Amendment 4

Part of Financial Services and Markets Bill - Report (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 6 June 2023.

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Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 7:15, 6 June 2023

My Lords, I have my name to Amendment 15, so ably introduced by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman. I thank her for her very clear exposition of it and I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Young, for her little additions just to fill in some of the other parts of this important subject. I thank the Minister for her time yesterday when I came to discuss this amendment with her: it makes a lot of difference that a Minister is so receptive to a discussion, even though we did not part any closer than when I walked through the door.

I congratulate the Government on their world-leading position on green finance. That is a nice position to be in, but we need to work very hard on that if we are to retain it.

To me, it is absolutely logical that nature should be added into the Bill in the way proposed in Amendment 15. As has been said, nature underpins the whole financial system. Without nature, it is not going to work—and it has suffered because we have not given nature the economic value and attention it needs. Nature restoration is crucial to reaching net zero.

We can talk about climate change and net zero, but we must not believe that solutions to climate change always benefit nature—they do not. I give your Lordships the example of biomass and what was set out as a very good idea by Drax to move on to biomass. It has now been proven that it is not working as well as we had all hoped and that there has been degradation of nature. One can take the view that it does not affect the UK, because all the timber is imported, but it is causing a loss overseas. That links very well to Amendment 91 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, which I support.

Most of what I wanted to say has already been said, so there is no need to repeat it. It is strange how often we hear the Government make all sorts of encouraging statements, but when it comes to putting them in the Bill they are reluctant to do so. There is an old adage: if it is not on the face of the Bill, it will not be implemented in the proper way. That is why Amendment 15 is important.