Minister pressed to provide protection to biodiversity, but scuppers a vote on it

On Monday night the Conservative Government engineered business to run so late that it scuppered the chance of a meaningful vote on Lib Dem Lord Oates' amendment that would have given power to councils to protect biodiversity on sites like Seething Wells Filter Beds. The amendment had the support of Labour, Greens, Lib Dems and many cross-benchers, and the Government would otherwise almost certainly have lost.

Lord Oates has vowed to keep fighting to gain the necessary powers for local authorities to protect important areas of local biodiversity like Seething Wells Filter Beds. He will bring back an amendment at the next opportunity, most likely the forthcoming Planning Bill.

“Engineering business so it ran so late had the effect of scuppering my amendment and other important votes on the Bill, which the Government would otherwise have lost,” said Lord Jonny Oates.
“As I highlighted in my speech, Lord Zac Goldsmith acknowledges that local authorities don’t have the powers I was calling for, but the government refused to support my attempt to fix the issue.

“I'd like to thank all the residents who took the time to email Lord Goldsmith. He acknowledged that he had 'received a great deal of correspondence from concerned residents in Kingston regarding the Seething Wells filter beds site' and promised to reply 'over the coming days'.”

“Obviously, it's really disappointing that this vital amendment will not proceed to the House of Commons,” added Councillor Liz Green. “We will be seeking a meeting with him to discuss the problems that sites like Seething Wells are facing.”

To see the full transcript of the debate visit Hansard:EnvironmentBill (starting between column 1243 and column 1244).

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