14 September 2023
The House of Lords voted down several government amendments that would have axed pollution controls on housebuilders. The Nutrient Neutrality rules safeguard sensitive areas such as the Norfolk Broads, but the government was going to require local authorities to ignore any evidence of pollution and to have mitigation measures, costing hundreds of millions, funded by the taxpayer.
Green Party peer, Baroness Jenny Jones, who helped to lead the rebellion in the Lords, said:
“If the government are so desperate to add to the unacceptable levels of pollution in the water, they can bring the measures back in a separate bill, as part of the Kings Speech. They can then consult properly and justify it to a public who are already fed up with polluted local rivers and beaches. And If I was Prime Minister, I wouldn’t relish having a conversation with King Charles about the horrendous state of the country’s waterways.”
“Rejecting amendments outright is a power that the Lords can exercise when the government introduces late amendments that have not gone through the proper parliamentary process of scrutiny.
“Around a fifth of Conservative Party donations have come from property developers in the last decade , but that money was drying up and these government amendments were an attempt to get the dirty money flowing again. Fortunately, we have stopped them this time. With a general election due next year, I doubt the government will devote parliamentary time to this polluters’ charter, especially with the water industry already making such a mess of our rivers.”
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