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Health Protection Agency Act 2004

Section 3: Radiation Protection Functions

14.Subsection (1) of section 3 gives the Agency certain functions in the area of radiation protection. These are similar to those given to the National Radiological Protection Board by the Radiological Protection Act 1970 (c.46), although they go wider than those functions in that the Health Protection Agency will also be able to undertake activities in relation to ultrasound.

15.Subsection (2) allows the appropriate authority (as defined in section 6) to direct the Agency to take responsibility for functions which are carried out at the date of commencement by the National Radiological Protection Board. The National Radiological Protection Board provides a secretariat for one advisory non-departmental public body (the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment) and a support unit for another (the Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee). The power makes it possible to direct the Agency to take over those functions. The power is subject to prior consultation as provided for by subsection (6).

16.Subsection (3) provides a power for the appropriate authority (as defined in section 6) to direct the Agency to exercise additional radiation protection functions. The power is similar to that provided by section 1(6)(a) and (c) of the Radiological Protection Act 1970, under which the Secretary of State for Health is able to confer additional radiation protection functions on the National Radiological Protection Board. (Again, ultrasound is not excluded from the matters in which the Agency may undertake a role). Subsection (6) qualifies the power in subsection (3) by making it subject to prior consultation.

17.Subsection (4) provides a power similar to that provided by section 1(7A) of the Radiological Protection Act 1970. Under the old power Health Ministers (as defined in the 1970 Act) may direct the National Radiological Protection Board to enter into an agreement with the Health and Safety Commission for the Board to carry out on behalf of the Commission certain of the Commission's functions. The new power applies also in respect of an agreement with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. The power is subject to prior consultation as provided for by subsection (6).

18.Subsection (5) together with subsection (7) provide that the Agency must consult the Health and Safety Commission in relation to Great Britain or the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and have regard to those bodies' policies in exercising any function in which the Commission or the Executive has an interest. This is similar to the obligation placed on the National Radiological Protection Board by section 1(6A) of the Radiological Protection Act 1970.

19.Subsection (8) makes it clear that the giving of a direction under subsection (2) or (3) does not alienate the function from the appropriate authority.

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