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After Standing Order 83 insert the following new Standing Order:
“83A Comments on environmental statement (HC 224A)
(1) This order applies to any government bill in relation to which the Examiner decides Standing Orders 4 to 68 are applicable and in relation to which an environmental statement is required to be deposited under Standing Order 27A.
(2) In this order: “the relevant Minister” means the Minister of the Crown with responsibility for the bill; “the environmental statement” means the environmental information originally deposited by the relevant Minister in relation to the bill for the purpose of Standing Order 27A; “supplementary environmental information” means any additional environmental information deposited by the relevant Minister, after the deposit of the environmental statement, to supplement that statement for the purpose of meeting the requirements of any EU Directive relating to environmental assessment.
(3) The notice published under Standing Order 10 in relation to the bill shall state that any person who wishes to make comments on the environmental statement should send them to the relevant Minister in such manner and on or before such date as shall be specified by the relevant Minister in the notice, that date being no earlier than the 56th day after the first publication of the notice.
(4) For the purpose of Standing Order 83 paragraph (3) shall be treated as one of the Standing Orders compliance with which must be examined by the Examiner.
(5) The relevant Minister shall, in such form as may be specified by the Examiner, publish and deposit in the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments any comments received by him in accordance with this order and shall also submit those comments to the independent assessor appointed under paragraph (6) below. The relevant Minister shall deposit a certificate in the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments setting out the date on which all comments have been received by the independent assessor.
(6) (a) If the bill originated in this House and if comments are received on the environmental statement in accordance with this order:
(i) a report shall be prepared by an independent assessor summarising the issues raised by those comments;
(ii) the Examiner shall appoint the independent assessor within the period for commenting on the environmental statement prescribed by paragraph (3) above;
(iii) the assessor shall be instructed to prepare the report within such period as the Examiner shall specify, the end of that period being no earlier than the 28th day after the date certified by the relevant Minister, in accordance with paragraph (5) above, as the date on which the assessor received all of the comments from the relevant Minister;
(iv) before specifying a period in accordance with sub-sub-paragraph (iii) above, the Examiner shall consult the relevant Minister on the length of this period;
(v) the Examiner shall submit the report of the assessor to the House.
(b) If a report is submitted to the House in accordance with sub-paragraph (a)(v) above, the Examiner has leave to submit the report of the assessor to the House of Commons.
(7) If paragraph (6) above is applied, the bill shall not receive a second reading until at least 14 days after the report of the independent assessor on the comments on the environmental statement has been submitted to the House.
(8) If any supplementary environmental information is deposited in relation to the bill:
(a) it shall be prefaced with a statement that the information is being deposited as supplementary information under this order;
(b) the requirements of Standing Order 27A in relation to the deposit of copies of the environmental statement shall apply to the supplementary environmental information;
(c) copies of the supplementary environmental information shall be made available for inspection and sale at the offices prescribed by Standing Order 27A(5);
(d) notice shall be published in accordance with Standing Order 10 (save in respect of dates) above stating that any person who wishes to make comments on the supplementary environmental information should send them to the relevant Minister in such manner and within such period as may be specified in the notice, the end of that period being no earlier than the 42nd day after the date of the first publication of the notice;
(e) paragraphs (5) and (6) above shall have effect in relation to any comments received on any supplementary environmental information deposited in this House as they apply to comments received on the environmental statement and irrespective of the bill’s House of origin;
(f) the Examiner shall examine and report to the House whether or not paragraphs (8)(a) to (d) have been complied with and Standing Order 83 shall apply to that examination;
(g) the bill shall not receive a third reading in this House or, if supplementary environmental information has been submitted before second reading, second reading in this House until at least 14 days after the assessor’s report on the comments on the supplementary environmental information has been submitted to the House.
(9) At third reading of the bill the relevant Minister shall set out:
(a) the main reasons and considerations upon which Parliament is invited to give consent to the project to be authorised by the bill;
(b) the main measures to avoid, reduce and, if possible, offset the major adverse effects of the project.
A written statement setting out this information shall be laid before this House not less than 7 days before third reading.
(10) The costs of the assessor and also the costs of the process of appointing an assessor, incurred by the House by virtue of paragraphs (6) and (8)(e) above, shall be reimbursed by the government.
For the avoidance of doubt, any supplementary environmental information accompanying an amendment to a bill which, if the bill were a private bill, would require a petition for an additional provision shall be subject to paragraph (8) above and not paragraph (3) or (7) above.”