After the disappointment of Government Minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith, not backing Lord Jonny Oates’ amendment that would give Kingston Council the powers we need to protect biodiversity at Seething Wells Filter Beds, we move onto the next round.
Lib Dem Lord Oates, who lives in Tolworth and was a Kingston Councillor in the 1990s, has tabled an amendment to the Environment Bill at Report stage and this time he also has the backing of the Labour frontbench lead on the Bill, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch; Green Party peer, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb and prominent Crossbench Peer, Lord Kerslake. He’s also spoken over the summer to Lord Goldsmith, so that this time the Minister understands the issue that Councils have in protecting biodiversity on a site in private ownership, especially when it is not connected to a planning application.
The full amendment, which inserts a new clause into the Environment Bill, can be seen at https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2593/stages/15657/amendments/88366
It will be debated by Lords on either Monday 15th or Wednesday 17th September, depending on progress of other amendments.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
Will you help us convince Lord Zac Goldsmith that Seething Wells Filter Beds is worth saving and the Council needs the power this amendment will give to do that? If Lord Goldsmith backs the Amendment it stands a good chance of being included in the final Bill and becoming law.
Please email Lord Goldsmith at [email protected] asking him to back Amendment 94 by Lord Oates giving your name and address, and copy in Councillor Liz Green at [email protected]. Please feel free to use your own reasons, or a sample text is below.
“I ask you to support Amendment 94 to the Environment Bill, tabled by Lord Oates. I care deeply about protecting biodiversity, as I know you do. Sites at risk of biodiversity loss need to be protected from unscrupulous owners and councils are best placed to do this. We need councils to have the power to enter the site and enforce good ecological practices.
Seething Wells Filter Bed in Surbiton is a good example of this. Once Thames Water stopped using the site, over 30 years ago, nature flourished with a wide variety of fauna and flora taking hold. Over the past few years, the site owners have used everything legal to destroy any nature on the site, from pesticide spraying for unconfirmed cases of Himalayan Balsam, draining water from the beds and now using goats on the site to eat any growing vegetation. I and most of the local community want the site to become a wildlife haven, the Council is doing what it can to protect biodiversity on site but the owners continue their wanton destruction.
I need the proposed new clause in Amendment 94 to be added to the Environment Bill, so that Kingston Council, and no doubt countless others across the country, can do what you and I both want and the earth needs - protecting our precious biodiversity.”
[In picture (from left): Cllr Diane White, Cllr Yogan Yoganathan, Cllr Liz Green and Lord Oates]