Debates between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble during the 2019 Parliament

Thu 17th Sep 2020
Agriculture Bill
Lords Chamber

Report stage:Report: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Report: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Report: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 22nd Jun 2020
Fisheries Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

Report stage:Report: 1st sitting & Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords & Report: 1st sitting & Report: 1st sitting: House of Lords & Report stage
Mon 9th Mar 2020
Fisheries Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard)
Wed 4th Mar 2020
Fisheries Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard)

Genetically Modified Food

Debate between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Monday 8th February 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con) [V]
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My Lords, what the noble Baroness has said is why we believe there could well be environmental benefits from gene editing, whether they are reduced use of neutron additions, reduced use of chemical pesticides, increased crop yields or crops that are more resilient to climate change. These are the areas that, in an honest endeavour, we should be looking into and why the consultation is so important as part of the first phase before any change may occur.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB) [V]
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My Lords, about three-quarters of the world’s soya and nearly one-third of the world’s maize and oilseed rape is GM. Europe, including the UK, is one of the world’s largest importers of GM soya. Does the Minister agree that no human health risks have been identified as a result of consuming these GM foods? Is he aware that the chair of the Food and Drink Federation organic committee recently said that the tide of opinion on genetic editing has changed and that the organic sector could end up isolated if it did not welcome this technology?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con) [V]
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My Lords, I agree with the whole thrust of what the noble Lord said. We think that science and our knowledge of gene editing have advanced since the GM framework nearly 30 years ago, and therefore we think that there are advantages to the environment. That is why we want to proceed.

Agriculture Bill

Debate between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Report stage & Report: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Report: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Thursday 17th 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-III(Corrected) Third marshalled list for Report - (17 Sep 2020)
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords. I am well aware of the mindset of many of your Lordships, having had discussions with the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, and other noble Lords yesterday, as well as from what has been said today.

However, I open by saying that the Government are committed to developing a food strategy. I thought that in some of the contributions it appeared as if this was not the case so I point out that commitment, which will support the development of a sustainable, resilient and affordable food system, support people to live healthy lives, and protect animal health and welfare. I say to my noble friend Lord Dundee—without any chiding—that that is why the Government have already commissioned an independent review into the whole of the food sector. The review was launched in June 2019, and in July this year the first report was released, dealing with some of the most urgent questions raised by Covid-19 and EU exit.

The final report from Henry Dimbleby’s review is expected to be published in 2021. It will provide an opportunity to analyse the food system in this country and put forward—yes—an ambitious and comprehensive plan for transforming it. Although it will be for the independent team to develop its final report, it will examine the food system from root to branch, analysing in detail the economics and power dynamics that shape it, the benefits it brings and the harm it does. In doing so, it will look across the interwoven issues of health, climate change—mentioned by my noble friend Lord Caithness—biodiversity, pollution, antimicrobial resistance, zoonotic diseases and the sustainable use of resources.

The Agriculture Bill is a framework Bill, and it is unusual to put detailed commitments into this enabling legislation. The Government have been very firm on their commitment to publish a food White Paper within six months of Henry Dimbleby’s final report—my noble friend Lady McIntosh of Pickering referred to that. It is only reasonable to say that we will need that time to reflect and secure agreement from all government departments ahead of Henry Dimbleby’s final recommendations.

We must also be careful not to pre-empt the contents of the final report, providing the independent team the opportunity to assess independently which measures would be most effective for our food system. Specifying what the White Paper must cover at this stage brings with it the risk that it directs thinking in a certain way, which could lead to new and innovative ideas being missed. It would therefore be premature to set out exactly what the Government’s food strategy must cover in the way that the amendment prescribes. The Government also have an issue with fixing a timetable without certainty on the publication date of the final report.

I also see this amendment in the context of the food security reports. Matters such as food supply and consumption, food safety, the resilience of the supply chain for food and household expenditure are already stated as being within the scope of these food security reports. The first report is be published on or before the last sitting day before Christmas for both Houses of Parliament. This report will also include an analysis of statistical data relating to the effects of coronavirus on food security in the United Kingdom, which was a key focus of the first report from the national food strategy. These reports will therefore certainly support the development and fulfilment of an ambitious food strategy.

I am also grateful for the Hungry for Change report, published this July by our Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment. We will of course be building on a wide range of work as we develop our food strategy, including that report and many others.

