Amendment 24

Environment Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 8th September 2021.

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Votes in this debate

Lord Krebs:

Moved by Lord Krebs

24: Clause 25, leave out Clause 25 and insert the following new Clause—“OEP independence (1) The OEP has complete discretion in the carrying out of its functions, including in—(a) preparing its enforcement policy,(b) exercising its enforcement functions, and(c) preparing and publishing its budget.(2) At the start of each period of multi-annual funding and no later than 1 April 2023, the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament, and publish, a statement setting out the multi-annual budget which they intend to provide to the OEP.(3) The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament, and publish, a statement responding to any request from the OEP for additional funding due to a change in the body’s responsibilities or functions, within three months of that request being received.(4) In making or terminating appointments under paragraph 1 and paragraph 5 of Schedule 1, the Secretary of State must obtain the consent of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Environmental Audit Committees of the House of Commons.”Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment aims to ensure that the OEP is as independent as possible.

Photo of Lord Krebs Lord Krebs Chair, Food, Poverty, Health and Environment Committee, Chair, Food, Poverty, Health and Environment Committee

I apologise for my earlier interjection, out of order. I thank the Minister for his response to my amendment and Amendment 30, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie of Downpatrick. I also thank all noble Lords who have contributed to this short but interesting debate.

I reiterate what I said at the beginning and has been said by a number of other contributors to this debate: if we get it wrong on the office for environmental protection, the whole edifice of the Bill could fall. All the things the Bill attempts to achieve will, in the end, depend on having a strong, independent, powerful office for environmental protection. If we get it wrong, people out there who observe what Parliament is up to and care about the environment will not understand why we failed.

At the moment, the arrangement is rather like having a whistleblower who is told by the boss which areas he or she is not allowed to investigate. That is simply unacceptable. Unfortunately, we seem to be involved in a dialogue of the deaf. We keep on repeating the message, and it is strong and not from one particular party or group in the House—the view is held widely—and the Government, unfortunately, reiterate the same points over and over again. I feel the time has come to test the opinion of the House and I wish to do so.

Ayes 180, Noes 151.

Division number 3 Environment Bill - Report (2nd Day) — Amendment 24

Aye: 180 Members of the House of Lords

No: 151 Members of the House of Lords

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

Amendment 24 agreed.

Clause 28: Monitoring and reporting on environmental improvement plans and targets

Amendment 25 not moved.

Clause 38: Environmental review