Environment Bill Committee Stage Day 5 – Waste

We all know that the international waste economy is a nasty, polluting system, where the richest countries are using the poorest countries as dump sites—as giant landfill sites. Many people would be outraged to see that the recycling that they so carefully do is just baled up and dumped on poor countries and among poor communities, who then have to suffer the pollution that it causes.

I am also concerned about the increasing capacity of UK incinerators. From what I can see, the planned capacity of these incinerators will soon far exceed the amount of waste that the UK produces. Many local authorities are, of course, tied into 25-year contracts with such businesses. This means they will be looking around for waste to burn.

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Environment Bill Committee Stage Day 4

The window for action is closing, not just of this Bill but of all our actions on the climate emergency. At the moment we are seeing endless examples of very unusual weather patterns, whether in Canada or over much of Africa. We have to understand that we have to act urgently. The fact that the OEP will have fewer resources than the preceding body is a matter of huge concern. It is obvious that we all think there are problems with this Bill. Continue reading “Environment Bill Committee Stage Day 4”

Building to fail

We cannot solve Britain’s housing crisis by building shoddy homes in dangerous places, We need high-quality, safe, energy-efficient homes situated in ecologically sound places. If the Government live up to their stated environmental ambitions or have the slightest bit of common sense, the way forward is obvious: we simply do not build on flood plains. It is a national problem that we cannot fix once these houses are built, because they will not be safe, dry or good to live in and it will be impossible to insure them. Once again, the Government are building for failure, and I do not understand why any Government would do that. Continue reading “Building to fail”

‘Due Regard’ is a get out clause

My Amendment 75 to the Environment Bill would flesh out the environmental principles so that they reflect a much broader set of principles, written in simple, understandable language. For example, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle would actually be explained and defined. It would also add things such as using the “best available scientific knowledge”, the principles of public participation and the principle of “sustainability” to take into account the health of present generations and the needs of future generations.

Taken together, these amendments would create an accessible blueprint for our country and for the planet. They would set out the clear environmental principles on which our future would be founded, and require—not simply invite—the Government to implement those principles in all areas of policy. This is the type of legislation that a Green Government would implement, these are the principles that we would apply and these are the ways in which we would make ourselves accountable to Parliament, to the courts, and to future generations. Continue reading “‘Due Regard’ is a get out clause”

Environment Bill – the reduction of meat and dairy consumption

Farming accounts for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Changing the way we use our land is critical to delivering the UK’s Net Zero target. It is time for the Government to start facing up to this reality. The Prime Minister should use his political capital to begin this conversation and start this road to a more sustainable diet.  I would like to set him a challenge: persuading the public that modifying our diets is an important step towards net zero. Continue reading “Environment Bill – the reduction of meat and dairy consumption”

Environment Bill Day 1 – purpose and potential

Without these amendments the Bill risks falling far short of what it needs to achieve. Without these amendments, setting out the clear purpose, there will be a danger of policymakers and the courts interpreting this legislation far too narrowly. Without these amendments, there is very little to bind the decisions made under the Bill.

Then there is the requirement for the Prime Minister to declare a climate and ecological emergency. Why has he not done so already? This must happen before COP 26. It is impossible for the United Kingdom to give any type of leadership at COP 26 without this declaration. It should form the very foundation of COP and be the basis for negotiations there.

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The Environment Bill finally reaches the Lords

I am not going to argue that we have an environmental or ecological crisis, or a nature or planetary crisis, because for me those things are absolutely self-evident. What we have is a political crisis. The Government are creating a new system of environmental law that is almost undeserving of being called law because it is so full of loopholes and get-out clauses and allows unlawful acts to carry on unimpeded. We have to be absolutely sure that what we are doing is the safest way forward. The Government simply do not understand that the environment encompasses everything. It is not an issue on its own; it encompasses the economy, transport, education and social well-being. It is absolutely everything, and this Bill is our one opportunity to get it right.
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What are HMG’s aims for Cop26?

Will it not be embarrassing for a Government who cannot stick to the Paris Agreement? They are dithering about opening new coal mines, they are planning new roads and they are encouraging airport expansion—plus they have just given £750 million to a Mozambique scheme for a fossil fuel project. How is this reducing global CO2 emissions?

Read the whole debate on Hansard

New climate targets, but no restraint on domestic flights

I won the ballot for Topical Oral Question, for the first time, on 20th April with this question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the passing of a law by the National Assembly of France to prohibit domestic flights to destinations that can be reached by train in two and a half hours or less, what consideration they have given to reducing domestic air travel in the United Kingdom.

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