Bishop of Salisbury calls for more focus on energy microgeneration

On 27th October the House of Lords considered the Government’s Infrastructure Planning (Electricity Storage Facilities) Order 2020 in Grand Committee. The Bishop of Salisbury took part in the debate, highlighting the need for local authorities to be properly resourced to respond, and the value of microgeneration:

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury [V]: My Lords, this is not really my territory. I hesitate to come into this discussion but I will not delay noble Lords long. I note that the Delegated Legislation Committee in the other place dealt with this proposal in 13 minutes and, even then, the Minister commented on the widening of the discussion beyond the SI itself. That has already begun to happen in this discussion.

There seems to be little controversy surrounding the SI. The 2019 consultation drew 28 responses from industry, which were broadly supportive. However, is not the question that needs to be addressed on what additional funding will be given to local authorities to ensure that there is sufficient expertise and capacity for local planning officers to make fully informed decisions about these planning requests? Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury calls for more focus on energy microgeneration”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about wood pasture restoration

On 20th October the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question he had asked Government about the restoration of wood pasture:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:  To ask Her Majesty’s Government what scheme they intend to establish to replace Natural England’s Wood-Pasture Restoration Option within the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. [HL8829] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about wood pasture restoration”

Trade Bill: Bishop of Blackburn supports amendments on sustainable development goals, environmental, health and food standards

On 8th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in committee. The Bishop of Blackburn spoke in support of amendments that would:

  • require parliamentary approval of both negotiating objectives and of free trade agreements before the UK becomes a signatory to any agreements, to safeguard food, environmental, animal welfare and health standards.
  • ensure trade agreements cannot be implemented, signed or ratified unless they are consistent with the provisions of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Bishops’ speeches are below and the full text of the amendments beneath.

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, having made my maiden speech a week or so ago at Second Reading of the Bill, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, for proposing Amendment 35, to which I wish to speak, without, I have to say, the expertise of other contributors, but I shall speak in favour of the amendment on two counts, only simply, as I do not wish to repeat what has already has been said. Continue reading “Trade Bill: Bishop of Blackburn supports amendments on sustainable development goals, environmental, health and food standards”

Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans backs amendments on food and environmental standards

On Tuesday 6th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in Committee. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in support of amendments on securing food and environmental standards in future trade deals:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]:  My Lords, I plan to say a few words on Amendment 20, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. I am also sympathetic to Amendments 23, 25 and 26.​

Food production and environmental standards, as well as the safety that they enshrine, are crucial to a healthy agricultural sector that seeks to mitigate the dangers arising from poor practices and the low-quality products they produce. Ensuring continuity has been a big priority for a number of Members. Issues surrounding the responsible administration of antibiotics to livestock, for example, are not national issues but global public health ones. Despite the Bill covering existing trading arrangements, we should not forget that the raison d’être for leaving the European Union was the assertion of our sovereignty. Continue reading “Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans backs amendments on food and environmental standards”

Bishop of Rochester asks Government to engage with faith communities on future climate goals

On 6th October 2020 Baroness Boycott asked the Government “what progress they have made towards identifying sponsors for COP 26; and what criteria are used in the appointment of any such sponsors.” The Bishop of Rochester asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, while I understand that the focus of formal sponsorship is on businesses, is the Minister able to confirm that Her Majesty’s Government are also keen to engage in similarly deliberate ways with other bodies, including faith communities? These communities are highly motivated—indeed mandated—to care for God’s creation, locally and globally, and many, including the Church of England’s General Synod, have already committed to challenging targets for carbon reduction. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester asks Government to engage with faith communities on future climate goals”

Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports amendments to ensure trade deals meet standards on climate, environment, food and animal welfare

On 1st October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in Committee. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in support of amendments to the Bill to ensure that future trade agreements are fully compliant with international environmental obligations, and meet standards on animal welfare and food safety.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: I plan to speak mainly on Amendment 12, but I also support Amendment 40 and, particularly, Amendment 69 in this group [texts below]. Leaving the European Union should not mean leaving our international obligations. Recognition of those conventions mentioned under Amendment 12 is, one would imagine, already accounted for in the existing trade agreements due to be transposed into UK law as a result of this Bill. However, without this amendment, these remain an expectation not an assurance.

Continue reading “Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports amendments to ensure trade deals meet standards on climate, environment, food and animal welfare”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about tree health and biosecurity

In the House of Lords on 3rd September 2020 during questions to Government about the rate of tree planting in the UK, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked about its tree health resilience strategy:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, it is encouraging to hear about the progress being made, but we are fighting a losing battle if we continue to import saplings rife with diseases that then kill significant numbers of trees. Will the Minister update your Lordships’ House on the tree health resilience strategy and what other steps Her Majesty’s Government are taking to increase biosecurity? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about tree health and biosecurity”

Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about Green Homes Grant eligibility

On 20th July the Rt Revd Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, received a written answer to a question on the green homes grant.

Lord Bishop of Salisbury: HL6798 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the green homes grant on 8 July (HC Deb, col 976), whether (1) clergy housing, and (2) buildings open to the public and run by charities, such as churches, are eligible for that grant.

Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about Green Homes Grant eligibility”

Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about emissions reduction targets

On 17th June 20202 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, received a written answer to a question on greenhouse gas reduction targets:

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: HL5327 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that financial support to fossil fuel-intensive and high carbon producing industries is in line with (1) their Paris Agreement obligations, (2) their target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; and (3) their commitment to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2035. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about emissions reduction targets”

Bishop of Chelmsford calls for vision of economy and society where everyone has a future

On 4th June 2020 the virtual House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Eatwell, “to move that the Virtual Proceedings do consider (1) the economic lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) the measures necessary to repair the United Kingdom economy.” The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate.