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House of Lords

Wednesday, 21 October 2015.

3 pm

Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of Bristol.

Diplomatic Missions: Parking Fines


3.07 pm

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to recover unpaid parking fines and London congestion charge payments from diplomatic missions and international organisations.

The Earl of Courtown (Con): My Lords, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials regularly lobby diplomatic missions about outstanding debts. Debts are raised with new heads of mission when they first call on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Additionally, before the annual statement to Parliament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials write to all diplomatic missions and international organisations with unpaid parking fines of more than £500 and unpaid congestion charges of more than £100,000, urging them to settle their debts.

Lord Berkeley (Lab): I am very grateful to the Minister for that Answer, but it just shows that absolutely nothing is happening. The Written Statement on 16 July showed that the diplomatic community as a whole owed £87 million in congestion charges, for which the US won the prize for £9 million and the People’s Republic of China owed £2 million. Why does TfL not get out and clamp all these Rolls-Royces? Better still, why did Boris not think of clamping the Queen’s horse and carriage yesterday, with the president inside it? It might have taught him a lesson.

The Earl of Courtown: I have quite a short answer for the noble Lord. Diplomatic vehicles are inviable—no, I mean inviolable, which is a new word for me.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): My Lords, there are some more serious offences that various diplomatic missions commit. Some arise from mistreatment and sexual abuse of domestic workers, particularly domestic workers brought from other countries. Since the Government are so concerned about human rights in international relations, as we have seen from their conversations with the Chinese, are they considering pushing within the United Nations for diplomatic immunity to be modified in cases of severe human rights abuses? May I also ask, since Gulf diplomats are the ones who are often the most at stake, could we watch carefully the number of people from Gulf states in London claiming diplomatic status?

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The Earl of Courtown: The noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, makes a serious point. To be perfectly honest, I do not know what we are doing at the UN on this basis, but I will write to the noble Lord to find out if there is anything more that I can add. Here in the UK, we expect all foreign diplomats to abide by UK laws at all times. We take a firm line with diplomatic missions and international organisations whose diplomats commit offences.

Lord West of Spithead (Lab): My Lords, 210 years ago at this time Admiral Nelson lay dying on the orlop deck of HMS “Victory”. I raise this because we are discussing international organisations, and Nelson had showed the value of a British battle fleet in negotiating with international organisations. This led to 100 years of Pax Britannica. Twice in the last century the Navy ensured the survival of the nation. Does the Minister feel that it is appropriate to wish the Navy good luck on the 210th anniversary of Trafalgar?

The Earl of Courtown: I could not agree more with the noble Lord, Lord West. I was wondering what the sting in the tail would be. As we joked beforehand, he was going to suggest that we tab No. 10.

Lord Wright of Richmond (CB): My Lords, will the noble Earl please tell the House whether there are parking or other fines which other people have tried to charge us for, for instance in New York, and do we pay them or not?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Wright of Richmond, is very aware, our staff from his old department, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, pay their fines and abide by the regulations as much as they can.

Lord Geddes (Con): My Lords, I wonder whether my noble friend can tell me why diplomatic cars are—what was the word?—inviolable.

Noble Lords: Inviable!

The Earl of Courtown: Basically, My Lords, my noble friend asked about “inviolable”—I think “immune” is probably a better way of putting it—but this comes under the Vienna convention.

Lord Tomlinson (Lab): Is the noble Earl aware that this has been an ongoing problem for well over 60 years? I remember that in the 1970s the Foreign Office analysed not only who owed what, but where the cars were parked. Is it still the case that the majority of these cars that are clamped, or which noble Lords recommend should be clamped, would create a traffic jam outside Harrods?

The Earl of Courtown: This problem has been going on for many years. I think that there is a particular problem at the moment with the congestion charge, as

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the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, said, where some overseas diplomatic missions consider that it is a tax as opposed to a charge.

Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall (Lab): My Lords, if, as the noble Earl says, diplomatic cars and, presumably, their occupants, are inviolable, why is so much time and, indeed, parliamentary time, wasted on levying these fines in the first place?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, I do not think that parliamentary time is used in levying these fines. This is a matter for Transport for London.

Lord Swinfen (Con): My Lords, is there a maximum number of cars allowed to each diplomatic mission, or does this measure apply to all cars, some missions being bigger than others?

The Earl of Courtown: I do not know. I am sorry, my Lords.

Lord Christopher (Lab): If one should have the good fortune to earn a little money in America, you will find that you cannot escape from America until you have paid the tax. All we need to do, if I may suggest it, is to revise the names of these charges and call them a tax and the American ambassador could not leave until the tax was paid.

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, as I said in my earlier Answer, we are in continual negotiation with the various missions, reminding them of their duty when they come to this country to obey the law and pay their parking fines and the congestion charge. Officials from the Department for Transport and Transport for London continue to press non-paying diplomatic missions to pay the congestion charge, and work to identify a solution to the legal impasse with non-paying missions.

Lord Winston (Lab): Does the fact that the Minister admits ignorance mean that the Front Bench is inviolable?

Civilian Translators and Interpreters


3.15 pm

Asked by Baroness Coussins

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will mark the United Kingdom’s Presidency of the UN Security Council in November 2015 by tabling a draft resolution on the protection of civilian translators and interpreters in conflict situations.

Baroness Coussins (CB): My Lords, in asking the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper, I declare an interest as vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

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The Earl of Courtown (Con): My Lords, the Government consistently use the influence provided by our seat on the UN Security Council to urge all states to increase the protection of civilians in conflict situations. Interpreters and translators are, like all civilians, entitled to protection during armed conflict under international humanitarian law. The United Kingdom has no current plans to table a UN Security Council resolution on the protection of interpreters and translators during its presidency in November.

Baroness Coussins: My Lords, that reply is disappointing because interpreters and translators in conflict situations are not just like all other civilians. It is a hazardous profession and their vulnerability continues well after the conflict is over, as we have seen in Afghanistan. Do Her Majesty’s Government accept that interpreters and translators deserve to be on the same footing as journalists in conflict zones, who already enjoy extra protection in international law? The UN resolution on journalists received unanimous support so if not in November, when will the UK support similar action to protect vulnerable linguists, such as the draft resolution being proposed by a global alliance of professional and voluntary organisations?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, the situation with journalists is different. We supported UN Security Council Resolution 2222 in May on the protection of journalists because of the unique role they play in building open and democratic societies and the increased dangers they face as a consequence. Freedom of expression and of the media are essential qualities of any functioning democracy.

Lord Hamilton of Epsom (Con): My Lords, the total net migration into the United Kingdom last year was 330,000 people. Why was it impossible to let in Afghan interpreters, whose lives were in great danger and who very often saved the lives of our servicemen? I think their total number was something like 130.

The Earl of Courtown: I think the figure my noble friend mentions is fairly close. Around 130 of the locally engaged staff have successfully come to the United Kingdom with their families, which amounts to 460 people.

Lord Avebury (LD): My Lords, are Ministers still unaware of any case of a translator or interpreter in Afghanistan being killed following intimidation, as they were in August? Might an alternative to the suggestion made by the noble Baroness be for the Security Council to invite the UNHCR to survey the schemes for the protection of civilian translators and interpreters that have been developed by the various NATO countries in Afghanistan, in order to identify best practice and make recommendations on meeting the obligation to protect?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, I cannot comment on any individual cases but I can say that we continue to lobby strongly at the United Nations for measures that will improve the protection of civilians as a whole in conflict areas. This requires a greater compliance

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with international laws by state and non-state actors, an improved response and action by the international community, and support to states to develop their capabilities to protect their own populations.

Lord Anderson of Swansea (Lab): My Lords, again on Afghanistan, does the Minister accept that the British public may have doubts about the validity of claims for asylum from those coming from what are safe countries in the Balkans but that there is a great well of sympathy for those who have put their lives in danger to help this country?

The Earl of Courtown: I agree with much of what the noble Lord says. In Bosnia, for example, we provided our local staff with a financial payment on redundancy when their services were no longer required as the campaign drew on. In Iraq there was another scheme. Different countries require different schemes and it was not felt that the same scheme that was available in Iraq would have been suitable in Afghanistan.

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB): Can the noble Earl return to the question that my noble friend raised with him a few moments ago, specifically as to why journalists are covered—as they are by the Geneva Conventions—but translators and interpreters are not? Do we have any plans to seek an amendment to the conventions so that they might be so covered?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, I do not think there is a great deal I can add to the answer I have already given to the noble Baroness. I am not sure whether the noble Lord is aware that 64 civilian journalists and support staff have been killed so far this year. The whole world grieved at the events in Paris earlier this year. It is important to remember that journalists and bloggers face intimidation and violence around the world as well.

Lord Cormack (Con): My Lords, I do not think anybody in this House would disagree with my noble friend in what he says about journalists. But we are talking about another, truly unique, category of people—those who assist us, sometimes when our forces are at the point of death, and who are giving of their services in an exemplary way. Can we not back, or even introduce, a resolution in the UN that will give them the same degree of protection as journalists rightly enjoy?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, I do not want to get repetitive on this subject but, as I have said, we continue to press other countries in the United Nations about civilians in danger. However, at the moment, we do not feel that it is right to treat interpreters in the same way as journalists.

Lord Collins of Highbury (Lab): My Lords, the Minister explained that different packages are offered in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Can he explain why there is a difference, bearing in mind the circumstances of conflict going on in both countries?

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The Earl of Courtown: I thank the noble Lord for giving me an opportunity to explain the reason. In Iraq, our translators were recruited from the areas they were going to work in; in Afghanistan, they were recruited from areas away from where they were going to work.

Developing Nations: Technical and Vocational Education


3.22 pm

Asked by Lord Collins of Highbury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage technical and vocational education and training to increase women’s employability in developing nations.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Verma) (Con): My Lords, good-quality primary and secondary education deliver the highest dividends for poor people, especially girls. The UK Government are supporting 5.3 million girls in school in developing countries, to equip them with the skills for future learning and employment. For example, we are working with Coca-Cola in Nigeria to give 12,600 young women business skills. During 2014 in Nepal, the Employment Fund programme conducted skills training for more than 13,000 young people, of whom 56% were young women.

Lord Collins of Highbury (Lab): I thank the noble Baroness for that response. Following the recent African ministerial conference on this subject in Rwanda, can she say how involved the Government will be in this discourse to promote the involvement of girls and women in technical and vocational education in Africa?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, my department, DfID, has bilateral education programmes in 12 African countries where we support the priorities of our partner Governments. As the poorest children are still denied a quality basic education, that is where the majority of our support is focused. In Rwanda, we are the lead education donor and work closely with the German development agency which leads on support for technical and vocational skills.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes (Con): Can the Minister tell us why entrepreneurship is not included in that? When you give women in developing countries some eggs or newly hatched chicks, they turn themselves into businesswomen and are able to feed their families because they become poultry farmers. The same applies to many other things—they run a restaurant or something of that type. I was favoured enough to be chairman of Plan International UK for 12 years and saw this across the world, in Latin America, Africa and Asia. It is just as important to be sure that education includes the idea that they might run their own businesses.

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Baroness Verma: My noble friend is absolutely right, but the starting point needs to be good education. My noble friend is right: we must increase female entrepreneurs’ ability to flourish. I have just come back from Zambia, where I saw programmes on the ground where cash transfer schemes have worked and a little money or a little intervention goes a long way in ensuring that women have economic empowerment.

Lord Loomba (LD): My Lords, despite all the cuts announced recently, it is encouraging that the Government are continuing 0.7% in financial aid to developing countries. How much of that aid is being used or earmarked for increased women’s employability through technical and vocational education and training?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, the noble Lord asks a really important question. However, we have made sure that women and girls remain at the heart of each DfID programme in each country in which we are working, so we have not disaggregated that amount. I can assure the noble Lord that, with the agreement of the new SDGs, we continue to place girls and women at the heart of those programmes. We are really pleased that we got the stand-alone women SDG within the agreed SDG goals this September. However, there is a lot of work to be done and we are encouraging our partners to step up to the mark, just as the UK is doing.

Baroness Northover (LD): My Lords, what is DfID doing to ensure that women with disabilities are included in any training? She just referred to the SDGs, which make the point that extreme poverty will not be eradicated unless we leave no one behind.

Baroness Verma: Absolutely. Again, the UK should be congratulated on the work that we are doing as a Government to ensure that disability features strongly in all our programmes. On disability in schools, we made a commitment in 2013, as the noble Baroness will be aware, that we will directly fund schools only where there is disability access. The disability review is coming up on 3 December, and, if the noble Baroness is interested, I would be very happy to share the outcome of that with her.

Baroness Uddin (Non-Afl): My Lords, I know that the noble Baroness is well aware of the work of BRAC in Bangladesh, in particular, in revolutionising women’s employment and entrepreneurship. Can she tell us what work BRAC is doing to advance in that arena to diversify those women’s employment opportunities through technical and vocational training—perhaps including computer training?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, I will not specifically go into that programme, because we should be proud of our programme across DfID. That is about increasing employment—productive employment—for women. As I said, they start from school, where we give them the opportunity to gain an education and skills. We can then develop to ensure that they are both productive economically and, where they are unpaid, able to use

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those skills to develop entrepreneurialism outside their workplaces. I read in a recent report that if we give women opportunities, we can add $28 trillion-worth of value to our global GDP.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Con): Is my noble friend aware that the Commonwealth is giving the highest priority to gender equality and full employability of women? That is based on the simple proposition that countries that do not give absolute equality to half their labour force will simply not develop—growth goes with gender equality. Is she aware that in Malta, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November, there will be a major conference on gender equality lasting four days which will be attended by all 53 nations of the Commonwealth?

Baroness Verma: I absolutely agree with my noble friend, and I will be attending to ensure that we again participate in those important debates. My noble friend makes the poignant point that unless we have everybody involved in economic productivity, we lose the value of 50% of the world’s population.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (Lab): My Lords, I wholeheartedly agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Howell of Guildford, said about the Commonwealth, but I wonder what the Commonwealth is doing to ensure that LGBT people are also properly employed throughout the Commonwealth.

Baroness Verma: My Lords, the noble Baroness may rest assured that my noble friend Lady Anelay and I raise these issues all the time. Like her, we very much share the belief that accessibility should be for all people and that no one should be left behind.

Graham Ovenden: Art Collection


3.30 pm

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to intervene to save work from the collection of Graham Ovenden, including work by Pierre Louys and others, from destruction following the ruling made at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court on 13 October.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Shields) (Con): My Lords, this Question relates to a specific judicial matter. The Government have no power to intervene in the courts. However, for clarity, this decision relates to the public art collection of a convicted paedophile, which involves images that directly depict the sexual abuse of children. This does not affect the works of art of any public gallery or museum.

The Earl of Clancarty (CB): My Lords, apart from the potential fate of the art itself, does the Minister agree that this unprecedented judgment has disturbing

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and huge implications for the protection of other work in the country—for instance, the Warren cup in the British Museum—as well as for the freedom of expression of many contemporary artists? Where is the consistency of this judgment in relation to others? Please will the Minister place a list of the art ordered to be destroyed, and the judgment, in the Library of the House as soon as possible?

Baroness Shields: The Government will definitely place a list of the art to be destroyed by this judgment in the Library as soon as possible. Sexually explicit art and its creation by artists in this country are not put at risk by this judgment. The judge in this case took into account the fact that this private collection features sexually abusive images, which in England and Wales it is a criminal offence to possess.

Lord Clement-Jones (LD): My Lords, I heard what the Minister said, but as a matter of principle is it not surprising that a district judge can make absolute moral and aesthetic judgments of this kind involving the destruction of artworks, some of which are more than 100 years old? Is not a much better solution to this to limit display rather than to destroy these works of art? Are we not confusing the artist with the art involved?

Baroness Shields: My Lords, this case relates to the artist’s private collection. The trustees of the Tate decided no longer to display this art because some of the victims could have been part of the art display, so crime scenes would have been on display in the Tate. There is a statement about that. This case relates to the individual collection. The only person who can appeal is the convicted criminal.

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Lab): My Lords, there are 21 days for this appeal to be heard; therefore there is time to explore further some of the issues raised here. Are the Government really saying that it is all right to criticise totalitarian regimes elsewhere for destroying art but we are not prepared to take action within ourselves? What happened to our recollections of the Lady Chatterley case? What about the OZ prosecutions? Are there not lessons to be learned about civilised societies and the way they operate? I appeal to the Minister to call a meeting of interested parties in this House to see what options there are to try to rescue the art, accepting that the case of the artist must be left alone.

Baroness Shields: I would be happy to call a group to address this issue. In this case, it is up to the individual to appeal the judge’s decision; I understand that the judicial process is for him to make that decision. If there is some way that an interested party could encourage him to make that decision, that would be the route I would suggest.

Baroness Bakewell (Lab): My Lords, I endorse what has been said about this matter of principle. The aesthetics of this country and its art cannot be determined by the magistracy. This is an important decision of

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principle regardless of what is in this collection. The collection does not have to go on display; it simply does not have to be destroyed. Do not forget that the magistracy ordered the seizure of paintings by DH Lawrence which are now collected and are of great value everywhere.

Baroness Shields: I agree that the optics of this are concerning. I think the best route forward is to convene a group and to come up with a creative solution, as the noble Lord suggested, because the Government cannot intervene in the judicial process. We need another route in order to protect and save the art. There are works of art in this collection that relate specifically to individuals and are child sexual abuse images. Noble Lords will agreed that they should definitely be destroyed.

Energy Bill [HL]

Bill Main Page

Report (2nd Day)

3.35 pm

Relevant documents: 6th and 7th Reports from the Delegated Powers Committee

Clause 66: Onshore wind power: closure of renewables obligation on 31 March 2016

Amendment 78B

Moved by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

78B: Clause 66, page 38, line 5, leave out subsection (1)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change and Wales Office (Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth) (Con): My Lords, as I discuss the amendments today, I want to remind noble Lords of what has already been achieved. At the end of April 2015 there were 490 operational onshore wind farms in the United Kingdom, with an installed capacity of 8.3 gigawatts—enough to power the equivalent of more than 4.5 million homes. Considering the projects that already had planning permission and so on, there is enough onshore wind in the pipeline to contribute to what is needed to meet our ambition of 30% of electricity from renewables by 2020. This is a significant achievement, made possible only by consumer subsidies. The Government have estimated that in 2015-16, £850 million of support will go towards funding onshore wind across the United Kingdom, with around £520 million, approximately 60%, going towards funding Scottish onshore wind farms.

It is too soon to predict what the best energy mix will be as we move beyond 2020 but, as we continue on our path to a low-carbon economy, it is absolutely right that we also protect the consumer. Government support is designed to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not to encourage reliance on subsidies. This means moving from demand-led schemes to competition-led schemes. Ending support under the renewables obligation early for new onshore wind in Great Britain, with appropriate provision for grace periods, balances the interests of onshore wind developers with those of the wider public. This Government

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made a commitment to the electorate—no new subsidies for onshore wind, and giving local communities the final say on onshore wind farm applications—and the Government must deliver on this.

I have tabled government Amendments 78B, 78D to 78P, 78R and 82A, which seek to amend and supplement Clause 66 for debate at recommittal on 14 October. I withdrew the amendments to reflect on the points made in the debate, and committed to re-present them on Report today. I thank noble Lords for the useful discussion in last week’s debate. As promised, I have reflected on that discussion and incorporated a number of changes into the clauses that we will be debating today. It is right that we took the time to do that, and I hope that noble Lords will accept that I have listened and reacted.

The substance, however, must remain the same. We are not all going to agree on what is being proposed by these amendments, but they have been developed following extensive engagement with industry and I am confident that they strike the right balance. They provide a grace period to protect investor confidence while protecting the public interest. Early indication from industry is that it welcomes these amendments. Although there will always be projects that just miss out wherever we draw the line, it is clear that the Government have a mandate to act and that is exactly what we are doing.

Before moving on to the detail of these amendments, I shall address the future of contracts for difference, as raised by noble Lords at our last session. The Secretary of State has been clear that we will make an announcement in the autumn relating to the next allocation round for contracts for difference. That position is unchanged; it is as it was. I realise that this is an important issue for all, but I suggest that we have set out a very clear position. The clauses that I present to the House today clearly deliver on the Government’s commitment in relation to onshore wind while protecting investor confidence.

I shall address some of the points that were raised at recommittal stage by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, and echoed by others, including the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington. During that stage the noble and learned Lord raised a number of interesting points for discussion. I have responded to these in a formal letter to him, and will now respond to them in this forum for the benefit of all noble Lords.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, asked for further detail on our reasons for including the provision for appeals in our grace period criteria. We have included these projects because, had the correct planning permission decision been taken in the first place, they would have had planning permission by 18 June. Projects where planning permission was granted on appeal in the circumstances covered by the amendments will have established a legal right to planning permission on or before 18 June and therefore we are including these cases within the approved development grace period criteria. It seems to be the right thing to do.

In the recommittal debate the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, asked about projects that achieve consent after 18 June, following a delay to the decision which exceeded the statutory timeframe. Unless the

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projects utilised their legal right to challenge the delivery of consent within the statutory timescales, such projects would not fall within the scope of the approved development condition.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, also raised the question of amending the grace period criteria to either allow all projects that had applied for planning permission access to the grace period or to consider extending the cut-off date to 8 October—the date on which the Government first tabled the amendments setting out the criteria for the grace period. The government amendments set out the grace period as originally proposed, which would allow those projects which as of 18 June had planning permission, a grid connection and land rights to continue to accredit under the renewables obligation until the original closure date of 31 March 2017. That is a reasonable expectation for them to have, and we have responded to it. Planning permission rather than application has been chosen because the grant of planning permission represents a very significant point in the progression to accreditation under the RO.

The government amendments strike the right balance. They deliver on our manifesto commitment while also seeking to protect investor confidence and the interests of onshore wind developers. For this reason I question the changes proposed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace. These changes would have a fundamental impact on our ability to deliver on the manifesto pledge and to manage our low-carbon spend. Based on the department’s analysis, allowing all projects with only a planning application in place could mean that anything up to 7.1 gigawatts could accredit under the renewables obligation. This figure represents all projects that had submitted an application but not yet received planning permission as at 18 June.

Furthermore, I also question moving the qualifying date from 18 June to 8 October 2015 as, similarly, this would also serve to potentially increase the number of projects eligible to accredit under the renewables obligation. This would mean that we would remain at risk of deploying beyond the 11 gigawatts to 13 gigawatts of onshore wind that we project is needed to meet our 2020 targets and what we can afford under our low-carbon spending cap, as well as being inconsistent with our manifesto pledge. This could therefore potentially add more costs to consumer bills. The Government’s position is that projects must have had planning permission on or before 18 June in order to be eligible for the grace period. I hope that noble Lords can see that the line has been drawn here for a crucial reason.

Following questions raised in the recommittal debate I will also take the opportunity to discuss the position on variations. We are aware that projects that had planning permission on or before 18 June may subsequently need to vary that permission and that the Acts provide for this, for example under Sections 96A and 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or under Section 36C of the Electricity Act 1989. Where consent is granted for development on or before 18 June and is subsequently varied as provided for by statute, the development will continue to fall within the proposed development condition set out in Section 32LJ.

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On projects where a radar objection has been withdrawn, we understand that there are projects in a number of differing scenarios. For example, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, stated, a project may have received objections to a planning application on matters such as radar. Where that project has managed to resolve the matter with the objector and subsequently has been granted planning permission on or before 18 June, it of course meets the criteria for the grace period provided that the other conditions are satisfied. If the resolution of those objections pushes the determination past 18 June, unfortunately it will not meet those criteria.

The grid and radar delay condition set out in the amendments maintains the intent of the original, existing grid and radar grace period, as set out in the Renewables Obligation Closure Order 2014. The intention is that projects which are delayed due to delays to work on radar stations or radar equipment, which are outside their control, should be eligible for the additional 12-month grace period.

3.45 pm

During the recommittal debate, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, proposed what he referred to as the “for the avoidance of doubt” amendment relating to this condition. This change would remove the requirement for a developer to show that there had been a delay in completing radar works. However, such a change would widen the scope of the proposed grace period and would be inconsistent with the existing grace period for grid and radar delays set out in the Renewables Obligation Closure Order 2014. Therefore, we would resist that change.

I understand that projects may have anomalies specific to their situation. The treatment of individual projects and their eligibility for the grace period will depend on their factual circumstances, so it is very difficult to react to specific cases. I would not want to compromise the position of those projects, and I hope that noble Lords will accept that this is the right approach.

In relation to the investment freeze condition, some very reasonable points have been made about the definition of “recognised lender”. We are continuing to look at this, as some very valid points have been raised.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, raisedtwo additional questions, the first specifically on Section 36 projects and the second on projects where the planning committee was minded to approve a planning application, subject to a Section 75, relating to Scotland, or a Section 106, relating to England, agreement as at 18 June. I will speak to these questions later when I address the non-government amendments, Amendments 78RA, 78RB, 78RC, 78RF and 78RG. I thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, for raising these useful questions, and I hope that my responses have clarified many of the questions raised at the recommittal debate.

Turning to the specifics, Amendments 78B, 78D to 78P and 78R would amend the Bill to introduce the proposed grace period criteria for the early closure policy, as outlined in the Secretary of State’s announcement on 18 June. Amendments 78B and 78D to 78P would

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amend the Bill to make a number of changes to Clause 66, which introduces a new provision into the Electricity Act 1989 to implement the early closure of the policy. These amendments seek to remove the delegated power with a view to setting out the terms of the grace period on the face of the Bill.

Amendment 78R sets out the details of the grace period. The proposal was and—following both industry engagement and the debate at recommittal—remains to offer a grace period to those projects which, as of 18 June 2015, already have relevant planning consents, a grid connection offer and acceptance of that offer or confirmation that no grid connection is required, and access to land rights. In addition, in certain circumstances, projects which have been granted planning permission following a successful appeal will be eligible for the grace period. In particular, those projects which, via a judicial review or an appeal, have had overturned a negative planning decision made on or before 18 June will be eligible for the grace period, subject to satisfying the normal conditions. The reason is that, had the correct decision been made in the first instance, the project would have had planning consent on or prior to the cut-off date of 18 June. These key grace period terms are referred to in proposed new Section 32LJ and are referred to as the “approved development condition”.

At recommittal, a number of noble Lords outlined concerns about the choice of having planning permission on or before 18 June 2015 as a criterion for meeting the approved development condition and the perceived injustice of the projects that fall outside this category. This is undoubtedly difficult but we have to draw the line somewhere and, wherever we draw this line, there will be some projects just the other side of it. Our assessment clearly shows that drawing the line here provides enough onshore wind deployment for us to meet our 2020 targets and protects consumers on affordability grounds.

I now turn to the investment freezing condition and the matter of investor confidence. As I outlined previously, following the announcement in June, the Government have conducted an extensive engagement exercise. We received hundreds of representations, including through face-to-face meetings with myself and the Secretary of State. We have listened to our stakeholders, including the devolved Administrations, developers, the supply chain and investors, who expressed concerns about the impact that legislative uncertainty was having on financiers’ willingness to lend. We saw evidence that certain projects are experiencing difficulty securing funding and we have taken action to resolve this.

To ensure that projects which meet the grace period criteria and would otherwise have been able to commission and accredit under the renewables obligation by 31 March 2017 are not frozen out of the process, we are offering those projects which meet the “approved development condition” additional time to seek accreditation.

Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan (Lab): My Lords, before the Minister leaves this point, could he tell us, first, what sums are involved in these investment problems at present, how many of them have been prejudiced and how much they were worth in the first place?

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Secondly, will he give us some idea of the global sums involved in the whole sorry procedure that we are having to go through?

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, obviously much is dependent upon when the legislation goes through, and that is in the hands of this House and another place. Therefore, I think it is impossible to say with any certainty—or even to give an estimate—exactly how much is at stake. It relates to those projects that have already deployed, and so they are being given additional time to deploy. It is for individual projects that suffer from this investment freeze to come forward. We have done this in response to the engagement exercise. It will not deploy any more wind projects and it allows those projects that have deployed, following our proposals under the grace period, an added period within which to bring forward their projects and have the existing position.

Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan: I take it then that the Minister is unaware of the financial implications of what he is asking us to support this afternoon.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, it is not for me to determine whether the conditions are met. There is a process set out in relation to those projects that would be able to deploy and, if they have suffered a hiatus, for them to come forward with the claim in relation to how much it is. It is not going to cost any additional money, because it just gives them additional time in which to deploy. As I am coming to, it gives them approximately another nine months. It is not an additional amount of deployment; it is some projects that will deploy being allowed additional time to meet the conditions.

Baroness Worthington (Lab): My Lords, perhaps I can help the Minister out, if I may. We have had estimates from the independent renewable energy group to say that the projects that have fallen just the other side of this cut-off deadline that the Government have imposed have costs in the region of £350 million.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: With respect to the noble Baroness, this is not about those projects that fall just the other side of the line; this is about those projects that can satisfy the conditions being given additional time. This does not bring any more deployment in. That is a quite separate point, if I may say so.

Lord Hardie (CB): I would like to ask the Minister about the extension of time. I fully understand and think it is fair that there has been an extension of time where planning permission is granted on appeal. However, did I understand the Minister to say that, where permission was refused on appeal, and if there were a judicial review that ultimately granted permission, that would be respected and it would be deemed to have been an appropriate permission? What concerns me is the timescale, if my understanding is correct. How many years down the line are we talking about

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beyond June 2015? Once we go down that line, for perhaps two years, that might have an impact on meeting the 2019 deadline.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, I am very happy to respond to that point, but it is a quite separate point from the investment freezing condition, relating, as it does, to the appeals process. The point of the amendments that we are putting forward is to say that if a project should have been given planning permission on or before the cut-off date of 18 June, and the appeals process demonstrates that, whether by an appeal or judicial review, it is reasonable, rational and right that they should be allowed to accredit under these proposals, and that is what would happen. That was done in response to the engagement exercise that we have been through. We have tried to do what is right, in considering very reasonable points. I do not accept that this would drag on indefinitely: I do not think that the legal process is in a Jarndyce v Jarndyce situation. There will, of course, necessarily be some sort of delay, but that is how the judicial process will operate. It is absolutely right to have that provision in relation to the appeals procedure.

To return to the investment freezing condition, the extension available in the circumstances that I have outlined will be approximately nine months—broadly equivalent to the period between the date of the Secretary of State’s announcement and Royal Assent. To be eligible for this extra time, projects must be able to provide evidence that they have been impacted by a lack of investment during the period to Royal Assent.

This “investment freezing condition” has been designed specifically to protect the projects that were intended to be able to access the grace period as proposed on 18 June. It is not an extension of deployment, but an extension of the period for those that are able to deploy within the grace period. This condition is not about increasing the pipeline of onshore wind projects that are able to accredit under the renewables obligation.

Furthermore, as a result of the helpful discussion at recommittal, a drafting change has been made to the amendment. Your Lordships will have seen that in new Section 32LK(4)(a)—some of you may have picked this up—the phrase “as at May 2016” has been replaced by the phrase,

“as at the Royal Assent date”,

following representations made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace—representations that I think were entirely valid, and which have been echoed by the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington. Similarly, in consequence, new Section 32LK(4)(b) now refers to,

“the date which is 28 days after the Royal Assent date”.

In addition, those provisions have been amended—again, following representations at recommittal—to make it clear that either uncertainty about whether the Bill will receive Royal Assent or uncertainty about the final wording of the Bill will be sufficient for the purposes of meeting the “investment freezing condition”. We have made it absolutely clear in the Bill that it is not necessary to show both. I am grateful to noble Lords for the helpful debate that we have had on these points. I believe that this revised drafting now makes our intent perfectly clear, and has improved the Bill.

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In order to provide a consistent approach to all onshore wind projects eligible to accredit under the renewables obligation, we also ensure through these amendments that a pre-existing grid and radar delay grace period will apply here. This condition entitles projects affected by unforeseen grid and/or radar delays to an additional 12-month period in which to accredit. This amendment, too, has been redrafted to provide clarity about when a project may benefit from a grace period for grid and/or radar works delays. The provision is now clear that either grid delays or radar delays, or both, will be sufficient for these purposes. Again, I thank noble Lords for the useful discussion that led to this amendment.

I am confident in the amendments, and in the proposed grace period. I have listened to noble Lords, and I believe that I have responded positively on various issues. Again I thank them for their helpful suggestions which have been incorporated to improve the clarity of the clauses. We have listened actively to stakeholders and worked to ensure that the final policy strikes the right balance between the interests of onshore wind developers and those of the wider public. I hope that your Lordships will agree that these amendments should stand. I beg to move.

4 pm

Lord Wallace of Tankerness (LD): My Lords, I think that the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, will say something about Scotland when she comes to speak to her amendments. As I said in Committee, the onshore wind industry in Scotland directly employs 5,400 people and contributes £9 million per annum in community benefit. I think that the work which I would like to claim my noble friend Lord Stephen and I started when we were in the coalition Government in Edinburgh and which has been carried on by the present Scottish Administration, and the work done by previous Secretaries of State at DECC, has resulted in onshore wind power being an increasingly cheaper source of power. However, the position as I set out in Committee on the Scottish dimension was that if the Scottish Government choose to extend the period, as was first envisaged when it was agreed with them that the renewables obligation would end, that is something that they should be able to do.

On the grace periods, which were the substance of the Minister’s amendments, I first and foremost acknowledge his engagement both before last week’s recommittal and subsequently, in terms both of meetings and phone calls. It might also be fair to acknowledge his private office, because I received an email from it timed at 00:54 on Saturday morning, which is quite remarkable. I know from experience just how hard private offices work.

While I welcome some of the changes which the Minister has referred to, with regard to the investment freezing condition and to making it clear that it was grid or radar and not cumulative, that is as far as the Government have gone, and the rest of the government response has been more than a little disappointing.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab): Is the fact that the Minister, who is well respected in this House, has had to work so hard—his private office has to work

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past midnight—not illustrative of the chaotic way in which the Government as a whole have dealt with this Bill?

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: My Lords, I think that everyone who has dealt with this Bill would agree that it has not been a satisfactory process. We have had late tabling of amendments; even the amendments before us were tabled only on Monday, meaning that if we wished to table amendments to amendments we were under considerable pressure to do so.

Perhaps I may put in context what we are discussing by drawing to the House’s attention what was said yesterday in the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change in the other place. My right honourable friend the Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland asked the noble Lord’s ministerial colleague, Andrea Leadsom, “So what is the purpose of the grace period, then?” To which she replied, “As I say, to ensure fairness—to ensure that those who have spent money in a significant investment and achieved everything technically to meet the cut-off date, but through reasons beyond their control have not actually made it, are not penalised for reasons beyond their control”. It is with these words in mind that we must examine the Government’s position and the amendments that have been put forward. As the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, said, an estimated £350 million has been put in to take forward projects which may not now proceed.

Our amendments relate in one respect to all applications which were in train at the time of the somewhat arbitrary date of 18 June—that was the date that Secretary of State made a Statement; it has no more magic than that—and which had received planning committee approval. The reason for emphasising committee approval was that, in an earlier clause in the Bill, the Government set great store by the fact of local determination. A local determination means that, after considerable discussion, debate and consultation, the local planning committee has approved a particular proposal. It may just be that it is due to the cycle of planning meetings that the application has not yet gone to the full council for endorsement. I refer back to what the Minister, Ms Leadsom, said about applicants achieving everything technically to meet the cut-off date, but through reasons beyond their control, have not actually made it. A lot of developers do not have control over the cycle of meetings of a local authority and it seems very unfair that, if they have passed muster after scrutiny by a planning committee, they fall foul because the full council has not ratified that decision.

Our Amendment 78RA contains a provision that it should refer to planning applications that were in place and had been accepted 16 or more weeks before 18 June. The reason for that is that after 16 weeks it is possible, if the local authority has not made a determination, for the developer to say that there has been a non-determination, so it is a deemed refusal and to appeal to Ministers on that basis. But the noble Lord and others who were at the Committee debate last week will remember that I gave an example from, I think, Tayside where extensive work had been done in terms of discussions between the developers, local communities and the planning authority to try to

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ensure that concerns had been meet and the opportunities to work with other environmental projects going on in the area were maximised. I believe, along with I am sure most Members of your Lordships’ House, that it is good practice for developers to work alongside the planning authority and try to get an agreement and outcome that is satisfactory to all. And yet, if the developer did that and missed the 18 June cut-off date, it will be penalised for it, whereas those about whom it might be said that they are not using best practice—I would not necessarily say that it was bad practice—might take a slightly legalistic view and say, “Well, it has been 16 weeks, so that is it. We are going to appeal because there has been a deemed refusal”. If that is subsequently granted on appeal, their applications will be satisfied. That does not appear to be a fair way of proceeding. If we are looking for an element of fairness in this, where is the fairness in penalising those who have demonstrated good practice?

Also with regard to Section 75 and Section 106, the Minister said in his letter to me that, where the planning committee could have been minded to approve on or before 18 June subject to Section 75 or Section 106 agreements but no formal consent was granted on or before 18 June, unfortunately, there is no legal consent given that they are minded to approve and we understand that the negotiations can be lengthy and not always successful. People from the industry who have been talking to me find that an unduly legalistic approach. The industry has been working with planning authorities for some 10 years on the Section 75 or Section 106 agreements that emerge in these situations. By and large they are already negotiated, but it may take time to put in place some of the detailed provisions. For example, if it is part of the development that there has to be a new habitat on neighbouring land—not the land on which the development is to take place—it has to be shown that the developer has the right to undertake the building of the habitat on that land. That is part and parcel of what happens and it is both practical and common sense that it should be recognised. Again, reminding us of what the Minister’s colleague said, it is to ensure fairness so that people are not penalised for reasons that are beyond their control.

Perhaps I may also take up what the Minister said on the question of variations. He helpfully stated in his letter to me and then repeated it in the House just a moment ago that, where consent is granted for a development on or before 18 June and is subsequently varied in this way, it will continue to fall within the approved building condition in proposed new Section 32LJ. I raise this because it is helpful that the Minister has now put this on the record, but I have also had representations from those who have taken legal advice that they do not necessarily believe that it does what the Minister says. I would ask him to look at it again. The fact that we have something that could be referred to in a Pepper v Hart way is helpful, but some would find greater reassurance, and it would be clearer to me, if there is something on the face of the Bill.

I refer to Amendments 78RA and 78RB with regard to Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. The purpose and effect of these amendments is to address what we believe is an anomaly by applying the principle of

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proposed new Section 32LJ(4)(b) to an analogous position under the Section 36 regime. Under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, the relevant planning authority is not the decision taker, but it can object to the proposal, after which there must be a public inquiry and then a decision by the Secretary of State. That is closely analogous to refusal under local planning followed by an appeal, and indeed for around half of the affected projects DECC’s renewable energy planning database describes the projects as being at appeal. Indeed, the last time that the people briefing me looked at the DECC website they were described as being at appeal. However, the proposed provisions cover the local planning version of this process but not the Section 36 version. This means that small extensions of larger sites, which have to follow the Section 36 route, are going to be treated less favourably under these grace period provisions than some sub-50 megawatt, stand-alone developments which go ahead under the local planning process. Reverting back to the question of fairness, there should be consistency in the Government’s approach. This amendment seeks to ensure that, and I hope the Minister will think again on it.

I also draw the Minister’s attention to the fact that, because of the Planning Act 2008, which has superseded Section 36 in England and Wales, that section mainly affects plants in Scotland. The functions of the Secretary of State under Section 36 and Schedule 8 are transferred to Scottish Ministers under Article 2 of the Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 1999, so far as they are exercisable in or as regards Scotland. Accordingly, the amendment does not explicitly refer to devolved Ministers. Would the Minister look and see if it is the case that they are not covered? I am sure he would not wish to put Scottish developers in any less favourable position than those in England and Wales.

We have proposed a relatively simple amendment regarding grid works, with a different cut-off date for grid works agreements. In Committee and subsequently, I raised with the Minister a case involving a joint venture between an energy company and a private individual. The energy company carried on the transmission entry capacity for a substation but the joint venture finished and the private individual carried on himself. Transmission entry capacity has therefore been lost and has to be reapplied for. It has had that connection for five years in the past but, crucially, did not have it on 18 June. It seems very unfair that they should lose out in a very bureaucratic process. We tried to find a way to capture that in an amendment and we thought we would do this by putting in a different end date, because you cannot just conjure up a grid connection agreement. It would not have taken any more capacity than was already the case, but this might give some clarity.

In another circumstance which has been drawn to my attention, changes were made. Grid capacity that was for one developer was then to be shared and this required a new agreement to be made. There was a clerical error and the developer sent the agreement back to get this sorted. Unfortunately, it was sent just before 18 June and did not come back until after that date. It would be reassuring to know whether that counts as a variation or whether it could be addressed by extending the period for grid connection.

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In the recommittal, I made a point about radar and the problem developers are finding with the length of time it is taking the Ministry of Defence to process applications. The grace period that has been given may, therefore, not be effective because of the time it takes to get agreements reached. One developer who has made representations has said, about a particular mitigation which the MoD is looking for: “There are no guarantees that the work programme will deliver mitigation at this stage. In any event, the current MoD position is that the first part of the variation condition allowing development to commence cannot be discharged before 2018. There are some ongoing discussions between onshore developers and the MoD, seeking to find ways of earlier condition discharge but this is proving problematic. Overall, the costs and timescales of this ATC radar mitigation programme do not fit with any of the onshore projects”. It would be perverse if delay on the part of the Ministry of Defence meant that the grace period which the Government have sought to give does not actually cover these circumstances. This is why we have put in a particular date, though it may be that March 2018 is too early. I hope the Minister will take that serious point about trying to get agreements out of the Ministry of Defence if he wishes to give substance to what he sought to do with the radar works part of his amendment.

I am sorry to take up time but I had a lot of important points. I hope that the Government will move. I do not believe that they have met the letter or the spirit of what Andrea Leadsom said yesterday to the Select Committee in the other place.

4.15 pm

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I did not speak in Committee, although I attended it, partly because I found almost a sense of the ground moving under my feet as all the amendments were produced. This, of course, was a recommittal in Committee under these clauses. At the end of the debate, the clauses were removed. I think that it was the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, who referred to “liquid legislation”. There is a phenomenon emerging in the Church of England called “liquid worship”. I can only say that when I am told that that is what I am to expect on a Sunday when I go to a parish, my heart does not leap with joy at what might be in prospect for me.

In Committee, I began by thinking that the Government had done a deal with the industry through withdrawing the clauses and bringing them back in the recommitted meeting of the Grand Committee. But then I listened to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace. If Members of the House think that we have just heard a tour de force, they were not there in Committee, which saw an even greater tour de force, complemented in a different style by the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes.

The noble Lord refers to the need to “draw a line”. He mentioned that phrase five or six times in his contribution. The problem is that the line was drawn at March 2017. It is a redrawing of the line by the Government which has put us into this situation and raised the question of how one does it in a way that is reasonably fair all round given the complexities of the planning process which have been so well described.

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At this stage, I simply ask: what are the real benefits of this liquid legislation, which may prove to be even more liquid in the coming weeks and months? What savings will be made by trying to redraw the line from March 2017 to a date somewhat in advance of that? As I understand it, it is a somewhat moving and shifting date. What is the game worth? Given the vast subsidies that are being paid out over coming years for wind turbines, what will the savings be in comparison with those subsidies that are being paid out?

I must emphasise that I speak as someone who has been critical of that subsidy regime from the beginning. As some noble Lords will know, I was a founding trustee with the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which seeks to scrutinise policy from that perspective. I sometimes say that my real title here is that I am chaplain to HMS “Lawson”, although I do not speak with the authority of the captain. I would be interested to know what the anticipated saving is and whether the game is really worth the candle, given the complexity that has emerged.

Baroness Young of Old Scone (Lab): My Lords, I had not thought that what we were dealing with was liquid legislation. I thought we were dealing with piecemeal transitional arrangements dreamt up on the hoof as we go through the process. But I am quite prepared for the right reverend Prelate to give us this liquid legislation definition in perpetuity. It is a rather splendid phrase.

This has been a really unsatisfactory Bill and we must not allow ourselves to see this as an argument about onshore subsidy protectionism. It is not about that at all. I think that everybody in the House recognises that the period of subsidy for onshore wind may well come to an end at some point in the nearish future. It is much more about what it is that we want to try to do to send signals about our climate change intentions and to adhere to our own regulatory principles. I have been a regulator three times on behalf of the Government and on each occasion I have absolutely worked my socks off to make sure that we are as fair as possible to British industry. Fairness means giving clarity of policy and adequate times for industry to adjust, meaning that companies are not caught with their foot on the wrong side of a piece of change and penalised as a result of their previously sensible decisions in line with what previously had been government policy. Even with the very welcome changes to the grace periods that the Minister has laid before us, we are still not there.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, talked about the statement made yesterday by the Energy Minister in another place. I was a bit distressed to hear the Minister here say that we have made lots of concessions and we now have enough renewable energy from onshore wind in the pipeline. I do not think that that is the point. The point is, have we dealt fairly with British industry and given anybody who could reasonably consider themselves not to have been fairly dealt with the benefit of the doubt in this circumstance, where, all of a sudden, policy has shifted? The Minister said that there had been extensive consultation with the companies and stakeholders, yet many noble Lords will have been lobbied and briefed by players in the

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energy business, who, even this morning, have been listing a series of situations where, through no fault of their own, they continue to be penalised by the grace-period arrangements.

I simply ask the Minister to consider some of the circumstances that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, aptly summarised in such an eloquent fashion to ensure that the statement made by the Energy Minister yesterday about fairness is adhered to and that we do not continue to see liquid legislation that is simply piecemeal, illogical and very damaging, both to our climate change image in the world and the image in terms of British industry about whether reliable frameworks in which companies can realistically work will continue to come from this Government.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Con): My Lords, I was not going to intervene at this stage, but the right reverend Prelate’s intervention and his association with my noble friend Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation prompted me to pursue the point that he raised. A lot of our discussion has been on the penalties —in other words, the removal of subsidies from people who thought that they had a chance of the subsidy when they started their projects. That is aside from whether the project is environmentally okay or whether they get local government approval for planning reasons and so on; it is simply the question of whether they were caught by various delays and, therefore, would not get the subsidies that they thought they would get when they set out.

We are not in any way trying to stop the development of the very successful parts of the onshore windfarm industry. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, reminded us, electricity from wind power is getting cheaper. If it is getting cheaper, it will in due course need less subsidy. Remarks from outside this country—particularly an ill-informed remark by the UN adviser, Professor McGlade, that somehow Britain was putting a stop to its movements towards low-carbonisation by putting a stopper on all wind power and so on—are way out of kilter and far from representing where we stand.

It is no less interesting to work out to what extent these grace periods will help the situation—I thoroughly approve of all the amendments that my noble friend has brought forward with such assiduity. Presumably, as a result of these grace periods, we will see slightly more subsidy paid out, which has to come from the consumer—the industrial consumer in particular—than we would have done before he introduced the amendments. The money that was not going to come from somewhere has to come from somewhere. Somebody will have to pay for it. This is on a day when we are staggering under the colossal redundancies that have been announced throughout the steel industry—including the steel industry in Scotland—which, we are told, are overwhelming the result of very high energy costs. Apparently, for electricity, we are paying twice the German level. In turn, of course, energy costs for the steel industry of Europe are leading people to predict that the entire industry will be wiped out. At a time like this, we need to watch with needle sharpness what is happening to the costs that are falling on the industries where all

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these jobs are being destroyed. How much more of that cost is still going to persist in meeting all the grace period conditions which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, with his massive legal knowledge and detailed grasp of the situation, has described as being necessary and fair? How much more will this kind of fairness cost in the end in burdens on the electricity users of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom in ways which will precipitate even further these appalling redundancies? We need to keep that side of the argument very clearly in our minds.

Baroness Worthington: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for introducing the government amendments. I will speak to those and also to Amendment 78C in my name, and in support of the amendments tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace.

As we enter the second day of Report, I do not feel that the Bill has been well handled, as has already been referenced. This may stem from the fact that the Bill was not ready when it was presented to us. Significant areas of policy were still being developed. It was a very fluid situation. In fact, the term “liquid legislation” will probably stay with us for many years to come. It was coined by the noble Lord, Lord Howell, in the recommital stage of Committee and describes very accurately how we have been dealing with a set of moving parts as we have gone through the Bill. Here we are on Report, but it still feels very much like a Committee stage, and that is regrettable. We should not be in this situation where we have so many controversial issues still unresolved.

Throughout the Bill’s passage, I have pressed the Minister to give me a justification and a sound argument why the Government have chosen the route that they have in this Energy Bill of introducing what is now Clause 66 regarding the early closure of a renewables support scheme that was already closing 12 months early—and, in fact, not closing it to everybody but just to one subsection of technology: onshore wind. Why do we find ourselves in a place where the Government appear to have singled out for special treatment a single technology from all the low-carbon technologies available to us, and where that special treatment is so damaging and corrosive to investor confidence? I am afraid that I have not received a suitable answer to that question throughout the passage of the Bill. Now the answer given boils down to a very few words that appeared in the Tory Party manifesto, that the Conservative Party would put an end to—

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for giving way at that point, which is a very material point. The measure was in a manifesto which was taken to the country and a Conservative Government were elected in May. As the noble Baroness will know, the Salisbury convention has previously indicated that what is in a manifesto is allowed passage through the House of Lords. I value the House of Lords and its traditions and I fear that if we refer in a rather dismissive way to something that was in a party’s manifesto as somehow not being important, in the way that she did, that is a very serious pivotal moment for the House of Lords. I hope that she will consider that.

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Baroness Worthington: I am grateful to the Minister for that intervention. Of course I am aware of the Salisbury convention, but in this case we have a very ambiguous set of words which I am sure were thought about with care but certainly were not consulted on and no detail was applied. We are referring to a very short sentence. There are great ambiguities here. The actual phrase is,

“we will end any new public subsidy”,

for onshore wind. The word “public” is interesting because, strictly speaking, the payments come out of bills, not from the public purse. The word “new” is very interesting and open to very great interpretation. This was an existing support scheme and one that was already closing, and one on which, during the passage of the Energy Act 2013, in which I took part, there was a huge amount of consensus built, as well as engagement with industry, proper consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny to arrive at a suitable arrangement for winding-up the RO. That took many weeks and months of deliberation, and arrived at a line being drawn. The Government say that they need to draw the line somewhere. Actually, that line was drawn. It has now been moved and the process by which it was moved did not pay enough tribute to or treat with enough respect the investors in British industry whose confidence this is now undermining. It is for that reason that I do not interpret the Salisbury convention as applying to Clause 66.

We can have that debate when we come to the next amendment because although in this group we are discussing the amendments on the grace periods, when it comes to the next amendment we reserve the right to vote to delete this clause from the legislation for the reasons that I have begun to outline. Throughout the passage of the Bill I have not received an adequate explanation of why this particularly damaging clause has been introduced by the Government in the way that it has, with such little attention to detail and so little public consultation on the implications.

4.30 pm

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: I endorse what my noble friend has said. She is absolutely right. When we come to the next amendment, which she is going to move, I will make it absolutely clear, in endorsing my noble friend, that we have been misled by the Government in relation to the manifesto and the interpretation of the manifesto. The Minister is shaking his head but my noble friend is absolutely right and I will underline that in more detail when we get to the next amendment.

Baroness Worthington: I am grateful to my noble friend for his support. The concerns that I have raised consistently throughout the passage of the Bill relate to the Government’s analysis which concludes that we simply do not need any more onshore wind. This is based on false projections of how we are doing in relation to our legally binding EU renewable energy targets. Those targets relate to power, heat and transport. It is true that we are doing reasonably well on power but we are not on track for delivery of our targets on transport or heat. The projections that the department is now having to produce to pretend that it will get to

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those targets stretch credibility. There is a hockey stick of deployment expected in the other two sectors which is simply not credible. We are tying our hands behind our back, removing from our low-carbon armoury one of the cheapest, safest and most easily deliverable technologies—onshore wind.

I almost feel that I ought to be presenting a eulogy for the wind industry in the UK because it deserves respect. It has a 25-year history. The House almost certainly knows that it was first supported by Margaret Thatcher in 1990. The first support mechanisms were brought in for wind around that time. She recognised the science of climate change and she knew that we needed to address it. She also knew that it would be sensible for the UK to make the most use of its assets. We happen to be one of the windiest countries in Europe, something we should celebrate. In fact, we have been one of the best markets for wind technologies. Our shores have seen innovations and the development of new technologies that we can be very proud of. We have seen investment in jobs and infrastructure, particularly in those parts of the country that need inward investment—I am referring to Scotland and Wales—a great pouring-in of interest and money that has helped to generate jobs at a time when they are sorely needed.

I am not saying that wind farms need to be put everywhere and that everyone should accept them. I actually think that the Government’s other manifesto commitment that local people should have a say in them is a sensible measure. That is something that the Government have sought to introduce through planning. The closure of the support mechanism has to be taken in the context of the other things the Government have done to stop onshore wind, including quite significant changes to planning.

Viscount Ridley (Con): Before the noble Baroness gets to the end of her eulogy for the wind industry, will she confirm that this is the new Corbyn Labour Party’s policy—to eulogise an industry that is particularly good at rewarding rich people, including landowners, by loading the bills that hurt poor people most?

Baroness Worthington: We can debate who benefits most from our low-carbon agenda—possibly it is the Chinese at this particular juncture. However, in the context of closing the RO early, it is some of the smaller schemes—the independent developers and the independent renewable companies—that are suffering the most, and it is the larger companies that seem to be getting the grace period amendments that they need. It is the smaller guys who are losing out. This is not about rewarding the richest or the most powerful lobbyists—that is not what we are seeking to do.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Young, pointed out, this is about fairness and a common-sense test of whether, when you read those words in a manifesto in May, you then think, “Ah yes, I know what that means; it means that in about the middle of June, I will see an announcement from the Government that closes a scheme in which I have invested hundreds of millions of pounds, which is already closing with no consultation”. I hesitate to say that that passes the common-sense test, as I do not think it does. Indeed,

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we know it does not, because we have had a large number of investors come to us to say that this is not the way that they should be dealt with.

Normally, a consultation exercise is undertaken and then the results of that consultation are published. In this case, because we have been racing since 18 June to get everything ready in order to close the scheme early, even though it is closing anyway, we have not had a proper public consultation or publication of the results of any consultation. Therefore we are flying blind and having to work with large numbers of people contacting us to express their concern and dismay at being handled in this way by the Government.

The specific issue raised under Amendment 78C is another important one. As I have said before, I do not think this House will discuss this, but it will certainly be discussed, with far greater passion potentially, when it moves to the other place. Amendment 78C would simply repatriate the closure of the RO to Scottish Ministers. The reason for this is that during the passage of the Energy Bill in 2013, the Government had to take a power to repatriate the renewables obligation back to Westminster. We were told at the time that this would be a technical amendment and that this had to be done simply to make the closure easier, tidier and more efficient. However, we now see that this was not the case: this was a cynical move that gave the Government the power to close a scheme for Scotland without due consultation with Scottish interests. It flies against the spirit of the Smith commission agreement, which is seeking to repatriate more powers to Scotland and allow Scottish people to determine what they want to see built to provide them with clean energy in the future.

That brings me on to the question of fairness and whether the Government’s amendments, and their proposals for grace periods, are fit for purpose. It should be noted that although the announcement was made on 18 June—and a very hard guillotine introduced at that point—and some details were provided about potential grace periods, it was not until 8 October that we were given the full detail of the proposals. That is not a long period for us to consider them, and they are incredibly complex—I am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, for his forensic and expert deconstruction of some of these issues. It is not appropriate for us to have to wait four months before we see the detail and, when we do see it, for it to be so substandard. This is a cause of great concern. It was of course quite a heated debate in Committee in the Moses Room the other week. That resulted in the withdrawal of the amendments, for which we were grateful. We hoped then that that would result in a bit of reflection and some clearer amendments coming forward.

I am grateful to the Minister for presenting the changes that were incorporated. By and large they were merely technical issues of clarification, but the biggest one, about planning and when you deem planning consent to have been given, remains unresolved. This is what is so strange about these grace periods. The anomaly here could not be more strange: because of the way the Government are interpreting this and putting it into legislation, if you are refused planning permission—if the local council signals that it is not

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content—and you then appeal and win that appeal, you will be able to get a subsidy. However, if you had consent from the local committee and it was clear that the community wished to see the development, but you were waiting for various formalities to be concluded which then came after the artificial 18 June deadline, you would not be eligible. That seems to fly in the face of the Government’s manifesto commitment—they are evidently keen on their manifesto commitments, as I am sure is right and proper—which is that they want local people to have the final say. There are clearly still weaknesses and great anomalies within the grace periods. The provisions already run to many pages, but we still need the department to go back to think again and come forward with something workable.

I do not want anything that I have said today to be interpreted as our desire to see endless subsidies for particular technologies continuing indefinitely. That is absolutely not the case. As I have said on previous occasions, the issue we should look at on which the Government have refused to give any clarity is what is happening with the new form of support, the contracts for difference, which replace the RO. That is the pertinent question, but whenever I have asked it, I am told that the Government will make a Statement in the autumn. It is not a good answer for an industry with 25 long years of history to be proud of to be told, “We will tell you your fate in our own good time at some point”—presumably, after the Bill has passed its crucial stages. It is not appropriate to be closing one scheme and not giving any clarity over what is to replace it.

My final concern is that the Government have left us little choice but to object to the provision. It demonstrates a Government who put ideology ahead of evidence. There is no place for ideology in energy policy. If the Government have set their mind against onshore wind, as they are demonstrating—that is evident from all that they have done—they are no better than those who take an ideological principle against fracking or nuclear. We should not be singling out technologies; we need every technology to play its part. Some technologies are better than others in certain circumstances, but there is no reason to decide that we should cease to support one over another, especially when it turns out to be cheaper than many of the alternatives, has a proven track record of delivery and is sustaining investment in our country.

I look forward to hearing from the Minister, but I doubt that he will be able to reassure me on those points, and it is for that reason that I reserve the right to press the amendment that follows.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, first, a rare moment of agreement: I suspect that I will not be able to satisfy the noble Baroness with the points that I am about to make. Nevertheless, I thank noble Lords who have participated in this part of the debate on the Bill.

Perhaps I may deal first with the Scottish issue, as it were—the amendment relating to Scotland, which I think only the noble Baroness spoke to. We are keen to do what is fair for Scotland—but no more, no less. That is a fair position. I reassure noble Lords that we are committed to implementing the recommendations of the Smith agreement and are doing so through the

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Scotland Bill. As agreed during the drafting of that Bill, the Government have and will continue to engage with the Scottish Government, as we do on a regular basis on energy issues, in line with the spirit of the Smith agreement, on all changes to the renewables obligation. That does not mean that we will agree; often we will not, sometimes we will. However, transferring legal authority to close the renewables obligation in Scotland to Scottish Ministers goes considerably further than Smith. That is nothing to do with the spirit of Smith; it is to do with the letter of Smith. As I see it, there was no suggestion that that should happen, but that debate—if there is a debate to be had—can no doubt happen on the Scotland Bill.

I turn to the issues raised other than the specific point on Scotland. As noble Lords have kindly acknowledged, I have sought to move on some of the issues. I thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, for what he said—particularly in relation to my office. I can tell the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, that my office often works those late hours, even when it is not dealing with the Energy Bill, as my staff will gladly tell you. I am very grateful for the massive efforts that they have made on the Bill and many other matters.

There seem to be two key differences between those on the Government and Opposition Benches. One is about subsidy. I noted what the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, said about not believing in subsidy, but this is about subsidy. If she has not got that attachment to subsidy, that is the essence of this debate. It took considerable chutzpah to attack us for ideology on the Government’s energy policy. Her leader is against new nuclear and, I believe, against fracking.

4.45 pm

Baroness Worthington: I do not wish the debate to descend into party politics, but since the Minister has raised it, it may well be the case that our leader is personally anti-nuclear and anti-fracking, but that does not mean that that is translated into a change in the position of our shadow DECC team. It would probably be sensible to discuss this with my honourable friend in the other place, Lisa Nandy, who is now the shadow Secretary of State and consult her on these matters. Jeremy’s style of leadership is not that he would impose that on departments.

It is ideological to single out a single technology on no evidence and treat it in the way that the Government are doing. I remind the Minister that being in government is not the same as being a political party and that drafting manifestos is very different from drafting the law of the land.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: I note what the noble Baroness says, but this comes back to leadership. If its leader has materially different views, it would be good to know the Labour Party position on those issues. On ideology, I reassure her that we are not against wind. We have wind deployed offshore, and I hope we will continue to have wind deployed onshore. It will just be without subsidy. That is rather different from saying “No new nuclear” and “No fracking”. It is saying “No subsidy”, which is very different.

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Baroness Worthington: Perhaps the Minister can clarify something that appears in the Conservative Party manifesto: that there will be new nuclear without subsidy. Does that mean that contracts for difference are not subsidy, in which case contracts for difference can presumably be applied to onshore wind?

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: I have made the position on contracts for difference very clear, as I think the noble Baroness appreciates. We will set out the position on contracts for difference this autumn, not at an unspecified date in the future as she suggested in her contribution. That is not long to wait. We are in the autumn now, so I hope that she accepts that an announcement on that will be forthcoming shortly.

I do not want to go over old ground again. We have a cut-off date. I accept that cut-off dates are arbitrary. In Committee on recommital and today, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, made telling contributions, but he suggested that we were taking a legalistic approach to this. It is likely that we will. As he will appreciate, this is legislation. We want it to be certain and for businesses and others to know where we are on this. I accept that dates will be arbitrary, but we have selected a date. Noble Lords have been indicating that they want certainty. We are delivering certainty. We have a basic difference of opinion on these issues. I do not think it is capable of resolution, as it was on the Oil and Gas Authority where we had a basic unity of view. We have a different view on onshore wind. We believe that the Salisbury convention applies here. I disagree with the suggestion that there is something ambiguous about the position in the manifesto. It was made very clear and nobody should have been taken by surprise by this, so I differ materially from what I am sure is the opinion honestly held by the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, but I cannot see that we can resolve some of these issues because of the basic difference between us.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I realise that this is Report, but I would like to press the question I put in my intervention. When all is done and dusted—leaving aside the allegations of ideology on all sides—in relation to all the subsidies that are likely to be paid out for wind turbines in the next 25 years, what proportion of that will be saved by this activity?

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, I do not know the proportion, but I know that the upper end of the limit is £270 million over the period. That might seem like a small amount, but it is not a small amount to me and I am not sure it would be to anyone else. We have this basic difference, and with that I oppose these amendments.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: First, I did not raise the issue of the definition of the recognised lenders because the noble Lord did not deal with it when he moved his own amendment. Did he give a commitment to go away and come back with a better definition that included, for example, organisations such as the Green Investment Bank? My second point, although there

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are many others that I could make, is this: does he accept that with regard to radar issues, what the Government give the Government might also take away? Will he undertake to talk to the Ministry of Defence to see if it can ensure that whatever provision is made by this grace period for radar is not actually defeated by the tardiness of the MoD?

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, on his last point first, I am very happy to speak to the MoD in the way that the noble and learned Lord suggests. On the former of the two points that he raised relating to the recognised lenders, I have indicated that we will look at this issue. I have not made any commitment about what the result of looking at it will be but I recognise, based on information given by the noble and learned Lord and others, that there is a case to look at it. I hope that is helpful.

Amendment 78B agreed.

Amendment 78C not moved.

Amendments 78D to 78P

Moved by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

78D: Clause 66, page 38, line 6, at beginning insert “In Part 1 of the Electricity Act 1989 (electricity supply),”

78E: Clause 66, page 38, line 10, leave out “which is accredited after that date”

78F: Clause 66, page 38, line 11, at end insert—

“(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply to electricity generated in the circumstances set out in any one or more of sections 32LD to 32LL.”

78G: Clause 66, page 38, line 12, leave out “subsection (1)” and insert “this section and sections 32LD to 32LL”

78H: Clause 66, page 38, leave out lines 13 to 15

78J: Clause 66, page 38, leave out lines 22 and 23

78K: Clause 66, page 38, line 29, leave out “regulations under this section” and insert “sections 32LD to 32LL”

78L: Clause 66, page 38, leave out lines 34 to 36

78M: Clause 66, page 38, line 37, leave out subsection (3)

78N: Clause 66, page 39, line 7, leave out “accredited after 31st March 2016”

78P: Clause 66, page 39, line 9, leave out “accredited after 31st March 2016”

Amendments 78D to 78P agreed.

Amendment 78Q

Moved by Baroness Worthington

78Q: Clause 66, leave out Clause 66

Baroness Worthington: My Lords, I am sure that people will be very pleased to hear that I do not intend to repeat the speech that I made in the previous debate. As noble Lords will be aware, we have tabled an amendment to delete Clause 66 from the Bill. The reason for this is that we do not believe this legislation is ready or has had the right consultation applied to it to ensure that it is fair. We do not find it satisfactory to be told that we will hear about the replacement mechanism in the autumn; it is the autumn now, and in the course

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of the Bill we should have information about what the Government are planning. As I have said, we have detailed concerns about the grace period.

I want to pick up on the issue of costs, which has been raised by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester and the noble Lord, Lord Howell. To be clear, in the Government’s impact assessment the overall estimation of what the measure will save is 30p for a household for a year. The sum that the Minister was kind enough to present us with was £270 million overall, which is a tiny proportion of the amount of money that we are going to have to spend to decarbonise and renew our energy system. It is certainly less than the £350 million in capital that has been sunk into projects that are now falling foul of the artificial grace period. Overall, then, Clause 66 does not deliver a great deal of value to the country as a whole—certainly not to the wind industry, but it does not serve UK plc’s purposes either.

Turning to the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Howell, about the steel industry, I completely accept that the situation is now very grave. The answer to the steel problem is about enabling it to invest in new, cleaner infrastructure. Not only is there a vast global oversupply of steel but we ourselves also have an ageing and inefficient infrastructure. We need reinvestment, and I believe that the way to do that is by helping the industry to invest in green infrastructure and carbon capture and storage. It will actually be through more green measures, not fewer, that we save ourselves. The steel industry’s electricity bills are a tiny proportion compared with its process emissions; in fact, it is true to say that for nearly all the green measures that apply to electricity the steel industry receives compensation. Please let no one be under any illusion that anything we are doing today will help to bring about the demise of the steel industry—far from it.

Viscount Ridley: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for allowing me to intervene again. She and I have had an exchange on Twitter about this and now I am bringing it forward to this House. Is she aware of the comments made in July this year by Karl-Ulrich Köhler, the European head of Tata Steel, when commenting on European green emissions policies? He said,

“it is very difficult for the colleagues”,

in India,

“to understand why Europe’s politicians undermine the competitiveness of their steelmakers”.

Baroness Worthington: I sometimes also wonder about the European policy and in particular why we have not moved further and faster on carbon capture and storage. It makes sense to me that that should be the technology that will enable us to have steel and still meet our climate change targets. As with many things in Europe, it all boils down to what Germany thinks, and unfortunately, Germany has set its mind against carbon capture and storage. We do not need to, thankfully, and we should press ahead.

To return to another form of low-carbon energy which has an important role to play—onshore wind—I have made it quite clear that I do not believe that this is good legislation, and I have not been reassured why it is being pursued other than it seems to be quite a

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political move by the Government. The costs certainly should not be a reason for us to consider that this should be brought through. As regards meeting the EU targets, it is simply not true that there is no more room for onshore wind and that we should be throttling back.

We have greatly destabilised investment in the UK, which used to be one of the leading destinations for investment. The hasty, rash and poorly thought-through policies of this Government in their early months in government have produced shock waves. Many other people are also saying this, such as John Cridland at the CBI, and the Government’s funder, Dennis Clark, has sounded an alarm that the Government’s policy now appears to be having very little positive effect and a great deal of negative effect on investor confidence.

For all those reasons and for the reasons I have outlined with regard to it being inappropriate to proceed with this poor legislation, I suggest that we delete it, give the Government more time to consider this in the other place, where I am sure the debate will continue. I beg to move.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, I have been wondering during the entire consideration of this debate why there has been such undue haste. This is a very important technical measure, yet great suggestions put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Oxburgh, and others that we might have pre-legislative scrutiny and bring some experts together to look at aspects of it have all been cast aside. This is being rushed and pushed through because of some ideological desire which the party opposite seems to have.

The Minister mentioned the manifesto again and again in his speech. I notice, because I was just checking earlier on, that Norman Smith of the BBC has been saying that this is another area where the Lords might challenge the Government on something in their manifesto, and the Salisbury convention is being held up and waved at us.

I therefore took the elementary step of going back, as my noble friend did and mentioned earlier, to what is included in the Conservative manifesto. Do all noble Lords opposite know exactly what was included? I wonder if they really do. It said:

“Onshore wind … makes a meaningful contribution to our energy mix and has been part of the necessary increase in renewable capacity”.

That is a very positive statement. It continues:

“Onshore windfarms often fail to win public support, however”—

well, if they do not get public support, and are not supported by the local planning authority, they do not go ahead—

“and are unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires”.

No one is suggesting that “by themselves” they provide a firm capacity for a stable energy system—they contribute towards a diverse energy capacity. It goes on:

“As a result, we will end any new public subsidy for them”—

as my noble friend said—

“and change the law so that local people have the final say on windfarm applications”,

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which I agree with. But is it a new public subsidy? I argue that it is not. It is a public subsidy which we all knew about and which the investors understood was going to continue until the end of October 2017. It is not new. Presumably it was budgeted for by the right honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer. Presumably it was all taken account of in the department’s budget and the department knew that it was happening, so it is not a new public subsidy. The Conservative manifesto is quite clear and our amendment to remove Clause 66 does not in any way go against it.

5 pm

Lord Spicer (Con): Does the noble Lord at least accept that because wind is unreliable, you have to double up in the entire system. That is the whole point about wind power—you have to double up in the system in order to have it.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: No. If we have a diverse energy supply, with nuclear, wind and a whole range of other ways of producing our electricity, we do not need to double up. When the wind is blowing, we take advantage of that; when it is not blowing, we do not need to take advantage of it. However, that is part of a much wider discussion. I am saying that the amendment does not in any way go against the Conservative manifesto.

In the House of Commons, a few Tory Back-Benchers got really agitated about wind farms, for one reason or another, and in the last Parliament a Private Member’s Bill was introduced to abolish subsidies for wind farms in England and Wales only. Yet we are talking about abolishing subsidies for the whole of the United Kingdom when two-thirds of the proposed wind farms are in Scotland. As my noble friend on the Front Bench said earlier, Scotland is going to suffer immeasurably and disproportionately from what this Government are proposing. The Minister said that he listened to the devolved Administrations. Yes, he listened to them but he paid no attention to what they said; he did the opposite of what they said. That may be listening but it is not acting on what was said.

In an earlier intervention, the noble Viscount, Lord Ridley, said that this is all going to help the big landowners. I know that he speaks on behalf of the big landowners. Of course, if you want to deal with land ownership, that is another matter. I would support a major change in land ownership, and indeed that is being proposed in Scotland, although, as far as I am concerned, it does not go far enough. I would support such a change so that big landowners did not benefit from this. However, as my noble friend said, some of the schemes in Scotland, such as the one that we have had representations about from Skye, do not involve big landowners; there are community schemes that are also very important.

I hope that this House will exercise its judgment in relation to this matter by removing Clause 66 and, quoting from a well-known Scottish anthem, sending the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, and his Government “homeward tae think again”. I hope that on Report or in the House of Commons they come up with something that takes account not of their political dogma but of the real needs and the real situation in the country.

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Viscount Ridley: My Lords, in declaring my interests at the start, I reassure the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, that my family benefits from one wind turbine but that I give the money away to charity. I thought that he might like to know that.

This is a manifesto commitment and I have never heard such extraordinary legal sophistry from the Opposition on this question. Under the “Foulkes convention”, as we may have to call it, at the next election we will have to have a negotiation between lawyers representing both parties to get the exact wording of manifestos agreed or nothing will be able to get through the House of Lords. That is essentially what is being argued. It is a perfectly common-sense statement that was in the manifesto and we are committing to it—and we are facing a potential constitutional crisis in the way that the Opposition are treating the Salisbury convention.

It is an astonishing suggestion to hear that reducing a subsidy to an industry is an ideological objection to that industry. My objection to the wind industry is not ideological: it is economic and scientific. Wind is making a trivial contribution to our energy supplies—it supplied 4% of our total energy use last year—and an even smaller contribution to carbon dioxide reductions. At Second Reading, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, responded to my question about how much carbon dioxide emissions have actually been reduced by the wind power industry by very kindly sending me a link to a calculation that 1,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions are displaced or reduced by each 2 megawatt wind turbine. Well, do the maths on that. That means that with 10,000 turbines of roughly that size in this country, 20 million tonnes or so would be reduced. But that is out of 700 million tonnes of emissions, so it is a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of less than 3%—and that assumes that it is displacing grid average emissions, which it is not: it is mostly displacing gas. Nor does it take into account the intermittency or back-up—the point made by my noble friend Lord Spicer—which means that our total wind fleet that we have built up over 25 years, hugely subsidised, is giving us a reduction in emissions of about 2%. That is lost in the statistics. It is an Asterix—sorry, I mean an asterisk—and it comes at a huge cost. Wind subsidies cost this country about £4 billion a year. For that money, one could buy an extra 25% of electricity at the wholesale price, which is an enormous amount.

As I said earlier, in subsidising wind farms we are robbing the poor to pay the rich. It is a regressive subsidy. It hits poor people harder than rich people and rewards rich people more than poor people—not just landowners, but investors of other kinds. We are also killing jobs. We know that the high cost of electricity has killed a number of energy-intensive industries: for example, the aluminium smelter at Lynemouth, in Northumberland, to which I drew attention a number of years ago in this House.

Baroness Worthington: I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. He makes a lovely speech, but actually we are debating the impacts of Clause 66, which, as I have pointed out, saves 30p on a household’s

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bill. We can have a lovely debate about the role of CFDs and replacement subsidies, but we are here, on Report, looking at Clause 66, which is a very specific intervention that has destabilised investor confidence.

Viscount Ridley: I do not know where I was five or 10 minutes ago then, when I was listening to a lot of very wide-ranging remarks about whether our opposition to the wind industry was ideological.

I find it odd that the parties opposite are so keen to defend one particular industry—one that is really good at taking money from poor people and giving it to rich people while doing the square root of nothing to reduce emissions, killing eagles, hurting tourism, spoiling landscapes and killing jobs.

Baroness Young of Old Scone: The noble Lord is probably going to move on to it being conducive to falling arches and making children more delinquent. We are talking about correcting an administrative lash-up. Yesterday, I looked briefly at the words that the Government put forth on the consultation on the renewables obligation cessation and the transfer to contracts for difference. That was aimed at making a smooth, seam-free transition between the two subsidy schemes. What we are talking about here is the fact that the transition that came as a result of earlier closure is far from seam-free and smooth; that is all that we are talking about.

On the other hand, I cannot, while on my feet, not challenge the noble Lord on his assertions that any of the environmental or carbon reduction measures are the primary cause of a lack of competitiveness in some of our energy-intensive industries. Our energy-intensive industries have been helped, quite rightly, with the burden that has been placed on them by carbon reduction measures. However, if one looks at the range of factors that makes us competitive in the world compared with other countries, particularly the emerging economies, one will see that labour costs by far and away outweigh any impact that carbon reduction could have.

Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con): My Lords, I am ready to reply to the noble Baroness’s speech, but I believe that that was an intervention on another speech.

Viscount Ridley: I had actually pretty well come to the end of my remarks anyway—but on the subject of energy-intensive users, we have good evidence from all sorts of people, including what we heard on the news last night from the head of Tata UK. He said that energy was a huge contributor to its decision. The cost of energy in this country is crucial. As I said before, if this is really just about a minor adjustment to the timing of the introduction of the measure, why are we arguing about the whole industry?

Lord Howell of Guildford: I did not want to make an intervention on an intervention, but may I say something now? I agree that we are talking about whether Clause 66 should stand, but the argument has constantly been widened, and the noble Baroness who just intervened raised again the question of what all

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this does to energy costs, and whether energy costs are important. The noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, made some comments about that as well. The facts are the facts. The director of the Energy Intensive Users Group has said that,

“a third of the cost of industrial electricity bills in Britain is being spent on green energy taxes, such as the two-year-old carbon price floor support mechanism … and this would rise to about half of all bills by 2020”.

The director of UK Steel has said that,

“rising energy costs were a critical reason for the crisis afflicting the industry, which also led to the collapse of the SSI steel plant in Redcar last month”.

And so it goes, on and on. We cannot just dismiss all this. It cannot be pushed away. I agree that it should not be the central issue in the debate on this clause, but some of the remarks that have been made cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged, because they are just not true.

Lord Cormack (Con): My Lords, I strongly support the wise words of my noble friend Lord Ridley. I am one of those who believes that certain types of power are uneconomic, unreliable and unsightly. It is because of the latter point as much as anything else that the Prime Minister made a commitment during the general election campaign, which was given force in the manifesto, that we would not fly in the face of local opinion, as we often have in the past, and build wind farms where they were not wanted. The manifesto commitment is entirely clear, and it is indeed flouting the Salisbury convention to seek to delete it. I very much hope that your Lordships will not do that. We have a duty to examine and scrutinise legislation, and when we believe it is wrong, to ask the other place to think again—but here we are seeking to delete a fundamental part of the Bill.

I am a great admirer of the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington; I hope that does not embarrass her. She brings real distinction to our debates, and she speaks from true knowledge—but, by Jove, she was fishing around this afternoon. I was somewhat amused when she tried to call in aid Lady Thatcher; I am not sure that Lady Thatcher would have entirely endorsed her remarks. She then made a lovely remark about Mr Corbyn, saying that he probably did not agree with fracking or nuclear power—but that didn’t matter, because it was not going to be reflected in Labour Party policy. We are clearly in a period of political anarchy at the moment, and it will be interesting to see how long Mr Corbyn lasts, and how long his party lasts with him—but that is not what we are debating this afternoon.

5.15 pm

What we are debating is a narrow issue. We do not need to fish around for strange arguments. I believe that we have a commitment, which was expressed in the manifesto. It was commented on during the election campaign by the Prime Minister and other members of the Conservative Party. I happened to be the president of the Protect Nocton Fen campaign in Lincolnshire. We were threatened with 20 wind turbines, twice the height of Lincoln Cathedral and within six miles of it. I campaigned vigorously and I hope that it played a small part in persuading the Prime Minister and others to ensure that the manifesto said what it said. I raised

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that issue many times on the Floor of your Lordships’ House and we had unanimity among the Lincolnshire MPs on it, yet it would have been entirely possible for the local will to be overridden and now it cannot be, which is very important. The fact that the promoters, Vattenfall, a Swedish firm, have now withdrawn their proposal brought enormous joy to people. They do not like their countryside to be defaced in that way. They do not want centuries-old views of one of the greatest buildings in Europe to be ruined or obscured. What we are talking about today is paying some regard to the will of local people, and I very much hope that that argument will prevail if we are obliged to vote on this amendment.

Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan: It is a bit rich, this casting aside of planning legislation and saying that what local authorities’ planning committees come to decisions on are somehow an affront to democracy. Equally rich is the Panglossian view that has just been expressed—or perhaps it is the reverse of Pangloss—that any windmill will be an offence to the eye and should not be allowed. There are a number of windmills, of the 10,000 that we have already spoken of today, which help the businesses on whose land they are located. These are not big landowners—I realise that Members on the other side of the House probably have closer knowledge of those individuals than do the ex-peasants on this side. In a number of instances, particularly in Scotland and particularly for hill farmers, were it not for the presence of the so-called subsidy to get the kit running, such farms would not be able to survive. In my own former constituency, in the Ochil hills, there is a big debate about windmills and their subsidisation, but the quality of the walking there, the attractiveness of the hills and the husbandry of those areas are down to the hill farmers. They depend on other subsidies, but they are never sufficient for them to make anything like a reasonable living. It has been said it is only the big, fat-cat landowners who benefit. Obviously, they will get their share and that is reprehensible; there might be other means of dealing with them in the future—Corbyn notwithstanding, I hasten to add. But it is a very one-sided argument to say that we should cast aside local democracy and ignore the economic benefit to vulnerable businesses engaged in agrarian activities.

Viscount Ridley: I thought that my noble friend Lord Cormack was saying the opposite: that we should not cast aside local democracy and should allow it to prevail without appeal.

Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan: The existing system may not be perfect and it is a source of frustration for many people, but it is tried and tested and it is seen to be fair. The implication of this legislation is that it is going to be set aside.

Lord Cormack: My Lords—

Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan: I am sorry. I realise that we are moving towards a vote and I do not wish to take much more of the House’s time. All I want to say is this. It is very dangerous for people, first, to

21 Oct 2015 : Column 695

reinterpret manifestos once they have been the substance of electoral victory; and, secondly, to use that as an excuse to undermine elected representatives and local government who have a sensible and fair means of determining the priorities of the planning requirements for all of the communities they represent.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: My Lords, I do not wish to detain the House for long. When we engaged after the debate on recommital late last week, we hoped that the Government might have moved a lot further than they did. I acknowledge the amendments that have been made, but they do not go to the heart of many of the concerns of the industry. In fact, there is still a blatant unfairness for those who have observed good practice and have tried to work with local planning authorities.

On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, that local democracy matters, developers have worked alongside communities and planning authorities, but because they did not take the route of having a deemed refusal, they are falling foul of this.

Lord Cormack: One of the things we have to bear in mind is that a number of wind farms were granted permission not by local authorities, but by being overruled from the top. Indeed, Lincolnshire County Council was against a number of wind farms that have been thrust upon the county.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: I think that the noble Lord almost makes my point because, as far as I understand what is being proposed by the Government, local authorities which have refused an application before 18 June, but which was subsequently appealed successfully on a decision taken by Ministers, will actually qualify. But an agreement reached by locally elected people and a locally elected planning committee after debate, consideration and engagement with the local community, but where the subsequent consent as part of that route due to the cycle of meetings was not given until after 18 June will not qualify. Perhaps he has done so inadvertently, but the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, profoundly makes the point that we are making. There is an inconsistency and an unfairness in what the Government are proposing. There is inconsistency between Section 36 applications for smaller developments added on to existing developments and those which do not need Section 36 applications. I do not believe that the Government have made out the case for fairness of treatment, given the test which their own Minister articulated yesterday.

I am sure that we will debate the Salisbury convention at some stage, and I hope that we will take note of the report of the House of Lords and House of Commons Joint Committee on Conventions, which sat around 10 years ago. My noble friend Lord Wallace of Saltaire, who was then the deputy leader of my party in your Lordships’ House, emphasised the Liberal Democrats’ view that,

“‘the Salisbury-Addison Convention was an historical negotiation between the Labour Party in the Commons and the Conservative Party in the Lords’ and therefore not relevant to current circumstances”.

21 Oct 2015 : Column 696

We articulated that position almost 10 years ago, and I think that the report itself accepted that things had moved on.

The noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, said that it was an opportunity for the Government to think again. We certainly want to engage with them in thinking again, because I do not believe that what we have at the moment is fair to developers who had a reasonable expectation that a system which was due to close in March 2017 has been brought forward by a year. In the end, as the Government’s own impact assessment states, the central estimate is around 30p on the electricity bill of the average household. Given the potential damage to the industry and the damage that this is doing to investor confidence in other areas of the renewable industry, it is important that the Government should think again. They have not been able to come up with satisfactory ways of addressing some of the many legitimate complaints that the industry has expressed.

Lord Hardie: My Lords, I also want to draw attention to the fact that this legislation is unfair. Contrary to the statement of the Minister in the other place referred to by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, I would point out that the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, mentioned an example on the Isle of Skye. Perhaps I may give the House some more detail about it. There is a development on Skye called the Glen Ullinish wind farm which was granted planning consent in March 2015. That was before the general election and may even have been before the manifesto, and it was certainly well within the current deadline. The local community, with one exception, supported this proposal. The developers, Kilmac Construction, have had a grid connection contract in place since 2011 and have been making annual contributions to the grid to secure their position. They would otherwise have constructed the site and made connection to the grid before the deadline of December 2018, but they are not able to do so through no fault of their own. The connection date has been given as 2021 and the reason for the delay is that, to secure the supply in the west of Scotland, it is necessary to reinforce and upgrade 124 kilometres of line in the Highlands, which this project will facilitate. If the infrastructure had existed, the wind farm would have been constructed and connected in time.