I will cut in here and say that the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, mentioned diet, but only one noble Lord referred candidly to exercise: the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, obviously has a lifetime’s commitment to access and walking. Again, this is not just one thing but a combination of many issues that we have to grapple with.

Tackling public health and food issues properly requires a joined-up and practical approach across government departments, which goes beyond this Bill alone. During the Covid crisis, collaboration between government departments has been vital to ensuring that the food system receives the required support. We set up a joint ministerial food and essential supplies to the vulnerable taskforce, and throughout the crisis this example of cross-government working ensured that vulnerable people had access to food.

We are committed to continuing this level of collaboration and engagement across government to develop and deliver a new food strategy, as will be set out in the White Paper. I say to my noble friend Lord Caithness, for example, that Defra is already working with the Department of Health and Social Care and others to ensure that improving public health is a core priority of government policy.

Covid-19 has brought the risks of obesity and other health issues into sharp focus. As we all identify, it is more important than ever that people achieve a healthier lifestyle. The Government launched their new obesity strategy on 27 July to set out practical measures to get the nation fit and healthier, protect people against Covid-19 and protect the NHS. A coalition of partners is supporting delivery of the strategy through the Better Health campaign, which is encouraging adults to introduce changes to help them work towards a healthier weight.

The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, referred to his concern about “sooner or later”. I understand that, of course. There is an imperative about the Government’s work in seeking out Henry Dimbleby to bring this forward, and our promise remains to bring forward a White Paper within six months of the final Dimbleby report. If we are on target, Royal Assent to this Bill is probably in October. Advancing this amendment, we are voting, if that is noble Lords’ wish, for something the Government will have to reject in the other place in the end—I must not conjecture on what the other place will do—because of the timing.

I say honestly, and can commit this across government, that I am fully confident that the plans already in place by the Government to develop a comprehensive food strategy will deliver the intent behind this very laudable amendment. There are issues, as in all these things. My noble friend Lord Caithness said he would have liked this or that. There are issues in putting something in the Bill now, but I think we are all united in wanting to ensure that our food system is fair, affordable, healthy and sustainable.

I understand the mood of the House. I think I assess the mood of the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, although I must not pre-empt him. I ask him to withdraw his amendment because of the points I have made genuinely. The Government are developing a food strategy; it is an issue of timing. The noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, has been engaged in the Dimbleby report. She, more than anyone else, can confirm that this is a report of the utmost depth and rigour. The Government will want to have at least six months—or within the six months, as I have said—to make sure we get cross-Whitehall collaboration to bring forward something of lasting value to every person in this country.

My reasoning for asking the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, to withdraw his amendment is not to reject his and other noble Lords’ very distinguished role in bringing this matter forward but to be honest in saying that I think there are difficulties because of the timing. I respect whatever the noble Lord does, but that is why I ask him to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB) [V]
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I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate and the Minister for his careful and considered response. Overall, there has been very strong support for the amendment, with some excellent speeches. I will mention just a few points; I cannot really do justice to them all.

My noble friend Lady Boycott made the important point that, in spite of all the efforts made in recent years, things are still heading in the wrong direction. The Food Foundation’s Broken Plate report highlights some stark statistics to support this. The noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, also emphasised the urgency and pointed out that the current strategy is to let the industry rip. She also highlighted, as did the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, the importance of metrics and measurements to ensure that we know whether we are moving in the right direction.

Fisheries Bill [HL]

Debate between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Report stage & Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords & Report: 1st sitting & Report: 1st sitting: House of Lords
Monday 22nd June 2020

(4 years ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Fisheries Act 2020 View all Fisheries Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 71-R-II(Rev) Revised second marshalled list for Report - (22 Jun 2020)
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Cameron, that there have now been many iterations of the Bill and a lot of consideration has been given to it. We have a balance of objectives here: sustainability, the three-legged stool and all the many other essential objectives, including—as the noble Lord, Lord Mann, effectively mentioned—addressing climate change. There could be no more important objective than that. The Government believe that the balance we have created with the support of the devolved Administrations offers the strongest possible way forward.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs [V]
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My Lords, I thank all who have taken part in this important debate; we have heard some interesting and well-informed contributions. Although we are not all of the same view, a clear majority of those who have spoken support the amendment.

