Skip to main content

Atomic Weapons Establishments

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) all laws, statutes and regulations which AWE Aldermaston could claim Crown immunity prior to 1 April and (b) all laws, statutes and regulations which Hunting BRAE, as managing contractors of AWE Aldermaston, can claim Crown immunity from; and if he will make a statement.

Prior to 1 April 1993, all AWE sites were owned and operated by the Crown. It is a well-established rule that the Crown is not bound by statute unless this is specifically stated, or it is clear that the Crown is to be bound by implication. To list all legislation from which AWE could have claimed Crown immunity prior to 1 April 1993 would therefore involve disproportionate effort and cost. However, even in circumstances where the Crown is not bound by legislation, it is Government policy that it should comply as though such requirements apply to it, wherever this is appropriate and practicable.Special provisions relating to the operator of the AWE after contractorisation on 1 April 1993 are set out in the schedule to the AWE Act 1991.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions AWE Aldermaston is having with the nuclear installations inspectorate regarding the possibility of providing a site licence for the atomic weapons establishments; and if he will make a statement.

In the studies leading up to the contractorisation of the atomic weapons establishment, my Department held discussions with the Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate concerning the possible licensing of appropriate sites of the atomic weapons establishments. These discussions are planned to continue following the HSE review of health and safety at AWEs and in the light of the conclusions of that review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provisions now govern the liability of contractors of the atomic weapons establishments, to prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive for any breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1976.

The contractor operating the atomic weapons establishment, Hunting BRAE Ltd., is subject to the full range of legal sanctions available to Health and Safety Executive inspectors under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.