days beginning with the day on which the draft order was laid before Parliament under subsection (6B).”
I advise the Committee that, if this amendment is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments 46 to 50 inclusive.
Break in Debate
I will ensure that all noble Lords who participated in these discussions are made aware of the consultations. I will even try to make sure that they reach some parts of Scotland—in which my noble friend seems to have an interest at the moment. With those assurances, I hope that the noble Lord will agree to withdraw the amendment.
May I correct something I said earlier? I am told that, apparently, it is possible to amend an SI.
Amendment 45 withdrawn.
My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord’s amendment is excellent but I do not want to speak about that, but to make brief reference to the fact that on the previous Question I should have declared that I was a vice-president of the LGA. I forgot to do that, and I apologise to the House.
My Lords, there are 38,000 jobs in the UK in the space sector, and they are top-quality, well-paid, highly skilled jobs. Brexit threatens the majority of those jobs, both directly and indirectly. Although the Bill is welcome and in itself uncontentious, it does nothing of any significance to plug the gaps that are threatening those jobs.
How and why does Brexit threaten those jobs? Two sets of work are ongoing on which we rely for a very large part of our jobs in this country relating to the space industry; they are funded by the Galileo and Copernicus projects. The UK Government have said that they want to remain part of those projects but they have failed to make a binding commitment to them. The problem is that talk of a no-deal Brexit seriously undermines the Government’s verbal assurances on this issue. They need to make it clear that they want to buy into those programmes in the future—beyond 2019. Clearly that could not happen in a no-deal scenario.
Let us be clear that we do very well out of EU space activity. In terms of what is technically called “geo return”, we put in 12.5% of funding and get back 14% of spend. We are talking about very large amounts of money. When applying for funds, companies now have to make it clear to the EU how they will ensure that after March 2019 they will still have a base in an EU country. This is a new requirement. The impact is that those companies with other EU sites are leading their bids from there, not from the UK. Those companies without another base are obviously thinking of moving to another EU country. Because there is such a long lead-in time in this industry, these decisions are being made now or in the very near future.
The second factor is the supply chain, a lot of which is foreign inward investment into the UK, and there is some current rethinking on that—so more good jobs in the UK are at risk. A major aspect of this problem is the free movement of people. The industry relies a lot on EU nationals, many of whom are already leaving. But British staff, working in the industry, are also looking abroad for opportunities and we cannot afford that brain drain. It is essential to the aerospace sector as a whole that there is free movement. The kind of visa for highly skilled workers that the Prime Minister has already talked about simply would not suit their needs. They need flexible, long-duration visas because they require staff to be so mobile and flexible. Their needs are very much like those for the rest of the aerospace sector.
For example, as many noble Lords will know, Airbus has plants in Toulouse, Broughton and a number of other places. A technician might arrive at work in Broughton one morning and be told that he is off to Toulouse by lunchtime and will be back tomorrow or the day after. Airbus, as a company, moved employees 80,000 times last year between the EU and the UK. It has its own jet shuttle between sites. The kind of visa that the Prime Minister talked about does not start to tackle that problem. The perception in Europe is that we have already left. So whatever the Government’s good intentions with this Bill, if you hollow out what we already have in our space industry in the way in which I have outlined, there is not much point in this Bill. We simply cannot afford to keep losing such high-value industries and high-quality jobs. It is important that the Government persuade us here today that they have already taken on board the key issues that we have raised in relation to Brexit and our relationship in the future with the EU.
Break in Debate
3: Clause 2, page 2, line 25, at end insert—
“( ) the effect on the environment and on local communities of activities connected with the operation of spaceflight activities or the operation of a spaceport as licensed under this Act;”
As the Secretary of State could, as I understand it, also be the regulator under the Bill, does that mean that in his or her capacity as regulator he or she would be required to take into account “environmental objectives” which he or she had set as Secretary of State and which presumably they could change as and when they wished?
Break in Debate
In answer to a question put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, an exempt person will need to comply with environmental legislation where necessary, and planning, as part of current exemption conditions. Exemption from the licence does not exempt the person from the requisite planning legislation. I hope noble Lords feel that I have addressed their questions and reassured them on the provisions in the Bill, and I therefore ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.
