On 18th November the House of Lords considered the Government’s Ship Recycling (Facilities and Requirements for Hazardous Materials on Ships) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. The Bishop of Salisbury spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, neither ship recycling nor Northern Ireland are my territory, though church is sometimes seen as an ark to gather people safely and hazardous materials are a concern for us all. It is important for Northern Ireland to thrive as best it can within the new political arrangements that are still unfolding. The purpose of this SI is clear and not controversial; it is to the benefit of one shipyard in Northern Ireland. The EU has developed a good scheme for overseeing this process and I am sure we will be glad to continue to use it.
I was very struck by the statement that an impact assessment has not been prepared for this SI, because there are no significant impacts—well, yes and no. Yes, in the narrow confines of the SI; no, because it all depends on what is being measured. Shipping is a key part of the transport carbon footprint—not just marine diesel, although, heaven knows, agreements about that internationally are hard enough to get. More and more, we are looking at the whole life cycle of manufacture, use and disposal, as the Minister pointed out in her introduction.
One impact of Covid-19 is an increase in the scrappage of car carriers, ore carriers and cruise ships. There are jobs here—more importantly there is the need to raise our ambition with regard to environmental legislation brought across from the EU. Here is a wonderful opportunity to set out our ambition for a circular economy. I hope that, come January, our sights might be raised to meet that sort of ambition. That said, the SI does not really pose a problem, but it is an opportunity to set out more of the goals that I think lie ahead of us in relation to our environmental responsibilities.