On 7th June 2021 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, made his final speech in the House of Lords before retirement, in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Environment Bill:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury (Valedictory Speech): My Lords, I have not been in the House in person since the first week of February. Sitting on the Front Bench earlier with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Lincoln, I found myself wondering whether both of us had misjudged the timing of our retirements. I have led on the environment for the Church of England for seven years and have been a Member of the House for six. It has been a privilege as well as a responsibility and I am grateful to noble Lords who have spoken kindly of what has been achieved; of course, it could never be enough.
With an eye towards retirement, I had thought that last year, 2020, would have provided a good conclusion, with the Lambeth Conference of Bishops from the Anglican Communion, COP 26 and this Environment Bill. All were postponed, so I find myself standing for the last time in this House without the prospect of being able to engage in the detailed scrutiny and revision that will make what is, in many ways, a good Bill better. Of course, my colleagues will contribute, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Oxford has already. I thank the Minister for meeting the Bishops in preparation for this debate.
Continue reading “Environment Bill: Bishop of Salisbury makes plea for greater climate ambition in farewell speech”
On 16th December the Bishop of Salisbury responded to a Government statement in the Lords about the Energy White Paper:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury [V]: My Lords, I very much welcome the energy White Paper.
One thing we have learned during this pandemic is the importance of the local. What assessment have the Government made of the further potential of local solar, wind and micro hydro energy schemes and of what finance might be needed to facilitate their collectively enormous potential?
Given the comments in the other place about the lack of rural infrastructure for energy, might the Minister find it helpful to consider the possibility of churches being places for siting bidirectional charging points for electric vehicles?
Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks about use of rural churches as charging points for electric vehicles”
On 14th December during exchanges in the House of Lords on work of the Committee on Climate Change, the Bishop of Salisbury asked about tree planting targets:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury [V]:
My Lords, the Government have made a number of statements, which, with the 10-point plan and the upping of the nationally defined contributions to the Paris Agreement, are very welcome. The Government’s manifesto commits to planting 30,000 hectares of trees per year. That is a really key target to aim for in relation to the climate change committee’s report, but it is one that we have missed by 71% in the last year and consistently over previous years. I much admire the Prime Minister’s ambition, but how are the Government to ensure that performance exceeds or matches that ambition?
Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about missing its tree planting targets”
On 10th December the Bishop of Salisbury received a written answer to a question on a potential environmental governance gap after the end of the Brexit transition period:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures are in place (1) to prevent, and (2) to minimise the impact of, any environmental governance gap after 31 December. [HL10783]
Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks about environmental protection after end of Brexit transition period”
On 7th December the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Trade Bill. Three votes on amendments were held in which Lords Spiritual took part. All three amendments were passed:
Continue reading “Votes: Trade Bill”
On 19th November the Bishop of Salisbury asked a question he had tabled to Government, on fuel intensive businesses moving to net zero carbon emission. The exchanges are below, along with the follow-up questions from other Members:
Fossil Fuels: Business
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the report by the Transition Pathway Initiative Management Quality and Carbon Performance of Energy Companies: September 2020, published on 7 October, what steps they plan to take to encourage fossil fuel intensive businesses to accelerate their move to net zero carbon emissions.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Lord Callanan) (Con): My Lords, the Government have schemes worth nearly £2 billion operating or in development to support our vital energy-intensive industries to decarbonise. These schemes include the industrial energy transformation fund to help companies to reduce their fuel bills and transition to low-carbon technologies, and the industrial decarbonisation challenge to support industry with the development of low-carbon technologies in industrial clusters.
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: I thank the Minister for his Answer. There have been some welcome and notable commitments, particularly by European oil and gas companies, but overall, the sector is not moving fast enough to align with the Paris agreement. How does the Minister see the Government supporting companies to move faster and have consistent standards for reporting all emissions from scopes 1, 2 and 3 so companies demonstrate alignment clearly in their reporting?
I commend to the Minister the work of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change working with TPI to establish a net-zero standard. It would be marvellous if the Government supported these endeavours in the context of their presidency of COP. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government to encourage fossil fuel intensive businesses to accelerate move to net zero carbon emissions”
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. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury raises environmental implications of ship recycling regulations”
On 18th November Baroness Boycott asked the Government, “further to the response by Lord Callanan on 20 October (HL Deb, col 1414), what plans they have for the campaigns taking place before COP 26 relating to behaviour change and the environment.” The Bishop of Salisbury asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, Ban Ki-moon, then General Secretary of the UN, said that the Paris climate change talks were the largest and most complex talks he had ever been part of. Some 12,000 people were in the discussions, with another nearly 50,000 gathered around them.
What steps are the Government taking to ratchet up the engagement of the faith communities and other NGOs around the climate change talks that will take place in Glasgow, and what steps are they taking to strengthen the diplomatic efforts to make the talks more successful? Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government how it will engage faiths and NGOs for COP climate talks in Glasgow”
On 17th November Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the comments by the Prime Minister of Canada on 11 November about the United Kingdom’s prospects of a trade deal with Canada.” The Bishop of Salisbury asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, early this morning, I had breakfast on Zoom, hosted by my colleague the Bishop of Sherborne, along with people from the Dorset churches and community. A farmer and local businessman said that his greatest fear for the future was uncertainty. How will this uncertainty be ended so that he will not be left just watching this space but will know what opportunities there are? How will the House assess these both in relation to the economy and to the environment? Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks when trade deal uncertainty will end”
On 16th November 2020 the House of Lords heard a Government statement about plans to mark HM the Queen’s platinum jubilee. The Bishop of Salisbury responded:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I speak for all the Lords spiritual in welcoming this Statement about the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It is a great privilege for me to be here in person this week and to pray each day with 30 or so Members before the business of this House commences in a way that is currently not allowed in any of the churches or cathedrals in this country.
Has ever a prayer been so fully answered as that for the Queen?
Grant her in health and wealth long to live … Long to reign over us. God save the Queen. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury welcomes plans for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee”