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Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2023

Section 178 — Access to evidence at inquirySection 179 — Payment of appointed representative where access to evidence restricted

660.At a local inquiry held under this Part, section 178 requires all oral evidence to be heard in public and all documentary evidence to be available for public inspection. However, where the Welsh Ministers or the Secretary of State consider that public disclosure would be likely to reveal information about national security or the security of any premises or property and would be against the national interest, subsection (2) provides that the Welsh Ministers or the Secretary of State may direct that oral evidence be heard and documents be inspected by specific people only.

661.If such a direction is being considered, the Counsel General, the Welsh Government’s law officer and chief legal advisor, may appoint a person (an “appointed representative”) to represent the interests of those people who would be prevented from hearing or inspecting the evidence.

662.Section 179 provides for the payment of the appointed representative whether or not an inquiry takes place. The Welsh Ministers or the Secretary of State may direct a “responsible person” with a national security or other interest in the inquiry to pay the appointed representative’s expenses. If, for instance, a local inquiry were held in connection with an appeal relating to a listed building on an active military base in Wales, there could easily be reasons for limiting access to information in the interest of national security. In such a case, the Welsh Ministers or the Secretary of State might direct the Ministry of Defence, as the responsible person, to pay the costs of the appointed representative.

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