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Written Statements

Volume 728: debated on Wednesday 1 March 2023

Written Statements

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Energy Security and Net Zero

Nuclear Decommissioning and Radioactive Substances Consultation

The UK Government and devolved Administrations are today publishing for consultation proposals to update policies on nuclear decommissioning and the management of radioactive substances, including radioactive waste.

We use radioactive substances in many different products and processes: to treat and diagnose serious illnesses, to deliver research and development, and in industrial processes. In some parts of the UK nuclear power continues to provide low-carbon electricity to our homes and businesses. Nuclear power will continue to be an important source of low-carbon electricity as we work towards reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Most uses of radioactive material generate radioactive waste, which needs to be managed. The waste can occur as gases, liquids or solids. Radioactive substances policy covers the management and use of radioactive materials and how any subsequent wastes and legacies are then managed to ensure that people and the environment are not exposed to unacceptable risks.

The last overarching policy document on the management of radioactive waste, Command Paper 2919, “Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Final Conclusions”, was published in 1995. Since then, the regulatory and policy landscape has changed significantly, not least with the advent of devolution and the creation of new regulatory bodies and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Some parts of the Command Paper have been updated and replaced with new policy documents. Furthermore, new policies have been developed that did not originally feature in Command Paper 2919.

The UK Government and devolved Administrations consider it time to replace Command Paper 2919 and the separate policy documents that have superseded some parts of it with a consolidated UK-wide policy framework. In doing so, we aim to set out clearly those policies that are pursued jointly by the UK Government and devolved Administrations and any separate policies that apply in any one nation.

The proposals update, clarify and consolidate a number of policies into a UK-wide policy framework and facilitate speedier and more cost-effective decommissioning and radioactive waste management. They aim to create clearer and more consistent policy objectives across the UK, to reduce unnecessary burdens and to unlock more innovative and sustainable ways of working, realising significant savings for industry and the taxpayer whilst maintaining high standards of safety, security and environmental protection.

The consultation is in two parts. Part I sets out policies that we are proposing to amend. The proposals are aimed primarily at driving improvements in nuclear decommissioning and managing radioactive waste. Part II is a draft of the proposed UK-wide policy framework as it would appear if the policy changes being consulted on in part I were implemented.

I am placing copies of the consultation in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Treasury

Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Commodity Derivatives and Emission Allowances) Order 2023:

Many of the rules that govern the buying, selling and organised trading of commodity derivatives and emission allowances are set out in the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR). MiFIR is one of two pieces of ELI derived legislation—the other being the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) —which together underpin what is referred to as the MiFID II framework. As part of the onshoring process, the MiFID II framework was amended to address deficiencies arising as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the end of the transition period.

The UK played a significant role in designing the MiFID II framework, and the Government believe that the resilience and effectiveness of the UK’s capital markets have been significantly strengthened by the post-crisis reforms that they implemented. Although the regime is working well in many areas, the EU approach to regulation—where the same rules apply across member states to facilitate a single market in financial services—means that many of the MiFID II framework requirements were not designed specifically for UK markets. In other areas, it is clear that the framework has not delivered its intended benefits, has led to duplication and excessive administrative burdens for firms, or has stifled innovation.

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, in July 2021, the Government launched the wholesale markets review (WMR) consultation with the aim of creating a simpler and less prescriptive regime that meets the needs of UK markets while maintaining high regulatory standards. As part of this, the Government consulted on changes to streamline the process for determining when a firm trading commodity derivatives or emission allowances needs to be authorised as an investment firm. These were welcomed by industry and the Government committed to take them forward when they responded to the consultation in March 2022. The Chancellor also committed to streamline the process for determining when firms who trade commodities as an ancillary activity need to be authorised as an investment firm, as part of the Edinburgh reforms that were announced on 9 December 2022.

This order delivers on that commitment. It will simplify the process for firms while resulting in the same regulatory outcome. The FCA will put in place a simpler and therefore lower cost regime for determining when a firm that trades commodities or emission allowances as an ancillary activity does not need to be authorised as an investment firm.

