Debates between Lord Krebs and Baroness Jones of Whitchurch during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 15th Sep 2020
Agriculture Bill
Lords Chamber

Report stage & Report stage:Report: 1st sitting & Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords & Report: 1st sitting & Report: 1st sitting: House of Lords

Research, Development and Innovation Organisational Landscape Report

Debate between Lord Krebs and Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
Monday 20th November 2023

(7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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My Lords—

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab)
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I thank the Minister for that reply, but he will know that the review identified significant problems in the UK’s RDI landscape, some of which are long-term and serious, and are preventing us from becoming a science superpower. So can he assure us that the Government will take on board the integrated set of recommendations proposed in the review and establish an authoritative working group to implement them, rather than adopting a piecemeal approach to what it is a very serious challenge?

Viscount Camrose Portrait Viscount Camrose (Con)
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Indeed it is a serious challenge. The review identified, I think, 29 separate recommendations. The approach that the Government are taking is to address them not merely singly but, as the noble Baroness suggests, collectively, as a whole, as well. In fact, since its creation, two of our major steps build on the foundations laid by the Nurse review: that is, the creation of DSIT itself and the laying down of the Science and Technology Framework, which builds on the review, to set up the approach along many of the lines that the review suggested.

Agriculture Bill

Debate between Lord Krebs and Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
Report stage & Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords & Report: 1st sitting & Report: 1st sitting: House of Lords
Tuesday 15th September 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Agriculture Act 2020 View all Agriculture Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 130-II(Rev) Revised second marshalled list for Report - (15 Sep 2020)
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab)
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My Lords, Amendment 31 would require the Secretary of State to have regard to the Government’s environmental improvement plan when setting out their strategic priorities for financial assistance in the multiannual plans.

This amendment tackles an issue raised in previous debates in your Lordships’ House—the lack of joined-up policy across the different initiatives before us. It was an issue in the Fisheries Bill, and there is a similar issue in this Bill. It was a failing identified by this year’s report of the Natural Capital Committee, which criticised the silo approach to policies being adopted by Defra. It is a failing identified by the Committee on Climate Change, which wrote to the Minister, Victoria Prentis, in June this year, urging the department to develop a joined-up approach, stating:

“Defra has yet to set out how ELM”—


environmental land management—

“the Environment Bill, the 25 Year Environment Plan and various policies planned for trees, peatlands and nature will fit together.”

It is also a failing underlined by the latest progress report on the 25-year environment plan, which showed, for example, no progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from natural resources such as agriculture and forestry.

This amendment would forge a critical link between the Agriculture Bill, the Environment Bill and the 25-year environment plan. It would ensure that we avoid the mistakes of the past, where the common agricultural policy made decisions on farming which bore no relationship to the EU’s environmental policy.

We accept that the Government’s current intention is to base the new ELM scheme on the 25-year environment plan. This point was made by the Minister in Committee when we tabled a similar amendment. But this Bill is for the long term, and policy priorities change. Equally, the 25-year environment plan is a long-term document. It would be all too easy for these documents to diverge over time. Without the clear link to the environment improvement plan set out on the face of the Bill, it would be entirely possible for a future Secretary of State to set out strategic priorities for financial assistance under this Bill that bear no relationship to the key environmental strategy set out elsewhere. The amendment seeks to fill that structural deficit. It would provide stability and reassurance for the long term, and policy direction to address the many criticisms of a lack of joined-up government on these issues.

We were disappointed that the Government did not hear the sense of our argument at Committee and come back with their own version of an amendment which would address our concerns. I ask the Minister specifically to give a commitment to come back at Third Reading with a government amendment on this issue. If the noble Baroness feels unable to do so, I give notice now that I am minded to test the opinion of the House. I beg to move.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB) [V]
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My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, and to support this amendment. She set out the issues clearly, so I will be brief.

In Committee, as the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, has already mentioned, the Government sought to reassure noble Lords that they were committed to achieving their aim of leaving the environment in a better state than they found it and that the environmental improvement plans involved in this strategy would be covered in the Environment Bill. We were also told that the office for environmental protection will monitor progress and make recommendations to the Government for further action. We do not yet know what sort of teeth the OEP will have and whether or not the Government will follow its recommendations.