On the 16 March 2016 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtham, took part in a debate to approve the Government’s draft Renewables Obligation Closure Etc. (Amendment) Order 2016. Baroness Featherstone also tabled a Motion to Regret the change. The draft instrument closes the renewables obligation from 1 April 2016 (12 months early) to solar PV generating stations at 5 megawatts and below. It applies both to new generating stations and to existing stations that wish to add additional capacity up to the 5 megawatts threshold. The Bishop’s speech is below and the vote on the Regret Motion can be seen here.
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, it is curious to rehearse the same arguments so soon after the recent debate on feed-in tariffs. It is very disappointing in the wake of the success in Paris of COP 21, and the enthusiasm engendered from that about a new level of ambition in response to human-caused climate change. I feel as though the Minister is in a position of defending the indefensible. The noble Baroness, Lady Byford, made a very good point about the place of subsidies and pump-priming. Therefore, it is disappointing that the Government are not working more effectively with the renewable energy sector to build on the considerable success of that industry.
On the 2nd January 2016 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, took part in a division on the Governments Feed-in Tariffs (Amendment) (No. 3) Order 2015. Baroness Featherstone proposed that the Regulations, which would see cuts made to the tariffs, be annulled.
The House Divided: Content: 91 | Not Contents: 230 | Result: Government Win.
On the 2nd January 2016 the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, spoke during a debate on a motion from Baroness Featherstone to annul the Government’s Feed-in Tariffs (Amendment) (No. 3) Order 2015. The Bishop spoke of a gap between the rhetoric and reality in the Government’s record on energy policy, citing the impact of cuts to feed in tariffs on the renewable energy sector.
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I am very grateful for this debate. When I joined this House last year, I was really struck by how it was possible to work with Members from all parts of the House in preparation for Paris and by the strong sense of common purpose with which we could work together. I am grateful for the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Deben, in terms of what now happens, post-Paris, and how we move on. However, I am unable to support a fatal Motion. On the other hand, it is really important that the House discusses where the Government are with their energy policy, and that is what this debate is able to do. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury points to gap between rhetoric and reality in Government policy on renewable energy”
On 17th December 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress was made at the COP 21 climate change talks”. The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, spoke in the debate, congratulating Government on the achievements on climate change at the Paris summit and calling for more emphasis on community energy and renewables.
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, for this debate and congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Sheehan, on her maiden speech. What a great debate in which to make a maiden speech, when we are looking so much towards the future.
On Tuesday, we congratulated the Government, the Minister, the officials from DECC and some Members of this House on the contributions that they made in Paris. Many people will feel that this is an agreement for which they hoped and prayed. Someone said, “I can’t really comment. It was near miraculous”. I think that that might be true. It is particularly significant in the wake of the terrorism in Paris on 13 November. Terrorism seeks to divide us and creates fear. This agreement of nearly all the world acting together gives hope, which feels to be a very important statement. I have said before that I am particularly grateful for the creation of a predictable framework of $100 billion of climate finance for poor countries. That is particularly significant at a time when questions are being asked about overseas aid. This is an important contribution to that debate. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury welcomes Paris agreement and calls for sights to be set higher on climate change”
On 15th December 2015 a statement from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on the Paris Climate Change Summit was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Salisbury was amongst those who responded:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the Minister on the achievements in Paris and the part that the UK Government played. The faith communities organised, among those from the wider public sphere, to gather in Paris. Forty-four pilgrims walked from London; seven walked from the Danish-German border; and 22 cycled from Copenhagen. As they travelled on the journey to Paris, they gathered with them the support of the communities through which they travelled and in which meetings were held. This culminated last week with the presentation of a petition, with signatures from 1.83 million people, to Christiana Figueres and President Hollande by 20 of us in the faith communities. This is a deal that many people wanted. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, said that it was the most complex and largest talks he had ever been part of. The sense of achievement is therefore very great in having pulled off the Paris agreement. The UK’s contribution through climate finance was particularly significant.
On 19th October 2015 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Energy Bill at its Report stage. Labour Peer Baroness Worthington moved an amendment to, in her words, “change the fundamental objective of the Oil and Gas Authority: to make it fit for purpose, comprehensive and a little bit closer to what we would expect a regulator representing the Government’s interests in the extraction of oil and gas to be interested in; and to maximise economic return from our resources, not necessarily just the economic recovery of fossil fuels.”
Amendment 11: after clause 3, to insert the new clause Transportation and storage of greenhouse gases.
The House divided: Contents: 251 | Not Contents: 179 | Result: Government Defeat
The Bishops of Salisbury, Southwark and St Albans all voted content. No bishop voted not content.
On 23rd June 2015 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, received a written answer from Government that welcomed the Lambeth Declaration on Climate Change and the role of churches and faith communities in making a difference.
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the Lambeth Declaration on Climate Change, signed by the leaders of the United Kingdom’s Christian and other faith communities and launched on 17 June. [HL655]
“Every parish priest and bishop knows what it is to care for the whole community. It is a great aim for the Government, as set out at the start of Her Majesty’s gracious Speech, to, “legislate in the interests of everyone in our country” and, “adopt a one-nation approach”. The success of that will be one of the measures by which the Government are judged.
The role of the Lords spiritual is distinctive and, we hope, helpful to the workings of this House. We are non-partisan in a political process. Our underlying concern is with the integration of beliefs and values that guide what we do, make our spirituality and animate us as human beings. We take the long view when the pressures are often to the short term.” – Bishop of Salisbury, 2/6/15
On 2nd June 2015 the Bishop of Salisbury spoke for the first time in the House of Lords. In his address, which came during the debate on the Queen’s Speech, he spoke of his background in the Church of England, his diocese, and his interest in the environment, climate change and energy. The full text is below and can also be watched online here.