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The Genetically Modified Organisms (Northern Ireland) Order 1991

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Rights of entry and inspection

12.—(1) An inspector may, on production (if so required) of his authority, exercise any of the powers specified in paragraph (3) for the purposes of the discharge of the functions of the Department under this Order.

(2) Those powers are exercisable—

(a)in relation to premises—

(i)on which the inspector has reason to believe a person is keeping or has kept any genetically modified organisms, or

(ii)from which he has reason to believe any such organisms have been released or have escaped; and

(b)in relation to premises on which the inspector has reason to believe there may be harmful genetically modified organisms or evidence of damage to the environment caused by genetically modified organisms;

but they are not exercisable in relation to premises used wholly or mainly for domestic purposes.

(3) The powers of an inspector are—

(a)at any reasonable time (or, in a situation in which in his opinion there is an immediate risk of damage to the en vironment, at any time)—

(i)to enter premises which he has reason to believe it is necessary for him to enter and to take with him any person duly authorised by the Department and, if the inspector has reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of his duty, a constable; and

(ii)to take with him any equipment or materials required for any purpose for which the power of entry is being exercised;

(b)to carry out such tests and inspections (and to make such recordings), as may in any circumstances be necessary;

(c)to direct that any, or any part of, premises which he has power to enter, or anything in or on such premises, shall be left undisturbed (whether generally or in particular respects) for so long as is reasonably necessary for the purpose of any test or inspection;

(d)to take samples of any organisms, articles or substances found in or on any premises which he has power to enter, and of the air, water or land in, on, or in the vicinity of, the premises;

(e)in the case of anything found in or on any premises which he has power to enter, which appears to him to contain or to have contained genetically modified organisms which have caused or are likely to cause damage to the environment, to cause it to be dismantled or subjected to any process or test (but not so as to damage or destroy it unless this is necessary);

(f)in the case of anything mentioned in sub-paragraph (e) or anything found on premises which he has power to enter which appears to be a genetically modified organism or to consist of or include genetically modified organisms, to take possession of it and detain it for so long as is necessary for all or any of the following purposes, namely—

(i)to examine it and do to it anything which he has power to do under that sub-paragraph;

(ii)to ensure that it is not tampered with before his examination of it is completed; an d

(iii)to ensure that it is available for use as evidence in any proceedings for an offence under Article 15;

(g)to require any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be able to give any information relevant to any test or inspection under this paragraph to answer (in the absence of persons other than a person nominated to be present and any persons whom the inspector may allow to be present) such questions as the inspector thinks fit to ask and to sign a declaration of the truth of his answers;

(h)to require the production of, or where the information is recorded in computerised form, the furnishing of extracts from, any records which are required to be kept under this Order or it is necessary for him to see for the purposes of any test or inspection under this paragraph and to inspect, and take copies of, or of any entry in, the records;

(i)to require any person to afford him such facilities and assistance with respect to any matters or things within that person’s control or in relation to which that person has responsibilities as are necessary to enable the inspector to exercise any of the powers conferred on him by this Article;

(j)any other power for the purpose mentioned in paragraph (1) which is conferred by regulations made by the Department.

(4) The Department may by regulations make provision as to the procedure to be followed in connection with the taking of, and the dealing with, samples under paragraph (3)(d).

(5) Where an inspector proposes to exercise the power conferred by paragraph (3)(e), he shall, if so requested by a person who at the time is present on and has responsibilities in relation to those premises, cause anything which is to be done by virtue of that power to be done in the presence of that person.

(6) Before exercising the power conferred by paragraph (3)(e), an inspector shall consult such persons as appear to him appropriate for th e purpose of ascertaining what dangers, if any, there may be in doing anything which he proposes to do under the power.

(7) Where under the power conferred by paragraph (3)(f) an inspector takes possession of anything found on any premises, he shall leave there, either with a responsible person or, if that is impracticable, fixed in a conspicuous position, a notice giving particulars sufficient to identify what he has seized and stating that he has taken possession of it under that power; and before taking possession under that power of—

(a)any thing that forms part of a batch of similar things, or

(b)any substance,

an inspector shall, if it is practical and safe for him to do so, take a sample of it and give to a responsible person at the premises a portion of the sample marked in a manner sufficient to identify it.

(8) No answer given by a person in pursuance of a requirement imposed under paragraph (3)(g) shall b e admissible in evidence in any proceedings against that person.

(9) The powers conferred by paragraph (3)(a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (h) shall also be exercisable (subject to paragraphs (4) to (6)) by any person authorised for the purpose in writing by the Department.

(10) Nothing in this Article shall be taken to compel the production by any person of a document of which he would on grounds of legal professional privilege be entitled to withhold production on an order for discovery in an action in the High Court.

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