I want to pick up on a couple of specific points. The noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, talked about how the different priorities could be balanced, but the difficulty is that Clause 1 contains a fundamental category error. Sustainability is an overarching objective; others, such as the scientific, precautionary and client objectives, are subservient to sustainability. So, it is not a matter of weighing them up against one another; it is a matter of seeing that sustainability is an overarching priority.

I turn to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, who suggested that, in the amendment to Clause 1(2) we had already referred to the three-legged stool. If noble Lords read the amendment carefully, the objective in proposed new paragraph (a) is that

“fisheries and Aquaculture activities do not compromise environmental sustainability in either the long or the short term … subject to”

—and it then goes on to talk about economic, social and employment benefits.

I now come to the Minister’s summing up. I thank him very much for his comments and his thoughtful response to the amendment and the debate. As he said, we are all aiming for the same thing—sustainable fisheries, which mean that today’s activities do not compromise the health of the marine environment in the future. He also reiterated the need to balance the three legs of sustainability; indeed, many noble Lords who spoke also referred to the balance of the trade-offs, including the noble Lords, Lord Blencathra, Lord Teverson, Lord Randall of Uxbridge and Lord Cameron of Dillington, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Ritchie of Downpatrick, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, and Lady Jones of Whitchurch.

The Minister said that he thought that the three legs of the stool should be given equal weight. I have difficulty with that because, when I think of weighing something, I need a currency to weigh it in—is it pounds or ounces, kilograms or grams, or what? I am also unconvinced by his explanation of how the trade-offs will be made. Is it mathematical so that, for example, 100 jobs are worth one fish stock? Is it a purely political judgement? If so, by whom and on what basis? Is it a response to lobbying, where those who shout loudest get their way? That would clearly be unsatisfactory. I did a quick search of the specialist literature on how these three legs of the sustainability stool are balanced; the literature suggests that no one has cracked this problem. So, we have to take it on trust that the Government have a solution to the problem secretly up their sleeve. I am afraid I cannot take that on trust.

The Minister also referred to compromising our position in international negotiations. Surely, however, setting out a strong position by saying that we are at the top of the world league table in stewarding our marine environment, along with countries such as Australia and New Zealand, would be a very good starting point for any international negotiation. In view of the fact that I am not convinced that the safeguards proposed will be sufficient to protect the marine environment, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

--- Later in debate ---
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, for this amendment, because it provides me with an opportunity to expand on the Government’s position on bycatch. As he said, we had a most productive meeting before lockdown. All the scientists getting together was fascinating; I tried to keep up with them. The Government are fully committed to ensuring that our stocks are fished sustainably, and to ending the wasteful practice of discarding. We now have an opportunity to develop, for the first time, a catching and discards policy tailored to our own marine environment and our diverse fishing industry. As is made clear through the bycatch and ecosystem objectives in the Bill, it is the Government’s intention that we adopt a more holistic approach for our future policies. We will seek to address the challenges of the wider ecosystem, rather than looking at each area in isolation.

Therefore, I emphasise that the Government wholeheartedly agree with the principle behind the noble Lord’s amendment. We aim to reduce the level of catches and mortality of bycatch to protect and conserve vulnerable fish stocks and, I emphasise, other protected species—I was most grateful to my noble friend Lord Randall for mentioning the albatross, for instance. However, we certainly want to work towards a holistic way of reducing and avoiding bycatch.

Indeed, we believe that the current bycatch objective actually goes further than the noble Lord’s amendment, by setting out a number of sub-objectives. The Government and the devolved Administrations will be legally bound to set out policies relating to all of these sub-objectives in the joint fisheries statement. I therefore hope that this will help my noble friend Lady McIntosh of Pickering.

Clause 1(6)(a) states that bycatch, and the catching of fish that are below minimum conservation reference size, should be reduced. That is similar to the noble Lord’s amendment, but our objective goes on to stipulate that we will also work to avoid it entirely where we can—I say to the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, that it is important that we are working towards avoidance rather than reduction. That might be achieved through more selective fishing practices—I think the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, alluded to that—and we think that is a stronger position to be in on the matter.

The specific reduction or avoidance in catching those fish which are under minimum conservation reference size, or juvenile fish, is important in the Bill’s objective too. It is particularly important to protect those juvenile fish, as they are, quite clearly, what sustain the stocks for the future. These fish can be at specific risk of being targeted and then sold on or used as bait, which is why paragraph (c) specifically notes that policies must be set out to avoid creating a market for the landing of those fish.

