Amendment 212

Part of Environment Bill - Committee (6th Day) – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 7th July 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green 9:45 pm, 7th July 2021

My Lords, I will be brief as well because I would like to get home to see extra time.

As in the previous group, these amendments would strengthen the Bill by giving it powers and mechanisms to make it work well. Amendment 212 would give new powers to local authorities to protect and enhance nature in the planning process. I know that the Green Party’s 450 or so councillors sitting on over 140 local authorities, along with thousands of other environmentally aware councillors from other political parties, would be able to achieve a huge amount with these new powers—in particular, the ability to prohibit inappropriate activities that would be detrimental to biodiversity. At the moment, there is little more that can be done other than protesting and campaigning against this sort of environmental destruction, which of course we all do extremely well but too often it is, sadly, completely useless. So this would be an important tool with which to defend communities and nature.

Amendment 231A would do the important work of tying the Bill in with the recently passed Agriculture Act. Both Bills have similar objectives—to protect and enhance the environment—but somehow there are no explicit links. This amendment would provide them. The two Acts could well end up pursuing parallel objectives rather than delivering joint action. Something that I think was missing from the Agriculture Act was that large-scale landscape-level planning that goes beyond individual farms and parcels of land. Amendment 231A would definitely help to ameliorate that by tying individual landholdings into the larger scheme of the nature recovery strategy. I hope the Minister will address that point specifically.