—(1) Subject to this section, no person other than a gas transporter shall commence or carry out, or cause or permit the commencement or carrying out of, any earthworks within the vicinity of any gas plant or gas pipe in a gas pipeline network owned by, or under the management or control of, the gas transporter unless the person —
has given to the gas transporter not less than 7 days’ notice in writing of the date on which it is proposed to commence the earthworks;
has obtained from the gas transporter the necessary information on the location of the gas plant or gas pipe; and
has consulted the gas transporter on the steps to be taken to prevent the gas plant or gas pipe from being damaged while the earthworks are being carried out.
(2) The Authority may, if it thinks fit in any particular case, modify the period for which a notice under subsection (1)(a) is to be given to a gas transporter.
(3) It shall be the duty of the person who commences or carries out, or causes or permits the commencement or carrying out of, any earthworks referred to in subsection (1) —
to comply with all reasonable requirements of the gas transporter for the prevention of damage to the gas plant or gas pipe;
to ensure that reasonable precautions are taken when such earthworks are being carried out to prevent any damage to the gas plant or gas pipe; and
to allow the gas transporter reasonable access to the work site for the purpose of inspecting or taking any necessary measures to protect the gas plant or gas pipe.
(4) It shall be the duty of the gas transporter to whom a notice under subsection (1)(a) has been given —
to promptly inform the person giving the notice of the location of the gas plant or gas pipe, and to provide the person with such other information as may be necessary to enable him to ascertain the exact location of the gas plant or gas pipe;
to advise the person on the precautions to be taken to prevent damage to the gas plant or gas pipe; and
to take all such measures at the work site as may be reasonable and necessary for the protection of the gas plant or gas pipe and, in so doing, the gas transporter shall have regard to the potential risks and dangers that can arise from any damage to the gas plant or gas pipe.
(5) Nothing in subsection (1) shall prohibit a person from commencing or carrying out, or causing or permitting the commencement or carrying out of, any earthworks where he has reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary to do so in the interest of public or private safety.
(6) The person referred to in subsection (5) shall, as soon as practicable but not more than 24 hours after the earthworks have been commenced or carried out, give to the gas transporter notice in writing stating the nature and extent of those earthworks.
(7) Any person who contravenes subsection (1), (3) or (6) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both.
(8) Subject to subsection (9), in any proceedings for an offence under subsection (7), it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove —
that he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence.
(9) If, in any proceedings for an offence under subsection (7), the defence involves acting on information supplied by a gas transporter, the person charged shall not, without leave of the court, be entitled to rely on that defence unless he has, within 14 clear days before the hearing, served on the prosecutor a notice in writing giving such information as was then in his possession identifying or assisting in the identification of the person who supplied him with the information.