Paragraph (b) of the bycatch objective in Clause 1(6) also sets out the need for accurate recording and accounting for of all catches, which is essential in capping overall mortality. By not accurately recording all catches, we believe that we risk introducing uncertainty in whether stocks are being fished at or beyond MSY—maximum sustainable yield. The amendment proposed by the noble Lord removes some of this detail which, in practical terms, we believe may unintentionally undermine the sustainability of our stocks and may mean that protected species are not conserved. I know that that is not the intent of the noble Lord or of any noble Lords in this amendment.

The bycatch objective in the Bill has been carefully thought through and worded in such a way as to tackle not only discarding itself but also the root cause of discarding in the accidental take of fish. As I say, I found our discussion with the scientists stimulating, but I hope that these further remarks on this issue will help the noble Lord to feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs [V]
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I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this short debate. I think that we are all agreed on the purpose of the amendment and the intention to make the bycatch objective contribute to the sustainable management of our marine environment. I also thank the Minister for his reply, although he was rather too modest in his account of following the science; he was very good at asking the hard questions that put the scientists firmly on the spot.

However, on the substance, the Minister has provided the reassurance that I sought. To recap what I understood him to have said, the bycatch objective aims to reduce bycatch and bycatch mortality as part of sustainable fisheries management in order to support the conservation of fish stocks and the wider marine environment. Although I would prefer to reword the bycatch objective as I proposed in the amendment, I am content that the Minister’s statement in his reply explains the Government’s position, which is in fact that which we had hoped to reach in tabling this amendment. I therefore beg leave to withdraw.

Fruit and Vegetable Harvest

Debate between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Thursday 30th April 2020

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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It is important that we advance technology to bring about improvements and more sustainable production. The government-funded transforming food production initiative and sustainable productivity schemes are all about increasing automation. I was interested to read of Tiptree and the University of Essex developing a robotic strawberry harvester, for instance.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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The Minister referred to customer demand and the health benefits of consuming fruit and vegetables. What are the Government doing to encourage the consumption of fruit and vegetables? The 5 A Day campaign has been in place for the past 20 years, yet the National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that there has been no increase in fruit and vegetable consumption over the past 10 years and that it still remains well below the 5-a-day target. What are the Government going to do now to get people to eat this wonderful British food?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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The noble Lord is right that more needs to be done. We do not eat enough fruit and vegetables but, at the same time, the Pick for Britain initiative—and I think we will find much greater awareness as we reach the peak of the growing season—means that we can absolutely use this opportunity to encourage the British consumer to buy and eat this excellent British produce.

Fisheries Bill [HL]

Debate between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Committee stage & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Monday 9th March 2020

(4 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Fisheries Act 2020 View all Fisheries Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 71-IV Fourth marshalled list for Committee - (9 Mar 2020)
Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs
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I am sorry to interrupt the Minister, and I thank him for sitting down. The notion of an amendment proposing REM is not specifying a particular technology. As I mentioned in my introduction to Amendment 124, there are rapidly emerging technologies; I gave the example of Shellcatch, which works on your smartphone. I did not see this as prescribing a particular method, but rather saying that what we need is a system to get accurate data on what is being caught—whether it is from the point of view of the discard ban or of getting accurate harvest data to inform fisheries scientists’ modelling—without prescribing particular technologies. I just want to make it clear that I did not have a particular gadget in mind, I had the notion of using whatever was the latest technology—which will, as the Minister has said, evolve over time.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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All I will say to the noble Lord is that some amendments referred to, for instance, cameras or whatever. If he will allow me, I will move into areas that might be more in tune with some of the other points. I agree with noble Lords that this is an area where the range of technologies and abilities are going to be immensely helpful in what we all want to achieve: a vibrant ecosystem, marine conservation, and sustainability.

The UK Government also recognise the effectiveness of introducing a requirement for vessels to operate a vessel monitoring system for fisheries enforcement purposes. This is a satellite-based monitoring system, which at regular intervals provides data to the fisheries authorities on the location, course and speed of a vessel. This provides a picture of fishing activity which can support targeted enforcement action, which is why it is currently a requirement for all UK-registered vessels over 12 metres in length, but this is not prescribed through primary legislation.