That is true, but it does not exempt operators from the relevant planning provisions.
Amendment 3 withdrawn.
Break in Debate
My Lords, I may have misheard, of course, but I did not hear my noble friend the Minister address my noble friend’s question about whether some other activities that should not need a licence might fall under the wording of the Bill because “spaceflight activities” can refer to activities associated with spaceflight rather than just launches. I hope I have understood my noble friend correctly.
I thought I had responded to it but I will reflect on the point that he has made.
I shall first address the noble Lord’s question. It is considered that the activity of operating a spaceport will not qualify for an exemption as the activities that will take place from the spaceport will have safety implications, for example, the storage of hazardous materials, the launching of spacecraft et cetera.
I shall give the noble Lord a few more details on the kind of exemptions that we are considering under these clauses. These exemptions are based on similar exemptions contained in Section 3(2) of the Outer Space Act 1986. The first exemption in Clause 4(1) is for situations under the UN space treaties where the UK and another state are jointly liable for a space activity. This provision allows the UK and the other state to allocate responsibility for regulation, supervision and monitoring activities between themselves. This exemption would be made by way of an Order in Council. The second exemption provides that activities or persons can be exempt from the requirement to hold an operator licence if the activity does not give rise to safety concerns or invoke the international obligations of the UK. There is also an exemption in Clause 7(4) that regulations may exempt persons or services from the requirement to hold a range control licence if the activity does not give rise to safety concerns or invoke the international obligations of the UK.
The terms “operating a space object” and “operating a spacecraft” in the Bill are drafted to be intentionally wide. Although this is useful and necessary to capture all activities for which a UK liability might arise under the UN liability convention, certain activities could be captured where there are no safety or security implications and the state liability is already indemnified by someone else. In such a case, a licence might not be necessary and could be overburdensome on industry. Clause 4 therefore provides for exemptions in these circumstances.
I shall give some examples of activities that could be exempted from licence requirements. The Bill provides that persons engaging spaceflight activities and range control services can qualify to be exempt from the requirement to hold a licence. Some aspects of manned suborbital activities could qualify for an exemption. However, the exemption under Clauses 4(2) and 7(4) will apply only in cases where the activity does not give rise to concerns for public safety or the safety of those involved in the activity. If there were any concerns that the activity would put people’s safety at risk, then it would not qualify for an exemption. To qualify for an exemption under Clause 4(1), another country would be required to take on all the international obligations of the UK. I hope that my response satisfies the noble Lord’s concerns.
Break in Debate
With those thoughts in mind, I have tabled these amendments in my name. While recognising—I emphasise again—that we have moved a long way from a skeletal Bill to a far more detailed and comprehensive one, and that the Government have listened carefully to the arguments made in both Houses, I still believe we have some distance to travel. I beg to move.
My Lords, at this stage, I declare my financial interest in GKN and Smiths Group, both of which probably have some activity in the space industry, although I am not currently aware of it. I associate these Benches with the amendments and the overall thrust, which I am sure that the Minister is beginning to get, that there is considerable concern about the exercise of delegated powers. As the previous speaker mentioned, that will come up in a series of later amendments.
I defer in my knowledge to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, who is expert in these matters, but it is clear that we want to get the balance of affirmative and subsequent negative delegation right, and the excuse or otherwise that parliamentary time may not be available for the return of legislation is probably insufficient. Again, I hesitate to say this in front of the noble Lord, but safety is often dealt with by safety cases rather than a line by line, “You should do this, you should do that”, style of legislation. It does not require line-by-line scrutiny by government or Parliament.
With those points in mind, we associate ourselves with the amendments. We ask the Minister to review the Government’s position on delegated powers and are interested to hear how he stands on the amendments.
Break in Debate
22: Clause 14, page 10, line 16, at end insert—
“( ) The regulator may not consent to the transfer of a licence under subsection (1) unless the provisions in section 8(3) are met with regard to the licensee to which the licence will be transferred.”
