The government are due to amend the Trade Bill today to protect existing standards for animal welfare, workers rights and the environment in future trade agreements. They have submitted a slightly tweaked version of the amendment put forward by Green Party Baroness Jones. Continue reading “Trade Bill – Green win protects current standards”
I had a meeting this week with Trade Minister Baroness Fairhead to discuss my amendment to the Trade Bill which aims to make our existing standards the foundation of all new trade agreements. Despite the number of advisors in the meeting on the government side, no one could give any reason why my amendment was bad in law or in principle. From what Ministers say in public, we are all in agreement about not using trade deals to lower standards. The main disagreement is over whether we need this principle enshrined in law. Continue reading “Meeting with Minister on Trade Bill changes”
“I voted with Labour and Lib Dem peers (plus a few Conservatives) for a motion that ruled out the diaster of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. As well as the obvious impacts on food supply, businesses and people’s lives, there is a huge backlog of legislation that the government is failing to get through.
It is staggering that by the 29th March we have to deal with: 6 major Bills; 9 statutes; 600 statutory instruments; 120,000 EU statutes to transfer in UK law; produce a schedule for WTO; and 5,000+ WTO product lines to be agreed by 163 WTO countries. The only sensible option is to rule out a no deal.”
Following a recent meeting with the National Farmers Union (NFU) I asked the government what they were doing to reduce the 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gases that come from the agriculture sector. There are quite a few initiatives being taken, but none on the scale needed to make a significant impact, according to the Climate Change Commission. The draft Agriculture Bill offers a rare chance to change the system of financial incentives to give a boost to public goods, such as reducing climate change and rewilding the countryside.
Many of the follow up questions from other peers raised vital points about reducing food waste and the failure of voluntary measures. Also, the need for a clear government timetable for reducing emissions down to zero. This is how the Minister replied:
“With the environment Bill and the Agriculture Bill, we will bring forward an environmental land management scheme where mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are going to be so important. Therefore, public money for public good is part of what we are providing, along with specific schemes to reduce, for instance, ammonia.”
As the NFU have made clear, the big challenges of Brexit are as a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared with the climate emergency which is unfolding on our planet. I hope the environmental movement will try its best to use the Agriculture Bill to fundamentally change how we produce what we eat. While we as consumers think carefully about what we eat.
Unlike MPs, who receive state funding, members of the House of Lords don’t receive any financial support to employ staff or fund office costs.
As the only Green in the House of Lords, covering as many issues as I can, I need staff to help me with research and press work. I have a small, part time team (equivalent to one full time person) who are paid for from donations from people like you. Continue reading “Crowdfunder to support Jenny’s work”
The National Audit Office has today published its report on “The Packaging Recycling Obligations”
The report proves that our recycling system is broken and we really need to focus on producing and consuming less. We have relied on exporting our waste to foreign countries and using them as our dumping grounds. We are exporting waste that is wrongly being recorded as being for recycling, when it contains so much non-recycling material that it will have to go to landfill or incineration. Continue reading “Rethinking recycling”
July 5th is the 62nd anniversary of the first Clean Air Act becoming law
Local people and communities around the country would be able to take legal action to defend their right to clean air if the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill I introduced today became law. This week’s air pollution episode throughout England and Wales illustrates how widespread the legal actions could become, as people seek to get corporations to change their behaviour and to force councils and government bodies to reduce pollution. Continue reading “Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill launch”
I love watching a good game of football, but I would never let that stand in the way of voting through environmental protections in the Lords. I’m furious that a ‘cross party’ group of peers have convinced Lord Krebs to drop the amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill today, just so that we can reach the amendment on giving the commons a meaningful vote before the game starts. Quite simply, the opposition whips were afraid that their peers would leave, while the Rugby and Cricket loving Conservatives stayed. This is no way to run Parliament and it’s time we replaced the Lords with an elected second chamber. Continue reading “Football scuppers Lords vote on environmental protection”
Amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill come back to the Lords today and while the media is focused upon giving the Commons a meaningful vote over the EU negotiations, a lot of other critical issues are at stake. Deleting the Henry 8th powers is crucial if Parliament wants to genuinely take back control of power from the executive. Retaining the charter of Human Rights would show that we intend to remain a progressive and democratic country. Continue reading “The Lords take a second bite”