My Lords, I am grateful for the support from my noble friend Lord Teverson, and from the noble Baronesses, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb and Lady Boycott. The noble Baroness, Lady Hayman of Ullock, will not be surprised to know that I discussed my amendments with my noble friend Lady Parminter. The amendments do different things: the one does not replace the other. But I would be happy to talk with the Labour Front Bench more about this in future.
I was pleased when the Minister indicated that he wanted to finish this group tonight, because it would have seemed wrong to take it on to another day—but I would have been less pleased if I had known how peremptory his response would be, and how little it answered the questions that are given rise to in this amendment. He said that local authorities had the power to act already. I would be grateful if he would write to me and tell me under what powers Kingston Council could have entered the site to investigate what was going on and to stop the destruction of vegetation. If those powers exist, I would be grateful if he would share them with me. He said that local authorities already have the power under the Bill to enter into conservation covenant agreements—but that is only if they are so designated by the Secretary of State.
So I cannot hide my disappointment in his response. This is a very important issue: it affects local authorities up and down the country. It is not is not about the creation of strategies, it is about the ability to act to enforce and prevent the destruction of biodiversity. So I very much hope that the Minister will agree to meet and discuss this further. If the Government are not willing to move on this, I will want to come back to this, as it is such a critical issue. For now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 212 withdrawn.
Clause 96: Biodiversity reports
Amendments 213 to 225 not moved.
Clause 96 agreed.
House adjourned at 10.05 pm.