My Lords, I will be very brief. We welcome this probing amendment because this issue is very important. It is analogous in one sense to the potential for flagging out a particular enterprise. If the regulator is minded to allow a transfer of licence, what legal basis would there be for any enforcement of those licence agreements once they cease to be within the domain of this country? The second point is on the role of takeovers and acquisitions, where companies that own a licence and are within the remit of the United Kingdom are acquired and move beyond these shores for regulatory purposes. Perhaps the Minister can include those points in his answer as well.
My Lords, Clause 14 enables a licensee to transfer their licence to another party, provided that the regulator has given written consent. This provision enables a new body or company to take over the licence without starting a licence application afresh. In addition, the Bill requires that a licence holder has the necessary financial and technical resources, and that they are fit and proper persons, to do the things authorised by the licence.
Amendment 22 would ensure that the regulator would need to be satisfied that the new licensee met the requirements under Clause 8(3) before consenting to a transfer. I can confirm that it is our intention that the regulator will need to do this. Where the regulator is appointed under Clause 15, Clause 14(5)(c) requires them to consult the Secretary of State before consenting to a transfer. Thus the Secretary of State can ensure that they are satisfied that the new licensee meets the requirements under Clause 8(3).
The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, asked why the power to transfer a licence is necessary. The power avoids the need for wasteful bureaucracy that could affect businesses and local communities. For example, where a spaceport licence has been issued, it should not be necessary to demonstrate the suitability of the site again just because of a change of operator. However, the regulator would need to be content that the new operator met the eligibility criteria under Clause 8. Both the regulator and the Secretary of State would need to be satisfied that the transfer of a licence was appropriate, ensuring that there were the proper checks and balances in the system if that occurred.
I am confident that the amendment is not necessary but I will reflect on whether it is appropriate to make our intentions explicit in the Bill. On those grounds, I hope the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
Amendment 22 withdrawn.
Break in Debate
32: Clause 32, page 23, line 32, at end insert—
“( ) An enforcement authorisation must be referred to a justice of the peace for evaluation within 48 hours, following the 48 hour period under subsection (7) in which the enforcement authorisation remains in force.”
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, set out, Clause 32 as it stands offers strong powers to the Secretary of State in which there is no judicial involvement authorising the activities. I support Amendment 32 and will speak to Amendment 33. Those noble Lords who have read them will see that Amendment 32 is repeated by Amendment 33, which goes into more detail at some length, also taking into account the judicial systems of the countries of the United Kingdom.
As the noble Lord said, Clause 32 allows the Secretary of State to authorise the regulator to do “anything necessary”, which is a very dramatic—possibly cinematic—phrase, but we understand what it means. We can understand that there are times when moving quickly would be an issue, but this is not necessarily a block to judicial oversight. In contrast to the proposal in Clause 32, I point to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 where warrants issued urgently by the Secretary of State, without advance approval by a judicial commissioner, must be approved by a judicial commissioner within three working days of the warrant. If it can be done in those circumstances, I suspect it can be done in those which we are talking about today. The Government have not offered sufficient justification for the wider scope of the powers offered in Clause 32, so Amendment 33 is based on provisions in the Investigatory Powers Act and ensures judicial scrutiny of any enforcement authorisations under that clause. In similar vein to the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, it calls for a 48-hour period through which a justice of the peace can be involved. Our amendment stipulates that, if an enforcement remains in force for 48 hours, a justice of the peace should offer authorisation within that time or the action would cease to exist. Furthermore, no future enforcement authorisations may be granted under Clause 32 in relation to the same incident.
Amendment 33 then goes on to spell out the roles of the courts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the detail therein. Overall, we would welcome strong support for this principle from the Government and some idea of how other judicial oversight will be added to what currently appears to be a very wide legal writ for one person in government.
I thank noble Lords for their consideration of the significant powers in this clause, which we recognise are significant. I hope noble Lords will allow me to take this opportunity to provide assurance that this important power, which will be used only when immediate action is necessary, is both proportionate and subject to sufficient safeguards.
