Healthy rivers, healthy wildlife

Water companies have been urged to “shoulder their responsibilities” by researchers who found that “poor management” of sewage was the main source of microplastic pollution in UK rivers. Meanwhile, Greens in the Lords are considering putting an amendment to the Environment Bill banning water companies from pollluting rivers.

Experts from the University of Manchester’s geography department claimed water firms were not properly treating or disposing of wastewater, causing microplastic particles to sit on riverbeds for “weeks and months” and putting wildlife at risk.

Healthy streams and rivers provide the foundation for thousands of our species in the UK. The maintenance of these waters is not just of utmost importance to the tiny creatures that feed in them and at their edges but also to every other being impacted as nutrients or chemicals are passed up the food chain, ultimately having a harmful impact on our own health.

This research should come as a wake-up call to the government, who for so long have allowed water companies to get away with criminal acts against nature without appropriate sanction.

Microplastic pollution is a serious threat to river wildlife and its presence, alongside unregulated toxic chemical and sewage discharge, has not been sufficiently controlled. The government has the responsibility to to protect our natural environment- and as Greens we would also support an Ecocide Law, to enable swifter legal redress.

Private Notice Question following the Poplar fire

Is there anybody in government or in the wider Conservative Party who can either make the Prime Minister honour his promises or stop him making any further false promises?

For those in buildings more than 18 metres tall with combustible cladding yet to be fixed, the government has allocated £3.5bn in new grant funding, which is welcome, but not enough. That leaves hundreds of thousands of others in unsellable homes in lower-rise blocks with the same cladding, who are disappointed at the offer of loans. And for people with other non-cladding fire safety problems, there is nothing. This backtracks on the key government promise that leaseholders should have no costs to pay.

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Forensic Science and the Criminal Justice System (Science & Technology Committee Report)

I believe that it is impossible to separate forensic science from the wider undermining of criminal justice funding that has occurred during 11 years of Conservative cuts. The Government have treated people’s innocence as an unaffordable and optional luxury, rather than the underpinning of the fabric of society’s trust in the justice system. When people realise that innocent people can go to jail and guilty people can go free because of failures in the system that the Government have allowed to happen, the whole system is doomed. Continue reading “Forensic Science and the Criminal Justice System (Science & Technology Committee Report)”

Domestic Abuse Bill Ping Pong

The reasons the Commons have given for rejecting our amendments are absolutely pathetic. I just do not see how the Government can persist in their blindness towards what is happening in society and not at least try to make it a bit better. I fully realise that the Bill is a very valuable one and we absolutely need it, but why not make it as good as we possibly can?

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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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Public service and private enrichment: the need for legal separation

Existing regimes often fail to ensure that people in government and politics work for the public interest and not for private gain. We need a legal, formal separation of public service from private enrichment. We need to hold former Ministers, former politicians and even former lawyers to much higher standards than exist at present. Continue reading “Public service and private enrichment: the need for legal separation”

Considering the climate in advice to Planning Inspectors

Any national planning system that allows Heathrow to expand or fails to stop new and bigger roads, is clearly not going to deliver net zero emissions. At a local level we are still building new houses that will have to be retrofitted in the next few years and incinerators that add to greenhouse gas emissions.

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Undercover Policing Inquiry – no access to Special Branch registry files

Baroness Clark of Kilwinning tabled an Oral Question to ask HMG what assessment they have made of the progress of the Undercover Policing Inquiry into police surveillance, established in 2015.

I said: My Lords, the chair of the inquiry has ruled that the Special Branch registry files, which could give more information about the work of undercover officers, will not be part of the inquiry. That means that the truth will be very filtered, which makes it hard for core participants, who feel that they will not get justice. Would the Minister agree to a meeting with me and perhaps a member of each of the opposition parties to discuss the major flaws in the inquiry and why the core participants are so upset?

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