Mr S Wing, HSE, Chair
Mr C Musgrave, Transco
Mr P Clark, AIGT
Mr B Tomkins, PEFD
Mr K McFadyen, HID, Secretary
1 The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting called to discuss proposed changes to the industry guide to charging.
2 Industry restated their concerns from the meeting held on 9 October 2003 that by amending the guidance to reflect the Fees Regulations the original intention for charging under GSMR had been widened in scope, at a financial cost to industry. Concern had been expressed at the original draft regulations stage by BG Transco who felt that enforcement should relate to the main duties under GSMR. The Fees regulations were not considered to be transparent enough. A meeting of the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances had noted industry's concerns and accepted that the guidance should be agreed with industry. Although a meeting was held to discuss the first guide the matter was not resolved.
3 There is an overlap in duties between GSMR and the Pipeline Safety Regulations (PSR) relating to management systems and integrity issues. This overlap is acknowledged in the guidance to both sets of regulations which notes that documents required under the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996 may be referred to in the safety case.
The HSE's Safety Case Handling and assessment manual clarifies the scope of the two sets of Regulations. The manual states that while GSMR deal with the safe management of the flow of gas through the network PSR are concerned with pipeline integrity. There are areas of overlap between PSR and GSMR in that they both cover management systems and emergency procedures. However, the management systems and procedures required by PSR are concerned solely with pipeline integrity and the consequences of loss of containment. The Gas Safety (Management) Regulations on the other hand require that there are systems and procedures in place for preventing supply emergencies and for managing them should they occur.
4 HSE said that the Fees Regulations provide for charging for enforcement of any of the relevant statutory provisions (insofar as such enforcement is for the purpose of protecting persons from risks arising from the manner in which gas is conveyed or used) against a person conveying gas who has prepared a safety case under GSMR, a network emergency coordinator, or a contractor in relation to work carried out in connection with that network. This includes both formal enforcement such as issuing notices and other enforcement activity such as carrying out assessments, inspections or investigations. For example, enforcement work under, say, DSEAR is chargeable if it is relevant to the way gas is transported or used.
5 In Annex A of the draft guide being discussed industry queried para 3.1(b) and (c) as being introduced to the guide since consultation. These had been introduced to flesh out para 3.1(a) and make the guide as explicit as possible. Sub-para (c) is part of the safety case requirement; and (b) is implicit in (a) in so far as risks to persons etc are concerned. This was covered by the regulations but not previously in the guidance. The draft guide reflects the situation set out in Neil Johnson's letter of 2 October 2003 and HSE has amended the guide to align with the wording of the regulations. The revised guide would be published on the Internet as soon as possible.
6 Industry said that some of the HSE's points of interpretation had been clarified, but there was still a significant difference in the Guidance when compared with the original HSE and industry view that the impact of the charges related only to the scope of GSMR, as reflected in the Charging Guides since 1999. Industry also noted that the original Regulatory Impact Assessment aligned with this interpretation of the Fees Regulation as given in the Guidance. Industry would consider their response to the updated charging guide and Transco would confirm to the HSE the potential impact on industry of the revisions to the guidance.
7 It was agreed to delete the reference to the Internet in the introduction to the guide, as that was now the only place it was available.
8 HSE informed industry of a change to the schedule in the draft Fees Regulations for 2005. This will provide for charging a new entrant to the industry which has submitted a safety case before it begins conveying gas