Clause 32 confers on the Secretary of State the power to grant an enforcement authorisation in the most urgent cases, where there is a serious risk to national security, compliance with our international obligations or health and safety. In such emergency situations there may not be sufficient time to obtain authorisation from a justice of the peace under Clause 31. I assure the House that there are adequate safeguards in place. Such an authorisation can be granted only to a named person who the Secretary of State is satisfied is suitably qualified to carry out the necessary action. Each time this power is used the authorisation must be in writing, must specify the action required and will remain in force for only 48 hours from the time it is granted. As an additional safeguard, improper use of this power by the appointed person could be challenged by judicial review. It is worth noting that this power is more conservative and requires more stringent authorisation than other comparable powers of entry: for example, those for nuclear inspectors or health and safety inspectors who are provided with a standing authorisation and may act at their discretion. It is anticipated that this power would be used only in the most serious and urgent of cases where there can be no delay in taking action.
I turn to the amendments specifically. The need to find a justice of the peace to review an enforcement authorisation during the period of validity would impose unhelpful bureaucracy on the person authorised at a time when they are trying to take urgent action to protect people from serious risks. A review of an enforcement authorisation by a justice of the peace after the authorisation had expired would not serve any purpose since the power granted would have already been exercised. In addition, a review by a justice of the peace, whether while in force or afterwards, would place an unnecessary and disproportionate burden and cost on the judicial system, given the other safeguards in place. Moreover, appeal by the Secretary of State, which Amendment 33 provides for, may not realistically take place in time to enable the emergency action needed to address the serious risk in question.
I assure noble Lords that the Government are listening. We have taken on board comments from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and have reduced the time for which an enforcement authorisation remains in order from one month to 48 hours. The noble Lord, Lord Fox, asked why we have used the wording “to do anything necessary”. It would not be possible or appropriate to list possible actions that may be taken under an enforcement authorisation as this would restrict the scope of the authorisation. The action must, however, be necessary to protect the national security of the UK, secure compliance with the international obligations of the UK or protect the health or safety of persons. An enforcement authorisation will not be issued unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that the risk will be eliminated or mitigated as a consequence. Improper use of this power by the appointed person could be challenged by judicial review.
I understand the concerns of many noble Lords that this power is excessive. However, it is more restricted than other comparable powers of entry: for example, as I said, those for inspectors in the Energy Act 2013 or the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It is similar to those powers approved by Parliament in that there is no independent judicial authorisation before or after exercise of the power. The power in Clause 32 requires authorisation for each and every use, is in place only for a 48-hour window and cannot be used routinely at the discretion of the person who is authorised to enter. I am confident that our approach is proportionate and contains sufficient safeguards to address the concerns raised while retaining the flexibility necessary to deal with the very serious risks that this clause is designed to address. With the assurances that I have provided, I hope that the noble Lord feels able to withdraw Amendment 32.
Amendment 32 withdrawn.
My Lords, we have heard of “Star Trek”, Dan Dare, Buzz Lightyear and “Star Wars”. I am rather disappointed that no one managed to work HS2 into the narrative—but there may yet be an opportunity. I declare my interests in aerospace as listed in the Members’ register.
We have heard overwhelming support for the spirit of the Bill, with some serious reservations, particularly around safety. In the knowledge-based economy of the future, scientific research, innovation and skills will be important to the prosperity of this country. Any Bill that is aimed at strengthening that has the support of the Liberal Democrats. We have to be in a position to attract investment in the future, supporting the innovative technologies that have been outlined today.
As we have heard from the Minister, the noble Baroness, Lady Bloomfield, and others, we already have a very valuable space industry in this country. The UK Space Agency estimates that it is worth about £13.7 billion —or a 6.5% share of the global space economy. The UK space sector, Space Agency and Innovate UK have the ambitious target of growing that share to 10% of the global market by 2030.
If you look at market trends in the space economy, you will see that there are two major developments. One is large satellites in geostationary orbit delivering massive broadband capability, and the other is the very large constellations of smaller and micro satellites in orbit, also delivering new services such as broadband, connectivity for driverless cars, 5G and other “internet of things” services. As we have heard from many speakers, already in this country we have companies that contribute well to the global economy in both those areas.