Defra ran a public consultation in February 2019 to introduce inshore vessel monitoring systems—IVMS—for all British fishing vessels under 12 metres in length operating in English waters. In its response to the consultation, Defra concluded that IVMS would be introduced and that it would bring forward the required statutory instrument. The requirement will also apply to all English-registered vessels wherever they are fishing. I understand that the devolved Administrations are adopting similar policy proposals; picking up on the point of the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, here the devolved Administrations, entirely within their gift, are adopting similar policy proposals.

The balance the UK Government are trying to achieve is a proportionate and practical approach to monitoring and enforcement that reflects the risk of discarding. This includes factors such as the fishery being exploited, the type of gear being used and the size of the vessel. Further, in respect of Amendment 80A as it relates to foreign vessels, we are also clear that we wish to ensure a level playing field between UK-registered vessels and any foreign-registered vessels which we allow to fish in our waters. In principle, ensuring that the same standards apply to foreign vessels as to our own is a sound concept.

We wish to conclude the trials and assess them. We recognise that enhanced monitoring has huge potential benefits and I am genuinely grateful to all noble Lords who have raised this matter. It is extremely serious and we need to undertake more work to come forward with further proposals on it.

On the points raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, on the catch certificate app, obviously the safety of fishers is paramount. While it is important that catch records be submitted as soon as practically possible, this should take place only once the vessel and its crew are in a safe place. Catch records ought to be submitted in port when it is safe to do so, not at sea. We know that most fishers operate in good faith and make efforts to comply with catch recording guidance, but I thought it helpful to say that we want to be pragmatic about these points and have an overriding objective of keeping people safe.

I turn to the requirement in Amendment 124 to develop a framework to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated—IUU—fishing. The Government agree that we should seek to eliminate IUU fishing and remain committed to co-operating globally to this end. The EU’s IUU regulation will be incorporated into UK law as retained EU law. The UK aims to be a global leader in the fight against IUU fishing.

I was interested in the exchange between the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, and the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, on the fisheries management plans. I fully intend for us to have this meeting. I will ask scientists to come to it, because obviously the fisheries management plan was intended to be a new insertion into this second Bill precisely to ensure that every stock is managed and fished sustainably. I would like the opportunity, before we get too jaundiced about it, to work together with noble Lords to see, with the scientists, what we can make of it and how best to take it forward, because it is an opportunity to make sure that the management plans of all stocks are in good order.

The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, raised MSY. I am very happy to talk to him about it. MSY is—I note the number of eminent people he referred to—internationally accepted. However, if I recall right, we recognised at Second Reading that it is just one tool, which is why we have included a range of sustainability objectives in the Bill. As the noble Lord will know well, ICES provides advice about MSY. I was interested in what the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, said on this. MSY is internationally accepted. I am very happy to discuss MSY with the noble Lord; it is a term used both in this country and internationally, so it would be a personal endeavour of mine to understand what other points he wishes to make.

In this context, I hope that I have explained the work already in hand on REM. We recognise that this is an extremely important area both now and for the future. We are bringing forward these proposals, but for the sake of this debate I hope my noble friend feels able to withdraw her amendment.

Fisheries Bill [HL]

Debate between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Committee stage & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 4th March 2020

(4 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Fisheries Act 2020 View all Fisheries Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 71-II(a) Amendments for Committee, supplementary to the second marshalled list - (3 Mar 2020)
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the whole point about sustainability is that we have moved, as I said in an earlier discussion, from 12%, I think it is, to 59% of the stocks that we know about now being fished at MSY. The whole thrust of what we want to do is to improve stocks and know more about them, so that there will be more fishing opportunities. We believe that there are opportunities, with our new arrangements, to do much more work in the short, medium and long term. We are coming on to fishery management plans and so forth, so that we are going to be more sustainable.

I am afraid that I cannot crystal ball gaze. My noble friend will know, having been a Fisheries Minister, that crystal ball gazing as to the size of the fleet or the numbers of people engaged in it over the next 30 or 40 years is difficult, but I have spoken about financial support, in terms of the new domestic grant scheme for training. One of the difficulties comes with very experienced people. This training is a continuum, and I can think of some skippers who have been at sea all their lives and therefore probably think further training is not required. Continuous understanding of different conditions, improvements in boats and in gear and equipment are all areas by which we will start to reduce bycatch and modernise fishing. They are all areas where we need to work collaboratively with fishing communities.

