Part of Environment Bill - Third Reading – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 13th October 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 4:15 pm, 13th October 2021

My Lords, I too add my thanks to the Bill team for its patience and courtesy in responding to our concerns and for facilitating so many meetings over the summer. We have all been on a steep learning curve, and it has certainly helped to put us more in tune with the facts behind the thinking on the Bill.

I very much thank the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith, for staying the course. I am sure there were times when he wished to be somewhere else, perhaps even somewhere sunnier. Despite occasionally giving the noble Baroness, Lady Bloomfield, kittens when he went walkabout, he was assiduous in being here, doing the heavy lifting on the Bill and giving us all his attention and his very detailed and thoughtful contributions. On that basis, I thank the Minister for listening, because we received a number of concessions along the way and we are really very appreciative of that.

As other noble Lords have said, of course, we do not think that is quite enough. I hope the Minister recognises that the 15 amendments which we have passed make serious and important improvements to the Bill—and, as the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, and others have said, they have widespread support across the Chamber. I hope this is not the end of the road for the Bill. I hope that the Government have used the recess to reflect on our amendments and will feel able to support their key principles when the Bill goes back to the Commons next week.

We are of course aware that COP 26 is looming but, as we have always said, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us to put the environment on the right course for the future. We still hope that we can reach consensus with the Government to achieve the ambition that I know we all share on this, so that we can reach agreement in the very near future on the final outcome for the Bill.