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Energy Act 2008

Section 70: Security for decommissioning obligations

316.This section inserts a new section 110A (Protection of funds held for purposes of decommissioning) and a new section 110B (Directions to provide information about protected assets) into the Energy Act 2004.

317.New section 110A applies to any security which has been provided in relation to the carrying out of an approved decommissioning programme or for compliance with the conditions of its approval. This is designed to ensure that, in the event of insolvency of a person responsible for decommissioning an OREI, the funds set aside for meeting those liabilities remain available for decommissioning and are not available to the general body of creditors. This protection applies where funds have been set aside in a secure way (such as a trust or other arrangement) for meeting obligations under a decommissioning programme.

318.To enable this, section 110A(3) states that the security is to be used in accordance with the trust or other arrangements under which the security has been set up. Section 110A(4) disapplies any provision of the Insolvency Act 1986, the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 or any other enactment or rule of law where its operation would prevent or restrict the security being used for the purpose for which it was set up (meeting decommissioning liabilities).

319.New section 110B is intended to ensure that creditors and potential future creditors of a person responsible for a decommissioning programme are aware of any decommissioning funds protected by section 110A. The Secretary of State may direct that information regarding relevant security arrangements is published by the person responsible for the decommissioning programme (for example, in the financial pages of that person’s website). This will ensure that informed decisions can be made by creditors and potential future creditors. Section 110B(3) enables the Secretary of State, or a creditor of the person responsible for a decommissioning programme, to apply for a court order to ensure compliance with a direction and under section 110B(4), the court may order the security provider to take steps to comply with the direction. Sections 110B(5) and (6) provide definitions of the terms “the protected assets”, “security provider”, and “the court” for the purposes of this section.

320.Subsection (2) widens the interpretation of security to include insurance, for the purposes of funds which will be protected from creditors in the event of insolvency. This brings the definition of security in offshore renewables in line with the regimes for nuclear and oil and gas decommissioning.

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