Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about taxation of fuel for air travel

Salisbury231018bOn 21st October 2019 Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked the Government “what plans they have to (1) ban or (2) restrict frequent flyer “airmiles” schemes.” The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, asked a follow-up question:

Lord Bishop of Salisbury: Can the Minister explain why the gap between aviation fuel being untaxed and road fuel being taxed as it is, is so great? If the answer is the difficulty of getting international agreement, why are UK internal flights not taxed to get some parity between different methods of transport?

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Bishop of Salisbury calls for substantial determined and transformative response to climate challenges

On 5th June 2019 Lord Cameron of Dillington led a debate on a motion “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to (1) harness the potential of tidal ranges to generate renewable energy, and (2) encourage the private sector to invest in this area.” The Lord Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, spoke in the debate:

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The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, this debate has already become something of a no-brainer. Quite a lot of what I wanted to say has been said, so there is no point in repeating it, but I want to thank the noble Lord, Lord Cameron, for asking the Question which has generated the debate.

The context is one in which we see a climate emergency, an increasing number of councils across the country responding to it and the other place in Parliament recognising that. Whatever we think of Extinction Rebellion, it has raised the public profile and urgency of the climate change debate and the environmental awareness of what is required of us as legislators. It cannot be business as usual.

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Bishop of Salisbury calls for climate action and legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2045

On 2nd May 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Rooker, that “this House takes note of Her Majesty’s Government’s legal responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as detailed in the Climate Change Act 2008 and the implications of continuing climatic changes for global security and stability and for the world economy.” The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, spoke in the debate:

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Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about clean growth targets, gas and coal

On 10th April 2019 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, received written answers to three questions on the environment: on clean growth targets, gas and coal:

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: (HL15041) To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to announce (1) measurable targets, and (2) deadlines, for their clean growth measures announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement; by how much they intend to increase the proportion of green gas in the National Grid; and when they estimate that target will be reached. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about clean growth targets, gas and coal”

Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about changes to the Honours system

On 26th March 2019 Baroness Berridge asked the Government “what plans they have, if any, to review the honours system.” The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I am not sure that the Minister’s Answer to the original Question* from the noble Baroness was entirely convincing. There is careful screening to check whether somebody might be willing to consider accepting an honour before an application is ever made. That is done by talking to their family, their friends and others involved with them. Therefore, the figure of 2% refusals is entirely unconvincing, and there needs to be a much more careful analysis of what is going on behind the Question in order to deal with the real issue, as is recognised by the questions asked by the House.

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Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about environmental standards of new homes

On 18th March 2019 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, received a written answer to a question on environmental standards for building new homes:

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury:

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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to support housing developers and homeowners to improve the environmental standards of new homes; and what steps they are taking to improve the environmental impact of existing housing stock. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about environmental standards of new homes”

Bishop of Salisbury – Climate emergency requires more consistent response from Government

On 4th March 2019 the House of Lords debated the Feed-in Tariffs (Closure, etc.) Order 2018, and a ‘Motion to Regret’ criticising the Order from Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb. The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, spoke in support of Baroness Jones’s Motion, and a transcript is below:

Motion to Regret: That this House regrets, in the light of the worsening climate emergency, that the Feed-in Tariffs (Closure, etc.) Order 2018 will end the export tariff for small-scale renewable energy without any replacement scheme in place; will result in new installations having to export their electricity to the National Grid for free; and will harm jobs and investment in the renewable energy industry (SI 2018/1380).

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I support the noble Baroness’s Motion of regret. It is almost inevitable that a debate such as this will range more widely than the specific issues that the noble Baroness is focused on. I hope your Lordships will forgive me for beginning in Salisbury, my cathedral city, on a day when there has been a considerable amount of reflection about events there a year ago and their significance for the city and internationally.

We were grateful for the Prime Minister’s visit earlier today. I particularly thank the council, Wiltshire Police and the fire and ambulance services, as well as the district hospital, Porton Down and the military, for their commitment through the year. Wiltshire County Council has led a programme of recovery. Although business is still badly affected, we are making progress. We are grateful for the involvement of the noble Lord, Lord Henley.

From those ghastly events that began to unfold a year ago, we have learned not just about the need to recover but about using a crisis as an opportunity to rethink what sort of city Salisbury can be. The same is true of the environmental crisis we face.

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