Amendment 1

Part of UK Infrastructure Bank Bill [HL] - Report – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 4 July 2022.

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Photo of Lord Holmes of Richmond Lord Holmes of Richmond Conservative 3:45, 4 July 2022

My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendments 7 and 10 in my name, but before I do I join others in congratulating my noble friend the Minister on tabling the government amendment on energy efficiency. It speaks to an amendment that I and others tabled in Committee, and it is certainly welcome that it will now, rightly, be included in the Bill.

Amendment 7 would insert just three words: “nature-based solutions”. There is a lot in the Bill about climate and carbon, but the reality is, as noble Lords are well aware, whatever we do and must do on that front, we will still be left with a pressing, urgent need for nature-based solutions. As other noble Lords have mentioned, we have “roads” in the Bill. As the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, has just pointed out, I do not think anybody would necessarily be against roads as a secondary, tertiary or lower-level aspect of an infrastructure project—to get to the shoreline for offshore wind, to give another example. However, that is at best a tertiary part of the bank’s investment, or of that particular infrastructure project, yet it is in the Bill. If “roads” can be there, surely “nature-based solutions” has at least an equal place in the Bill. Would my noble friend consider including “nature-based solutions” and, in exchange, taking “roads” out of the Bill? That would be a thoroughly good thing.

Finally, in similar terms, my Amendment 10 would insert “clean air”—perhaps one of the most significant, precious and essential parts of our infrastructure. Does my noble friend the Minister agree that it would not be difficult or controversial, and that it would be a thoroughly good thing, to have “clean air” on the face of our infrastructure bank Bill?