It is clear that one of the major bottlenecks in the growth of the small satellite sector will be launch capacity, and we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Dunlop, about the market need. Waiting lists could become prohibitive. If the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, is correct and there are 10,000 satellites lined up to be launched over the next decades, there will need to be capacity, otherwise the bottleneck will become even more apparent. A lot of the satellite applications which will drive future growth of the UK space industry require those satellites to be launched. In other words, the growth plans for the UK industry cannot be realised unless the satellites are there to create the data opportunities for the industries of the future.
So there is a gap in the market, and the UK could be a competitive alternative to some of the existing facilities and the potential facilities that are being considered. If a low-cost launcher programme could be put together, it could become a workhorse for European satellite programmes—as well as, as we have heard, a jumping-off point for what I call space tourism or lower-level flight.
As the Minister has already said, we are not the only country having these thoughts and considering such legislation. Other European countries have the same idea and are moving forward in this area. It is therefore right that we are trying to move swiftly and it is also right that we should move to the point where we have a flexible legislative environment in place.
The Government’s ambition is not to have a sovereign launch capability; rather, it is, as we have heard, to rely on the private sector to come up with the capital to build several UK spaceports. As my noble friend Lord McNally suggested, the UK Government should not get sucked into draining more from the money tree that we hear about to support this process; there are many other pressing terrestrial travel needs that require investment. We have heard of one example from industry of putting together consortiums. Does the Minister have examples of other groupings coming forward? What kind of support is envisaged along the lines of the £10 million that has been referred to, which seems a large number but also a small one when compared with other transport needs.
The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, talked about the need for a timetable for approval, which is very important. What kind of time are we looking at? When we consider the example of Russia and building spaceports, we can see that it is a six to 10-year project. We need to know the lead time between when we cut the first grass and actually launch the first satellite or spaceplane. To meet the growth that we need will be the equivalent of creating by 2030 two new Inmarsats—the biggest company we have. Growing this industry to the size that people want will be a big ask and it is important that we get moving on it quickly. As the Minister, my noble friend Lord McNally and others have said, we want to get into a position of being able to drive those technologies with the data that we can produce from satellites. I understand that there is a proposal to use part of Innovate UK’s industrial strategy challenge fund to stimulate the adoption of services, which again would help to develop more space companies. Can the Minister confirm this and explain how it might operate in the future?
There are one or two concerns. Heeding the advice of my noble friend Lord McNally about not going into too much detail on some of the regulatory and insurance issues, I would like to pick up on a couple of points around licensing and insurance for the mega-constellation style of launch. We heard from one noble Lord about the potential for 1,000 micro satellites to be released in a single launch. This creates certain issues. British law currently treats nano satellite constellations no differently from a $200 million satellite in geostationary orbit: in other words, each satellite in a constellation would be subject to a licensing fee of around £6,500 and would have to be covered by its own third party insurance. All of that adds up to a huge sum of money which starts to become a big barrier, particularly when we consider how the US Government deal with similar issues. So I will ask in Committee whether we will have an opportunity to rethink the process. As the noble Lord, Lord Suri, said, we need flexible and appropriate legislation, and this is an area that requires some thought.
The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, raised some thoughtful issues which I am sure that the Minister has taken on board. I would highlight the question of foreign ownership that he mentioned—because, of course, defining the ownership of a company can be extraordinarily difficult. It would be interesting to hear the Minister’s thoughts on that, as well as on the issue of offshore launches.
No Liberal Democrat spokesperson can ever stand up at the moment without mentioning Brexit, so I am afraid that I am going to mention it briefly. First, will we retain full access to the vital EU space programmes? Where are we on that? Secondly, can the Minister confirm that the UK will continue to participate in Galileo and where will we be in Horizon 2020 on this issue? Thirdly, the chairman of UKspace has called for the UK to “enhance” its investment in the European Space Agency following Brexit—a point that was echoed by my noble friend Lord McNally. Our relationship with the ESA, which is not part of the EU, will be an important symbol of our continuing commitment to European co-operation. The Minister’s thoughts on the future of that and how we will take it forward will be helpful.
