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Deregulation Act 2015

Mining Industry Act 1920

895.Paragraph 4 of this Schedule repeals the Mining Industry Act 1920 (“the 1920 Act”) in its entirety.

896.The 1920 Act concerned the re-organisation of the mining and quarrying industries post World War One, and in particular covered recruitment, welfare and pension provisions. The majority of the Act has been repealed as having achieved its objective, and the remaining provisions concern administrative arrangements which are no longer useful. The coal mining industry in particular has been completely restructured, most recently by the Coal Industry Act 1994 (c. 21), since the 1920 Act became law.

897.Sections 2, 4 and 23 concern outdated administrative arrangements. Section 2(1) conferred on the Board of Trade (“the Board”) the powers of a Secretary of State under mining and quarrying legislation. However the Board’s powers have, by various transfers of functions orders over the years, been transferred back to the Secretary of State. Section 2(3) imposed functions on the Board, firstly, concerning information and statistics relating to the mining industry. This provision is no longer needed as similar functions were conferred on the Coal Authority by the Coal Industry Act 1994 in relation to coal mining, and in respect of other aspects of the mining industry the Secretary of State’s existing powers to gather and disseminate information and statistics are considered sufficient. Secondly, functions were imposed on the Board regarding research in relation to matters connected with the Board’s functions. As the functions of the Board are now those of the Secretary of State, this is also redundant.

898.Section 4 concerned the appointment of committees to give the Board advice and assistance in relation to the mining industries. As the functions of the Board are now those of the Secretary of State, who has the benefit of the modern civil service and access to expert advice as needed, this provision is redundant.

899.Section 23 allowed the Board and any other government department to make arrangements for the exercise of each other’s functions relating to mines and the mining industry. This is not needed in relation to the powers of the Secretary of State, because any Secretary of State can exercise the functions, and in relation to functions exercised by agencies, such as the Health and Safety Executive, it would not be appropriate for the Secretary of State to seek to exercise those functions.

900.Sections 18 and 22 concern the ability of the Board to hold inquiries and make schemes as to the drainage of mines. The powers have been very little used since 1920, and are considered not likely to be needed again, in view of the decline of the mining industries in the United Kingdom. Private arrangements can be made between neighbouring mine and land owners.

901.The 1920 Act forms part of the law of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but the repeal made by paragraph 4 forms part of the law of England and Wales and Northern Ireland only. The amendments of the 1920 Act come into force at the end of the period of 2 months beginning with the day on which the Act is passed.

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