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.

Overcrowding at the Manston processing site

The government’s minister said yesterday: if these people were not crossing the Channel illegally, the situation would not have occurred. This ignores the cuts in staffing, the impact of privatisation and the general collpase of the immigration processing system. Rather than addressing these issues and the complete lack of legal routes, the Minister just ignored my question and showed no remorse or sense of shame. Continue reading “Overcrowding at the Manston processing site”

Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill passes Report Stage in the House of Lords

The bill will now have its Third Reading this Friday 2nd December before passing to the Commons where Caroline Lucas MP will pick it up. Although it will then go into the bottom of the pile of Commons Private Member’s Bills this is ready to go legislation that could be picked up by the government, it has been painstakingly tailored over a number of years and would put us at the forefront of tackling air pollution. Continue reading “Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill passes Report Stage in the House of Lords”

Natural state

The water framework directive was a very precise, scientifically based measurement of ecological well-being that the Government quietly dropped in 2017. They have replaced that with this talk of “natural state” for 75% of rivers. What does “natural state” mean in scientific terms? I would argue that it is incredibly woolly and totally meaningless and that this Government do not have a suitable plan. Continue reading “Natural state”

Public Duty Costs Allowance

Liz Truss spent only 45 days in office but is set to be offered the same package all former residents of No 10 have been entitled to, an allowance worth up to £115,000 per year. Eligible costs include office costs, salaries for staff, or travel to events where they are appearing in their capacity as an ex-prime minister. It is ludicrous and inappropriate, if the Conservative Party is going to change its Prime Minister every seven weeks, to give them that sort of allowance. What about having a limit on the amount of time that they have served as Prime Minister; for example, two and a half years? Continue reading “Public Duty Costs Allowance”

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”

Delays in water companies producing plans for dealing with sewage discharges

The water companies have already had all the money they needed for infrastructure improvements but did not use it for this; they gave it in dividends to their shareholders. I like to help the Government if they are floundering around, confused and out of ideas, so I suggest to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that it instructs Ofwat to ensure that no dividends are paid to shareholders or large bonuses to senior executives until further notice, until this problem is fixed and water companies stop pumping sewage into our chalk streams and rivers and on to our beaches. Continue reading “Delays in water companies producing plans for dealing with sewage discharges”

COP27 and UK

Continue reading “COP27 and UK”

I can understand why many people around the world will be scratching their heads at Rishi Sunak’s screeching U-turn over his attendance at COP27. In one year, we have gone from Boris Johnson, as PM, putting out the welcome mat at COP26, to a country that is handing out new gas/oil licences and refusing to join the rest of Europe in urging the public to use less energy. While EU countries bring forward their medium-term targets for reducing reliance on fossil fuels, the UK government is not only off track for meeting its targets but is actively doing what it can to inject new life into the oil/gas sector.

Continue reading “COP27 and UK”