Finally, other noble Lords mentioned the free flow of talent. The Minister quite rightly talked about wanting to attract world-class scientists to this programme and it being part of a magnet. We need some assurance, not just in this industry but in practically every other technology-based industry and all the university sectors, around free movement of talent and people. To make the UK the most attractive place to work, it has to be a place where people feel welcome, needed and valued.
Another issue that again was touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, in his comprehensive speech, was the format of the Bill. He is right that it is substantially less skeletal than it was. My Benches have some concerns about skeletal Bills, not least because we feel that this may be the shape of things to come in other legislation. We recognise that this has been improved but it is not perfect. We would like to put that on record.
My noble friend Lord McNally and the noble Lords, Lord Moynihan and Lord Balfe, raised safety. They are correct. I am sure that we will have an opportunity, given that concern and the importance of the issue, to come back to it in discussions with the Minister and in Committee.
In summary, the space industry is highly collaborative. For us to succeed in it, it has to have access to private and international funding; it has to be able to co-operate extensively with other states and allow the free flow of people and ideas around the world; and it has to be governed by a flexible and facilitating regulatory structure. This Bill provides for only the last of those three conditions. I hope that the industrial strategy will fill in some of those details. Notwithstanding that, it is a welcome Bill.
My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in today’s Second Reading for their, as ever, very informed questions, which they were quite right to ask. The challenge and the debate are welcomed by the Government and will help us strengthen the Bill. I appreciate the broad support that has been shown for the Bill’s ambition. I reiterate the point that I have made to a number of noble Lords, both publicly and privately, that we are looking to co-operate on all sides of the House on this matter with Members from all parties and none. I am always available to discuss aspects of it and I have written to a number of Members to make that point. I thank my right honourable friend the Minister of State at the Department for Transport, who was sitting on the steps of the Throne earlier. I was delighted to see him paying such close attention to our proceedings.
I will try to address many of the points that have been made. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Bloomfield, for her astute analysis of the UK space industry and her support for the Bill. On the issue that she raised concerning the comparable provisions to those in Section 1 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 to promote the development of the space industry in the UK, I agree that the Government should recognise the need to promote growth in this sector. The Deregulation Act 2015 provides for a growth study to apply to functions specified by order. Statutory Instrument 2017/267 already lists functions under the Outer Space Act 1986, and we propose to amend this SI to also list functions under the Bill. My noble friend also shares the concerns of a number of other noble Lords—my noble friend Lord Moynihan also mentioned this—about over- regulation of this emerging market. This is a concern we are very alive to, and the Bill establishes a proportionate framework to support growth in this emerging sector while adequately balancing government and operator rights, the safety provisions and other factors dedicated to it. In exercising the powers in the Bill, the Government will ensure proportionality, and we intend to consult fully on all the secondary legislation required to implement these measures.
Engaging with agencies such as ICAO was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt. Through the DfT and the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK has been working as part of a joint ICAO/UNOOSA space learning group better to understand how commercial spaceflight fits in with the global air navigation structure and how regulation will need to adapt to the new industry. ICAO has not yet developed detailed rules on spaceflight.
The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, also raised the issue of the carriage of nuclear materials. We do not intend to permit the carriage of any nuclear materials. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 allows for prohibitions and restrictions on this. There may be exceptions regarding everyday appliances such as smoke detectors, which routinely use small quantities of technically radioactive material.
We do not believe that the Bill engages obligations to produce an environmental impact assessment. Environmental impacts are heavily correlated with the type, frequency and location of spaceflight activities. At this stage, it is very difficult to ascertain specific environmental issues. For example, the sensitivities of a site cannot be known until we know the location of the spaceport.
My noble friend Lord Moynihan and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, raised international agreements, and they were right to do so. We have put in place a number of agreements to enable commercial spaceflight in the UK. The type and nature of these agreements depends largely on the technology used, how and where it is operated and what it is used for. The UK complies with all existing space treaty obligations, and we are working to secure the agreements necessary to enable commercial spaceflight to take place from the UK.
