The Drax power station has been taken to court twice this year for air pollution offences. I questioned the Minister because it’s obvious that Drax is bad for the local environment and for the planet.
If you make protests impossible to perform legally, criminalise non-violent direct action, abolish or restrict the ability of citizens to challenge the Government in court through judicial reviews, turn people against lawyers, gerrymander the election boundaries and dish out cash in the way that looks best for Conservative MPs, that is deep, dark politics. Many of us here are not particularly political and perhaps do not see the dangers inherent in what the Government are doing. It all seems like a calculated ploy to turn all the cards in favour of an unaccountable Government that cannot be challenged in the courts, at the ballot box or on the streets.
There is no logical reason why you would want to replace the Edmonton Incinerator in North London, nor build any of the other 50 new waste incinerators that are in the planning pipeline at the moment.
Most of us here in this Chamber will die of old age. By contrast, many of the young people at school today will die from the consequences of climate change: flash floods, droughts, and conflicts brought about by shifting climatic conditions. It is going to be an unstable world—more than it is already.
This is an emergency and a crisis, and the Government are not stepping up. For all their fine words, they do not measure up to the task.Continue reading “This is an emergency and a crisis, and the Government are not stepping up”
Although old train engines and boats do contribute to air pollution, they will be fairly localised and minimal compared with other emissions being pumped out by, for example, the Government building new roads or opening new coal mines—or indeed allowing the growth of incinerators all over the country that operate without proper regulations.
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The City of London Corporation, London Councils, Clean Air London, a Lib Dem Peer and a Green Peer: these are people you might not think would naturally link together—but on this issue we are speaking with one voice. There is a problem and we have to fix it, and this is how you can fix it.
It is obvious to anybody looking in from outside that the office for environmental protection must do things such as hitting the share price of a water company whenever it dumps sewage into our rivers. We must have an independent OEP that commissions research into the impact of pesticides on our wildlife and insects and hands it over to MPs so that they can actually challenge Ministers and the lobbyists in Whitehall. We need an OEP that can say a straightforward no to damaging developments, whether it is infrastructure or development, urban or rural. It should not be suggesting mitigation and greenwash, which is what could happen with such a toothless watchdog. This country needs an OEP that is a rottweiler and not a lapdog.
Continue reading “The Office for Environmental Protection cannot be a lapdog”
What is the point of having targets if there is no duty to meet them?
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Lord Caithness has made the classic Conservative error of separating biodiversity from climate. It is all interconnected: you cannot talk about either without accepting that each has an impact on the other. Every noble Lord must understand that we have a climate emergency, and therefore this government Environment Bill is not good enough. We all know that–it is why there are so many amendments at Report. It is our job to improve the Bill and it is the Government’s job to listen and, I hope, accept our improvements. Continue reading “You cannot separate biodiversity from climate”
The government’s decision not to review the expansion of Heathrow, despite the obvious impacts on the climate emergency, is just one of the backward steps on the journey to COP26. The backward steps are the big decisions on climate change that can be categorised as ‘business as usual’ and won’t appear on any government media release. The £27bn road building programme, the thousands of homes and buildings being constructed that don’t meet zero carbon standards and the large number of waste incinerators. Even the fact that we are holding an inquiry into a new coal mine in Cumbria, or dishing out development licences for oil and gas exploration is bizarre when the science is telling us that the Greenland ice sheet is going to disappear and the seas rise by at least 7m (the palace of Westminster is 6m above sea level).