My noble friend may be being overly negative in his spirit about fishing opportunities. If we get to a sustainable harvest, which is what predicates all our work—the framework of the Bill is about moving towards sustainable fish stocks—then we will get to a point where we can harvest. This is a hugely important part of our food resource, in feeding our nation and beyond.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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I thank the Minister for giving me a chance to ask—

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I had not finished, actually, but I will sit down.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs
- Hansard - -

Thank you. I have a further question in relation to the point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Caithness. Although it may be difficult to project what the size of the fishing fleet might be in the future, there are surely statistics, which I invite the Minister to quote, on the current increase in efficiency of fishing vessels in the United Kingdom fleet—that is, catch per unit effort. How much has catch per unit effort increased over the last two decades, for example?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I wrote to your Lordships, and I can read what I said in that letter about the size of the fleet, if that would help:

“Lord Krebs raised a question about advances in technology leading to a smaller fishing fleet. As technology advances, the UK fleet may be able to catch more fish in a more efficient and targeted way, which is one of the reasons why the Bill includes a sustainability objective. The sustainability objective in the Bill includes a fleet capacity objective, seeking to ensure that fleets are balanced with fishing opportunities available and that they are economically viable but do not overexploit stocks. Given this objective, we will assess the impact of any additional quota that is negotiated once fishers start to fish against it, as it relates to the size of the fleet.


As to more precise details, I am afraid that I will have to write to the noble Lord.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Debate between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Wednesday 29th January 2020

(4 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by Professor Sir Charles Godfray A Strategy for Achieving Bovine Tuberculosis Free Status for England, published in November 2018.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
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My Lords, I declare my farming interests as set out in the register. Bovine TB remains one of our greatest animal health threats, causing devastation and distress for hard-working farmers and rural communities. We therefore continue to take strong action to eradicate the disease. Professor Sir Charles Godfray’s independent review of our strategy highlighted a number of potential further actions, while noting the level of challenge associated with eradicating bovine TB. We plan to publish a response in due course, outlining our intended next steps.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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I thank the Minister for his response. He will be aware that the Godfray report emphasised the importance of cattle-to-cattle transmission; and probably aware of the progress made at Gatcombe Farm in Devon, where a large dairy herd in a high-risk area has been transformed from persistently infected to officially TB-free, simply by tackling cattle-to-cattle transmission. The problem with the current arrangements is that the standard skin test detects only 50% of infected animals. It is therefore highly likely that a hidden reservoir of infection remains in cattle herds. At Gatcombe a battery of tests was used to detect infected cattle, as well as detecting TB in the environment. Does the Minister agree that the Gatcombe method appears to be effective and humane and, furthermore, that the Government should explore using that method on other farms to see whether it works on a more general basis?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the noble Lord kindly briefed me on the issues at Gatcombe. However, the Government have already developed a five-point plan with industry: restrict contact between badgers and cattle; manage cattle feed and water; stop infected cattle entering the herd; reduce risks from neighbouring herds; and minimise infection from cattle manure. All these are tremendously important but, as Professor Godfray said, there are no easy answers for reducing disease levels. That is why we are undertaking a range of activities.

Trade Policy: Environmental Aspects

Debate between Lord Krebs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Thursday 23rd January 2020

(4 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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Clearly Defra, BEIS and the Department for International Trade have very strong collaborative working. It is absolutely essential that we recognise the climate emergency and the need to enhance the environment. The environment Bill, which will eventually come to your Lordships’ House, will propose the establishment of the office for environmental protection; this will be an independent means of holding public authorities in this country to account to ensure that binding targets and so forth are adhered to. We should be very positive about what we are seeking to do in this country—we are one of the highest-ranking countries for both environmental and climate change performance.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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My Lords, it was reported in the papers two or three weeks ago that the European Union is considering a proposal to impose tariffs or restrictions on trade with countries that do not meet their Paris INDCs. Does the Minister think that, particularly ahead of the COP 26 in Glasgow this year, the UK, as part of its contributions to the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, might consider a similar measure in thinking of new trade relationships?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, this is an area that we obviously all need to consider globally. It is interesting that our country is ranked seventh out of 61 countries on the climate change performance index, in comparison with the EU 28, which is ranked 22nd. We should be very clear about our direction of travel. We reduced emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2018, yet the economy has grown by 75% in that period.