Clean Air Bill passes Third Reading

This is the first time in UK history that the Green Party has passed legislation through a chamber in Westminster

My speech to the house this morning:

I wish to record my thanks to this whole House for letting my Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill progress so quickly after topping the ballot of Private Members’ Bills.

As it heads to the Other Place, I would like to highlight four quick points.

First, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Great Smog, we should learn its greatest lesson which is to take action!  The Clean Air Act 1956 showed how clean air legislation can drive innovation and deliver dramatic gains for a healthier, happier and fairer society.  It also made us a world leader.

Second, Parliament has the need, the power and the opportunity to enshrine the human right to clean air precisely and explicitly in England and Wales law.  Doing so would improve the quality of decision-making at all levels of government overnight.

Third, my Bill is reasonable.  It would: establish the right to breathe clean air; set clean air targets for air pollutants and greenhouse gases; set deadlines while allowing postponements; encourage renewable energy and energy efficiency; and ensure a proportional approach to enforcement.

Fourth I would like to remind the Government that the very first Clean Air Act was enacted by a Conservative government after Sir Gerald Nabarro MP, a Conservative MP, topped the Private Members’ Ballot with a Clean Air Bill that would implement the Beaver Committee’s recommendations for action after the Great Smog.

I hope therefore that MPs will support my Bill and that the Government will allow it time to progress in the Other Place and reach Royal Assent. If the Government doesn’t, I hope that all other political parties will adopt it in their manifestos for the next election.

Lastly, I wish to pay tribute to Rosamund Adoo Kissi-Debrah who is with us again today.  I hope that this House’s action in sending my Bill to the Other Place will demonstrate, more clearly than I can say, that we hear her call for action.

My Lords, I give you Ella’s Law.

Life at 2 degrees of warming

COP27 failed to make progress on reducing emissions and the awful reality is that our current economic and political system can’t deliver the necessary change, quickly enough. So have you started wondering how everyday life is going to change in the next ten years due to the climate emergency? It is a timescale that many of us can grasp. My grandchildren will be in their late twenties and I will be retired and struggling to keep the allotment in shape. What will your life be like and what will be the new normal?

Continue reading “Life at 2 degrees of warming”

Public Order Bill committee stage day 1

This is clearly rubbish legislation. For example, there is a lack of a definition of “serious disruption”, what about arresting the Government for serious disruption to the NHS over the last 12 years? I would support that. The criminal courts in this country are crumbling and cannot cope with the number of cases that they have at the moment. Yet here the Government will insist on more cases which will clog up the courts even more. This is so right-wing; it is not an appropriate Bill for a democracy. Continue reading “Public Order Bill committee stage day 1”

Zero Hour

To ask HMG, further to the publication of the all-party, UK-wide Nature and Climate Declaration on 1 November 2022, what steps are they taking to (1) reduce the full scope of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions in line with limiting global heating to 1.5°C, (2) halt and reverse biodiversity decline by 2030, and (3) deliver a more ambitious and integrated environmental protection and decarbonisation plan. Continue reading “Zero Hour”

Public Order Bill arrives in Lords

The Government really do not need the sort of repressive powers in the Bill that are worthy of Russia, China or Iran. We should vote against this legislation—again—to protect the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly and the right to protest, which is what we expect in a free society. Of course protest is inherently disruptive; that is its nature. But do the Lords know what is more disruptive? The fossil fuel companies and extractive industries that are destroying our planet, and the billionaires who are amassing huge claims over the world’s resources while everyone else worries about how to pay our energy bills this winter. BP has made £7 billion profit in three months, yet we will pay the extra cost of coastal defences and higher food prices for the next three decades or more. Shell makes £9.5 billion profit in a quarter. They have billions in the bank; we will have a country that swings from drought and wildfires to floods of sewage. Every dollar or pound that the oil and gas companies make equals the world becoming a worse place for generations. That is what real disruption means, and we have a Government encouraging it with tax breaks and licences for big business. Continue reading “Public Order Bill arrives in Lords”

Energy Prices Bill

I understand that something must be done, but this is not it. I want the Minister to explain two issues: will people be able to pay their energy bills, and will this cause more investment in dirty oil and gas? This Bill has so little detail, the Government are proposing to fill in about 90% of the details at a later date, and they expect us to just wave it through. We cannot know the impact of this Bill on ordinary people, but we know the Government have been determined to protect the profits of oil and gas companies. The Government are expecting us to take this Bill on trust and I do not trust the Government. Continue reading “Energy Prices Bill”

Drax subsidy should be spent on insulation and solar panels say Green Party Baroness

Green Party Baroness, Jenny Jones, has called for the billions of
pounds currently being used to subsidise Drax Power Station to be used
for insulating homes and putting up solar panels. A BBC investigation
(Panorama 3/10/2022) has exposed the truth behind National Power’s
claims that it uses sawdust and  waste wood to fuel its giant,
electricity producing incinerator. Whole trees are being felled and
transported from as far away as Canada to burn in the UK. Much of this
is Drax logging precious ancient forest in British Columbia as well as
South East USA.

Continue reading “Drax subsidy should be spent on insulation and solar panels say Green Party Baroness”

Energy Bill payback due from renewables

Renewables are due to start paying back money to consumers this month, as the cost of producing energy from wind and solar drops well below the cost of energy bills. The figures on how much is cut from bills will be announced every quarter, with a small change growing into a more significant sum as the price cap rises in October and the new year.

Continue reading “Energy Bill payback due from renewables”