On a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, I should say that the UK Space Agency’s international partnership programme uses UK R&D to support international development. This supports developing countries to use satellite solutions for problems such as deforestation and disaster relief. My noble friend Lord Moynihan asked about the Government’s support for the development of this emerging market in the UK, and a number of other Members raised a similar point. The UK Space Agency published details of the grant process in February, including our processes for assessing proposals and the criteria we would apply. We have engaged extensively with the parties who submitted funding proposals, to ensure that our process is transparent. The proposals were naturally submitted to the Government in commercial confidence and noble Lords will understand that I cannot disclose details now. However, I can confirm that in line with the process set out in February, the UK Space Agency is currently considering these proposals with independent expert advice, and I expect it will announce the outcome of the process later in the year.
A number of noble Lords, including the noble Lord, Lord McNally, raised questions around the European Space Agency. The Government’s policy to exit the EU does not affect the UK’s membership of the European Space Agency. The UK has a strong and healthy space economy with an international outlook. We have a long history of collaboration and participation in European space programmes and missions through the European Space Agency. The Government will continue to take an active role in European space programmes, supporting UK industry in its bids to win contracts overseas and developing our national capability to keep the UK competitive in the global market.
The issue of affirmative regulations was also raised by my noble friend Lord Moynihan. We need a proportionate approach for aviation. Section 60 of the Civil Aviation Act enables all aviation safety rules to be made by negative procedure. These safety rules are likely to be amended frequently. We aim to lay statutory instruments in summer 2019, and licences can be issued once these are in force.
The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, raised the issue of range ownership. Our intention is for these to be privately owned. Foreign ownership is not prohibited. A licence cannot be granted of course unless the applicant is a fit and proper person.
My noble friend Lord Dunlop asked me about the number of spaceports. The Bill does not restrict the number of licences that could be issued for spaceports. However, the decisions on licensing would be based on eligibility, alternative criteria requirements and safety standards. I noted his strong advocacy of Scotland, along with that of my noble friend Lord Moynihan—we have a lot of interest from Scotland, particularly given the rural nature of many of its locations. We are working closely with the devolved Administrations, but I hope that my noble friends would not expect an Englishman with Irish roots to adjudicate on this process. My noble friend Lord Dunlop also asked me about ITAR and knowledge transfer. The Bill includes provisions for entering into agreements with other countries, including the provision for knowledge transfer and to ensure that we can meet the ITAR constraints that may be imposed on us by the United States.
The issue of liabilities was raised by a number of noble Lords. We have taken the power in the Bill to cap liabilities. However, we can assure industry of our intention to cap liabilities only in circumstances for which analysis has already been carried out to determine the current liability cap policy under the Outer Space Act 1986, as amended by the Deregulation Act 2015. For other circumstances, we hope to carry out the analysis as quickly as possible to further promulgate our policy decision.
My noble friend Lord Balfe and the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, raised the issue of drones. Your Lordships will be aware that the department completed a consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK in March. We are considering the responses received and developing outcomes on this, and I hope the Government’s position will be released very soon.
My noble friend Lord Suri asked me about consultation. We will discuss the proposed structure of the statutory instruments and how this fits with industry views. We intend to publish a database containing more detail on regulatory functions including spaceflights, on existing international best practice under each of those functions, and on initial assessments of risks associated with each of these functions before and after regulatory activity has taken place. We expect that this will start the conversation on the licensing framework and can inform discussions with insurers about the level of residual risk, and therefore start to gauge the potential appetite for insurers to enter the market.
The noble Lord, Lord Fox, asked me about timetables for launch. I am slightly hesitant on this, but we intend to lay statutory instruments in summer 2019. Once these have entered into force, regulators will be in a position to accept licence applications, which we expect will be processed in roughly 12 to 18 months. Please take that with a slight pinch of salt—these things can change and there are lots of considerations still to go through—but it might help as a rough timetable.
