On 23rd January, 2014, Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they will continue to support the metal theft task force.
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, the metal theft task force has been of inestimable value in checking the epidemic of lead theft from churches. Stripping of lead from church roofs has caused extensive rain damage to historic interiors. Will the Minister consult English Heritage, the Churches Conservation Trust and the cathedrals and church buildings division of the Archbishops’ Council as to how the destruction of our heritage can be combated and the work of the task force maintained?
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I am very pleased to say that one of the effects of the task force and the legislation has been to add greater protection to our historic buildings. I have, myself, been on the roof of Northampton town hall—I did not jump; I climbed down—to see how encoding of the lead on the roof protects that metal. I think the right reverend Prelate will admit that ecclesiastical insurers are now looking at the premiums they have to charge as theft from churches has been greatly reduced. I am pleased to say that a gang of thieves in my own diocese of Lincoln was sentenced very heavily for the damage it had done.