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Energy Conservation Act 1981

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20Enforcement of orders under Part I

(1)A local weights and measures authority shall have power to enforce within its area the provisions of any order made under Part I of this Act.

(2)Any duly authorised officer of a local weights and measures authority or of a Government department (referred to below in this Act as an enforcement officer) may, at all reasonable hours and on production (if so required) of his credentials, exercise the following powers, that is to say—

(a)he may, for the purpose of ascertaining whether any offence under an order made under Part I of this Act (referred to below in this Act as a " relevant offence ") has been committed, inspect any appliance, and any instructions or other documents relating to any appliance, and enter any premises other than premises used only as a dwelling;

(b)if he has reasonable cause to believe that such an offence has been committed, he may seize and detain any appliance, or any such instructions or other documents, for examination or inspection with a view to ascertaining whether the offence has been committed;

(c)he may seize and detain any appliance, or any such instructions or other documents, which he has reason to believe may be required as evidence in proceedings for any such offence; and

(d)he may, for the purpose of exercising his powers under paragraph (b) or (c) above to seize any appliance, but only if and to the extent that it is reasonably necessary in order to secure that the provisions of any order made under Part I of this Act are complied with, require any person having authority to do so to break open any container and, if that person does not comply with the requirement, he may do so himself.

(3)If an enforcement officer has reasonable cause to suspect that a relevant offence has been committed, he may, for the purpose of ascertaining whether it has been committed, require any person carrying on a trade or business or employed in connection with a trade or business to produce any books or documents relating to the trade or business and may take copies of, or of any entry in, any such book or document.

(4)An officer seizing any appliances or documents in the exercise of his powers under this section shall inform the person from whom they are seized of the fact that he has so seized them.

(5)Subject to subsection (6) below, if a justice of the peace, on sworn information in writing, is satisfied that there is reasonable ground to believe either—

(a)that any appliances, books or documents which an enforcement officer has power under this section to examine or inspect are on any premises and that their examination or inspection is likely to disclose evidence of the commission of a relevant offence ; or

(b)that any such offence has been, is being or is about to be committed on any premises ;

the justice may by warrant under his hand, which shall continue in force for a period of one month, authorise an enforcement officer to enter the premises, if need be by force.

(6)Before issuing a warrant under subsection (5) above, the justice must also be satisfied either—

(a)that admission to the premises has been or is likely to be refused and that notice of intention to apply for a warrant under this section has been given to the occupier; or

(b)that an application for admission, or the giving of such a notice, would defeat the object of the entry or that the premises are unoccupied or that the occupier is temporarily absent and it might defeat the object , of the entry to await his return.

(7)An officer entering any premises by virtue of this section may take with him such other persons and such equipment as may appear to him to be necessary; and on leaving any premises which he has entered by virtue of a warrant under this section he shall, if the premises are unoccupied or the occupier is temporarily absent, leave them as effectively secured against trespassers as he found them.

(8)If any person discloses to any person—

(a)any information with respect to any trade secret obtained by him in premises which he has entered by virtue of this section ; or

(b)any information obtained by him in pursuance of this Act;

he shall be guilty of an offence unless the disclosure was made in or for the purpose of the performance by him or any other person of functions under this Act.

(9)A person guilty of an offence under subsection (8) above shall be liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine, or to both; and

(b)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

(10)Nothing in this section shall be taken to compel the production by a barrister, advocate or solicitor of a document containing a privileged communication made by or to him in that capacity or to authorise the taking of possession of any such document which is in his possession.

(11)In the application of this section to Scotland, "justice of the peace" shall be read as including a sheriff and a magistrate.

(12)Nothing in this section shall be taken as authorising a local weights and measures authority in Scotland to institute proceedings for an offence.

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