If it is bad for the environment, it is probably not a good idea to do it

It is useful to see just how far the Government will go in trying to block all these common-sense amendments. Lord Krebs pointed out that this was meant to be a non-regression Bill but when the Minister said that, I choked, because it is so patently untrue.

My Lords, I thank all Lords who have taken part in this debate, even the ones who have disagreed broadly because, although it is not good for my temper, it is good to see just how far the Government will go in trying to block all these common-sense amendments. I thank Lords for their valuable contributions to that.

Lady Parminter, was excellent on her amendment, and I hope that we can do something more on Report. Lady Bakewell, sort of implied a threat, which is completely contrary to her gentle nature—but, obviously, a threat is what the Government will understand. Lady Parminter, also talked about too many caveats and too many exceptions, and of course that is absolutely right. We have to make sure that the MoD does not do things such as cutting up hundreds of trees that were planted in honour of the Queen or putting pylons in muddy rivers where they are not needed. This is exactly the sort of organisation that needs some environmental principles.

I thank Lady McIntosh, for her support; it is always good to have her support across the Chamber. Lord Wigley, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead, talked about the other Governments, and I support what they said completely. I thank Lady Boycott, for her support and for signing the amendment. It is incredibly important that we work across the Chamber and cross-party, so I look forward to working with her on this in the future.

It is always good to hear from my friend Lady Bennett, who is much more clinical and knowledgeable than I am. She wields a scimitar much better than I do; I am far too friendly for your Lordships, really. She made a point about security and the environment being linked, and we see this in almost every area. There are places in the world that have been growing our pineapples and bananas that will not be able to in the future, when they have droughts and all sorts of intemperate weather. This means they will be under threat, so we may have to move around. We cannot divorce these things—in fact, you cannot divorce any topic—from the environment.

I did not quite pick up what the Duke of Wellington, was saying, but I think he was supporting us and I thank him. If I got that wrong, he can see me afterwards. Of course, I am always grateful for the support of Lady Young of Old Scone.

I say to Lady Neville-Rolfe, yes, of course there will be things we cannot do because of the precautionary principle. This goes for Lord Caithness, as well: if it is bad for the environment, it is probably not a good idea to do it. We can use lots of other areas for innovation, and Greens love innovation. We love using technology where it fits—if it fits all the criteria we are talking about, for the well-being of humanity and of the planet.

I did not agree with anything said by Lord Trenchard, but that is the norm.

I thank Lady Quin; that was a calm exposition agreeing with Amendments 73 and 76, which is very valuable. Of course, it is fantastic to have the support of Lord Krebs, on anything. He pointed out that this was meant to be a non-regression Bill but, quite honestly, when the Minister said that it is, I choked. I started coughing because it is so patently untrue.

Lady Hayman, sounds so reasonable. I wish I had some of her reasonableness when, at the same time, she is very tough. That is fantastic.

In dismissing this list, the Minister talked about how the current principles are based on case law and so on. The Government have already lost so many cases because they do not understand environmental principles. In fact, the stronger the basket, the structure, we can have around every single government department, the better it will be for all of us. I am sure we will fight over that many times.

Are the exclusions of the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury necessary for agility? I do not think so. That sounds like the sort of argument that could easily be dismissed, so I would be interested to see where the Minister got it from. It does not risk confusion if we have more; in fact, it clarifies things to have better and clearer principles. I argue that the amendments in this group are vital and that the Government will have a tough job to convince us otherwise. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 73 withdrawn.

Please note most of our amendments will be re-tabled and hopefully voted on at Report Stage

Read the whole debate on Hansard