I take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, about the policy scoping notes. Please accept my apologies that they came out late, but I wanted to get them issued before we sat down today. I appreciate it is very difficult to read a 94-page document in advance of this debate, but the policy scoping notes are not provided for discussion: they are our initial statement of intention with regard to the use of delegated powers and the need to consult on the use of powers given their importance and impact and the need to carry out analysis and assessment of criteria for determining safe levels of risk, for example. I confirm that it is not currently our intention to take Committee immediately after the holiday break in September. It will be a few weeks after that, subject to the vagaries of the Whips, and not immediately we return after recess.
I am not in a position to confirm that yet. As soon as I get further information from those who deal with these matters, I will let the noble Lord know. I intend to work as closely as possible with all noble Lords on this; when I have further information, I will share it with him.
On the question of licensing and insurance for mega constellations, space activities are risky in nature and the Government may be required to pay compensation for damage caused as a result of spaceflight and related activities carried out by UK entities or launched from the UK. The insurance requirement is one of the provisions in the Bill to protect the Government and the public by ensuring that there is a resource to meet such claims. We do not believe that small satellites pose the same risks to the space environment. Further work will be undertaken on the insurance requirement for the different activities licensed.
The UK has played a major part in developing the main EU space programmes—Galileo and Copernicus—and space surveillance and tracking, which have supported the rapid growth of the UK space sector and contributed directly to our prosperity and security. It is a global success story, leveraging our best talent to deliver highly innovative products and services every year, and we want that to continue if at all possible.
The noble Lords, Lord Fox and Lord Rosser, asked me about delegated powers. The Bill contains 71 clauses, 12 schedules and 100 delegated powers. This large number of delegated powers—I accept that it is a lot—is required because the commercial spaceflight environment is innovative, highly technical and fast changing. It is important that we have the flexibility given by secondary legislation to adapt to keep pace with this emerging market, as both UK regulators and the space industry develop expertise in this area. The Bill sets out the regulatory framework for a novel, dynamic and diverse industry, accommodating a wide range of different technologies. It aims to provide sufficient certainty and assurance to Parliament, regulators, industry and the general public while simultaneously having the flexibility to allow industry to grow. Early feedback so far from industry is that this flexibility is seen as vital. A rigid approach that offered limited opportunity to keep pace with either the development of spaceflight or the enhanced experience of the regulators would be restrictive for the sector.
The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, asked me about horizontal and vertical launch. He is correct: currently, we expect existing aerodromes to be most interested in conducting horizontal launch activities. I would expect vertical launch activities to be from a mixture of existing aerodromes and new facilities, subject to the strict licensing conditions that we have put in place. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, asked me about flags of convenience. Responsible operators may be attracted to launch from the UK, but our vigorous approach to safety should deter less responsible persons.
Break in Debate
I can confirm that we are in extensive consultation with industry players. My honourable friend was visiting Surrey Satellites this morning for discussion on various aspects of the Bill and its commercial operations.
I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, who asked me about international environmental obligations under the Bill. They are covered by duties of the regulator in Clause 2 and under numerous other clauses, including Clause 8. We would not grant a licence if it were inconsistent with our international obligations. We have reviewed the relevant international, environmental treaties and obligations and the national requirements that may apply to spaceflight activities, and have concluded that we do not need any specific new provisions in the Space Industry Bill, but spaceflight activities and spaceports will, of course, have to fully comply with all existing planning and environmental requirements.
In relation to cyber interference, for conventional aviation we keep transport security under constant review, and we will do the same for spaceflight activities. We already work closely with partners across government and industry on restrictions between horizontal and vertical spaceports. I hope that I have responded to most points put by noble Lords, but if not there will perhaps be an opportunity to explore these issues further.
We have covered lots of vital areas and extremely important issues in this debate. Noble Lords were right to focus on issues of safety, environment and growth of the industry. I am sure that we will return to many of these issues in Committee. Once again, I thank all noble Lords for their general warm welcome for the Bill, notwithstanding some of the concerns expressed. As I said earlier, I look forward to working with noble Lords both in and outside the Chamber to ensure that we strengthen the Bill’s provisions as it makes its passage through the House
Of course. We have a meeting planned for next week anyway, when we can perhaps discuss these issues further. I will be very happy to clarify and give more detail on any of the points we have spoken about. With that, I conclude by asking the House to give the Bill a Second Reading.