As required under the enhanced scrutiny procedure set out in schedule 8 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the draft order and explanatory memorandum will be published online for a period of at least 28 days before the instrument is formally laid in Parliament for affirmative debate. This is required under paragraph 14 of schedule 8 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 because the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2017 which are being amended were originally made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. To read the full draft statutory instrument and explanatory memorandum, please visit:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-si-for-firms-who-trade-commodities-or-emission-allowances-as-an-ancillary-activity

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Home Department

Actions to Improve Police Standards and Culture

Recent reports from His Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary and fire and rescue services (HMICFRS) and significant high-profile incidents of police criminality and misconduct, such as the horrific crimes of David Carrick, have rightly raised concerns regarding police standards and culture.

In January, the Home Secretary announced a series of actions being undertaken by the Home Office and the police to ensure that police vetting is fit for purpose, that officers who fall short of the standards expected of them are identified and dealt with appropriately, and that concerns around policing cultures are being addressed to rebuild public confidence.

On Monday 27 February I convened a roundtable with senior leaders from across the policing sector to review progress on these commitments and to ensure that activity is being co-ordinated to drive up police standards and improve culture.

In relation to police vetting, the Home Secretary has commissioned His Majesty’s inspectorate of fire and rescue services to undertake a rapid review of progress being made against the 43 recommendations in their 2 November 2022 assessment of police vetting and counter-corruption capability. The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) are co-ordinating the forces’ responses to the inspectorate’s report and, at the roundtable, reported significant progress in implementing a suite of changes to ensure that police vetting is more robust and consistent. HMICFRS will publish its rapid review in April.

In addition, the Home Secretary asked the College of Policing to refresh its statutory vetting code of practice to strengthen legal obligations on Chief Officers and provide clarity to forces across England and Wales. The college has published the revised statutory code yesterday for a three-week public consultation (available on the College of Policing’s website). Following consideration of that feedback and Home Secretary approval, the revised code will be in force by the summer. I also welcome the work being undertaken by the College of Policing to overhaul the police code of ethics which is expected to be published for public consultation next month.

Across police forces, significant activity is underway to identify individuals who fall short of the high standards the public expect of them and to deal with those individuals appropriately. This includes the work being co-ordinated by the NPCC, under the leadership of Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, to check all police officers and staff against the police national database (PND) to ensure that no actionable intelligence in relation to potential police misconduct or criminality has been missed.

As of this date, all force HR records have been prepared for the data wash which will conclude by the end of March, cross-checking over 326,000 officers and staff against relevant PND records. Forces will then interrogate this data and take action to investigate where necessary.

Where officers are found to have potentially breached standards of professional behaviour, it is of vital importance that those who are not fit to serve the public are swiftly dismissed. On 18 January, the Home Office launched a review of the effectiveness of the police dismissal process to determine how improvements can be made. The call for evidence has now ended and the Home Office have received submissions from a wide range of stakeholders. These will now be analysed, with the output from a new data collection, to inform proposals for change. This work will be complete by the end of April and the Government are committed to implementing reforms, including via legislation, as soon as practicable thereafter.

Alongside this, it is essential for public confidence in policing that we have an effective independent process for investigating the most serious complaints about the police. That is why I am announcing today the start of an independent review of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) led by Dr. Gillian Fairfield (Chair of the Disclosure and Barring Service), whom the Home Secretary has charged with considering the IOPC’s effectiveness, efficiency, governance and accountability. The review’s remit is tightly defined to avoid infringing upon or impacting ongoing investigations, which are rightly independent from Government, the police and complainants. A summary of the review’s terms of reference will be published on gov.uk and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Dr Fairfield has been asked to submit her final report and recommendations for internal review in autumn 2023. I shall inform the House of the outcome of the review at its conclusion and a summary of its key findings will subsequently be published.

As well as driving up standards in police vetting and dealing with misconduct, the Home Secretary has been clear that policing needs to address the root causes of poor, and in some cases toxic, cultures. This will be a key focus of part 2 of the independent Angiolini inquiry that was established in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard to understand how a serving police officer was able to carry out such a horrendous crime. Part 2, which will look at broader issues for policing, will start later this spring, following a public consultation on the terms of reference that ended last week. The Inquiry will also look at the appalling case of David Carrick, in terms of reference published on 7 February 2023.

The Government and our policing partners are determined to deliver on these commitments to help rebuild confidence and trust in policing. This is what the public expect and the decent, hardworking majority of officers deserve. I will update the National Policing Board, chaired by the Home Secretary, on 8 March on progress and provide the House with updates in due course.

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