These developers have invested over £1 million and a considerable amount of time and effort in securing the necessary planning permission, grid connection contract and land ownership permissions to ensure that they can comply with government deadlines. They have only been prevented from doing so by the grid infrastructure problem. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has been aware of this case since 1 September 2015, when the developers wrote to her explaining the circumstances in full. Will the Minister tell the House that the Government will extend the period of grace in this very exceptional case, where the developer is unable to comply with the timescale through no fault of its own? If he is unable to give assurance on this, the appropriate course would be, in the interests of fairness, to remove Clause 66 at this stage, to allow the Government time to reflect on

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this anomaly and introduce an amendment in the House of Commons, if they wish. This would not, as has been suggested, wreck the Bill. It passes it on to the Commons, where proper consideration can be given to this matter which is so important for the people of Skye.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, as I listened to this debate, I had one of those “Doctor Who” moments. You go into the TARDIS and it looks like a describable area, but it becomes bigger and bigger—each time someone speaks, you go into another room. There is a narrower issue about Clause 66 and that is fairness. I am one of those who regret that the level of subsidy for wind turbines has been as big as it has, and I am keen to get it closed as soon as possible. I am with the Government on that, but they have moved the deadline from March 2017 to March 2016 and then only given way to some extent. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, said that those who had expended significant amounts of money when the deadline was March 2017 had a reasonable or legitimate expectation. If the legislation goes through as it is now, will there be the possibility of judicial review for those who have spent considerable amounts of money but whose legitimate expectations were not fulfilled because the Government changed their mind? I would like reassurance that there is no legal problem in moving the goal posts when people have expended money under the old drawing-out of the pitch.

Lord Steel of Aikwood (LD): The noble and learned Lord, Lord Hardie, and the right reverend Prelate have focused on the issue of fairness. My only excuse for intervening briefly in this debate is that I have been asked to open a new centre for research and development of water power in my old constituency on Friday. I had never applied my mind to the issues of renewable energy until now. In the Bill, I find reference to wind power and solar power and I know that the Government have been encouraging these. For example, the wind scheme on Gigha was a great community effort which was crucial to the restoration of that island’s economy. It is the suddenness of this measure that we are objecting to. My question, which I ask quite simply out of ignorance, is this: why do we devote money to sun energy and wind energy but not water energy? I cannot understand that. The old mills in my constituency used to be powered by water. This week, I visited two small schemes on the River Ettrick, which make their small contribution, as do these other sources of energy. It seems to me that we should be encouraging the development of water power, particularly in Scotland where we have plenty of rain. When there is no wind, there is no generation; when there is no sun at night, there is no generation; but water continues all the time, especially in the winter when the demand for energy is so high.

5.30 pm

Lord Mackay of Clashfern (Con): My Lords, I support the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hardie, about the situation in Skye, where the implementation of the arrangements already in place has been postponed simply because of the need for the connection. There is no point in having the

21 Oct 2015 : Column 698

development until the connection is in place. This was all set up before this Bill was put forward. It requires a degree of special attention. All I want is to be assured that it will have that.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, this has been a very wide-ranging debate, taking in issues which are beyond the scope of the Bill. Nevertheless, they are important issues. I hope that I can do justice to the quality of the debate and respond to the points made. I shall come back to the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, at the end because her comments perhaps symbolise the crux of the difference. In no particular order, except that it is present in my mind, first, I say to the noble Lord, Lord Steel, that I will take up the point about water and write to him on that specifically. As he indicated, it is not within the Bill but I am very happy to look at that and respond to him by letter.

I will probably stand corrected on this but I do not think that solar comes into this legislation either. If it does, I will regret that comment. It could in passing but this Bill basically is concerned about oil and gas, and the onshore wind position. I say to my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hardie, that I will write to them on their specific point on Skye. I do not know the particular position, so, without commitment, if I can write to them ahead of Third Reading I will certainly do so.

The debate has exhibited a very clear difference of position in relation to onshore wind. I shall come to the Salisbury convention later. I remind noble Lords that it is the responsibility of the Government and the department to do three important things. We have to ensure that we have a supply of electricity that is affordable; that we have a supply of energy that is secure; and that we decarbonise. There is a danger that today this debate has focused on just one of those elements, almost to the exclusion of the other two. They are all important and attention is required to deal with those three, as I am sure noble Lords will appreciate. I will come back to the steel issue later.

The noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, suggested that we cast aside suggestions from the noble Lord, Lord Oxburgh, who is not in his place. That has certainly been far from the case. As regards the part of the legislation in which he was taking a particular interest and giving his experience on oil and gas, we have taken up a lot of his suggestions, as noble Lords will know. I have also ensured that he will head a committee, or perhaps an advisory group, which will report to the Secretary of State on CCS policy going forward. I must correct that point as it is not true.

Clearly, there is a difference of view in this debate. Perhaps I may come to the Salisbury convention. The noble Lord, Lord O’Neill, suggested that we were casting aside planning law. We are not. The grace period makes it very clear that if you have planning permission plus grid connection plus ownership rights, you qualify for the grace period. Therefore, we are far from doing that.

I come to the political point and the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, who comes with particular knowledge and commitment. I understand

21 Oct 2015 : Column 699

all that. She said at one stage that this is political. It is; I plead guilty to that. It is political in the sense that we believe that this is very clear in the manifesto and that it is protected by the Salisbury convention. To find a bit of wriggle room to oppose this while saying that you are upholding the Salisbury convention is not the way forward.

I also regret suggestions from the Liberal Democrats that they do not regard the Salisbury convention as important at all. They have gone a stage further. That is not a desirable place for this House to be in. As I said, I have been here a relatively short period of time, but I value the institutions of this House. I would say the same if a Conservative Opposition were opposing a different political party in government, which will happen at one stage. If we really wish to maintain the traditions of this House and the important role that we fulfil, we have to move very carefully in the territory that we are in. We have a very clear manifesto commitment. People know and understand that. It should be upheld.

Lord Reid of Cardowan (Lab): On the question of the Salisbury convention, I confess that I have not included recently the Conservative manifesto in my bedtime reading, but what does the Minister say to the point of substance raised by my noble friend Lord Foulkes? The commitment in the manifesto was to avoid or to reject any new subsidies, whereas we are talking about getting rid of existing subsidies. The noble and learned Lord who spoke about the legal issues involved said that these were legal niceties. They are not; it is the English language. Will the Minister tell us how it is that “new” in English has come to include “pre-existing”? If he cannot tell us that, then it is not a breach of the Salisbury convention because the promise was to end new subsidies, not to get rid of existing subsidies that had a preordained timeline.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: The noble Lord is right on the wording—actually, it is “new public subsidy”, but he is stressing “new”. The point is that those already in receipt of subsidy will continue to have the subsidy. This is for people who have not yet got or applied for the subsidy. It is certainly new to them in a new Parliament. It is absolutely clear that that is within the Salisbury convention. Clearly we will disagree on this. I argue that we are in dangerous territory and that the Salisbury convention should apply.

I omitted to do so earlier because I wanted to finish on the Salisbury convention, but I will say something on affordability and steel. The noble Baroness made some relevant points on that. She said that electricity was a small part of their costs; it is not for all steel companies. If it is a blast furnace it is 3% of the costs; if it is an arc furnace, as it is for Celsa in Cardiff South, a Labour-held constituency, it is 12% of the cost. That is not insignificant. That point was made forcefully at the steel summit by many Labour MPs, as well as by other people. We have to take that on board. It is a complex issue. It is not just about electricity costs, but they certainly are a valid consideration from some steel companies.

21 Oct 2015 : Column 700

With that, there clearly is a disagreement but, as I said, this is dangerous territory for the House. In my belief and the Government’s belief, this is firmly protected by the Salisbury convention and I urge noble Lords to reject the amendment.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: Before the Minister sits down—I asked a specific question and I would like to encourage an answer. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, spoke of those who incurred expenditure under the March 2017 deadline who had, I think he said, a legitimate expectation that their investment could be carried through. Is the Minister saying that they do not have a legitimate expectation any more and that that can be changed by the legislation, or is it simply that the Government are legislating in the face of what might be regarded as a legitimate expectation?

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: It is neither of those, if I may say so. We have had an engagement exercise with industry, the devolved Administrations and others to look at those who would be prejudiced by the proposal as set out on 18 June. In consequence of that, the grace period that we have put forward—which I think we have agreed to as it stands—is that if you have a planning permission, a grid connection and land rights as at 18 June, you have additional time. We have also moved in relation to the investment freeze condition and appeals to try to achieve that. So, following the engagement exercise launched after the decision which was taken on 18 June, we have catered for those with a legitimate expectation of being able to deploy in this regard.

Baroness Worthington: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his response and, indeed, to all noble Lords who have participated in this debate. We always knew that it would be a very interesting debate and it certainly has been wide-ranging. I must start by apologising for not referring to Lady Thatcher by her proper title. I think that may be due to the fact that I was not here during her great tenure.

I do not propose to detain the House for very much longer. It is absolutely clear that we have a difference of opinion. Manifestos are brief, do not contain detail and therefore are open to interpretation, and opinion therefore plays an important role. We are not doing anything that we believe contravenes the Salisbury convention. I have read the Conservative manifesto and I am afraid that it is not that clear. There are some inconsistencies. It says that the Government support wind, which may come as terrible news to the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, and the noble Viscount, Lord Ridley. However, the manifesto says in black and white that the Conservatives think that it plays a valuable role. It also says that the Conservatives will deliver nuclear without subsidy. That is a very interesting phrase. I do not understand how that will work. The manifesto also says that the Conservatives are committed to least-cost decarbonisation and that they will stop new subsidies.

Noble Lords have said very eloquently that the nub of the issue is: does it pass the common-sense test that, if you read the manifesto commitment before the

21 Oct 2015 : Column 701

election you would read those words and think, “Ah, yes, that will mean the RO is closing a year early”? You would not think that. That is not a common-sense response to reading those words. Had the Government been clear-minded and knew what they were about to do, why did they not simply say in the manifesto, “We propose to close the renewables obligation for onshore wind a year early”? That would have been very easily understood and everyone would have known where they were. However, that was not what was said. One could put a wide range of interpretations on what was said. Again, I come back to what is happening with the contracts for difference. We have heard nothing from the Government on this. In light of that, how weak this legislation is, and the concerns that have been raised on all sides of the House, I propose to press this amendment and wish to test the opinion of the House.

5.42 pm

Division on Amendment 78Q

Contents 242; Not-Contents 190.

Amendment 78Q agreed.

Division No.  1


Adams of Craigielea, B.

Addington, L.

Ahmed, L.

Alderdice, L.

Allan of Hallam, L.

Allen of Kensington, L.

Alton of Liverpool, L.

Anderson of Swansea, L.

Andrews, B.

Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, L.

Avebury, L.

Bach, L.

Bakewell, B.

Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, B.

Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]

Beecham, L.

Benjamin, B.

Berkeley, L.

Bhatia, L.

Blackstone, B.

Blunkett, L.

Boateng, L.

Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.

Boothroyd, B.

Bragg, L.

Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.

Brookman, L.

Browne of Belmont, L.

Burnett, L.

Campbell-Savours, L.

Carlile of Berriew, L.

Cashman, L.

Chidgey, L.

Christopher, L.

Clancarty, E.

Clark of Windermere, L.

Clarke of Hampstead, L.

Clement-Jones, L.

Clinton-Davis, L.

Collins of Highbury, L.

Colville of Culross, V.

Corston, B.

Cotter, L.

Crawley, B.

Davies of Oldham, L.

Davies of Stamford, L.

Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.

Dholakia, L.

Donaghy, B.

Doocey, B.

Drake, B.

Dubs, L.

Dykes, L.

Eames, L.

Elder, L.

Evans of Watford, L.

Falconer of Thoroton, L.

Falkland, V.

Falkner of Margravine, B.

Farrington of Ribbleton, B.

Faulkner of Worcester, L.

Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.

Foulkes of Cumnock, L.

Gale, B.

Garden of Frognal, B.

German, L.

Giddens, L.

Glasgow, E.

Goddard of Stockport, L.

Golding, B.

Goudie, B.

Gould of Potternewton, B.

Grantchester, L.

Grender, B.

Grocott, L.

Hameed, L.

Hamwee, B.

Hannay of Chiswick, L.

Hanworth, V.

21 Oct 2015 : Column 702

Hardie, L.

Harris of Haringey, L.

Harris of Richmond, B.

Harrison, L.

Hart of Chilton, L.

Haskel, L.

Haughey, L.

Haworth, L.

Hay of Ballyore, L.

Hayman, B.

Hayter of Kentish Town, B.

Healy of Primrose Hill, B.

Henig, B.

Hilton of Eggardon, B.

Hollick, L.

Hollis of Heigham, B.

Howarth of Newport, L.

Howells of St Davids, B.

Howie of Troon, L.

Hoyle, L.

Hughes of Stretford, B.

Hughes of Woodside, L.

Humphreys, B.

Hunt of Chesterton, L.

Hunt of Kings Heath, L.

Hussain, L.

Hussein-Ece, B.

Irvine of Lairg, L.

Janke, B.

Jay of Ewelme, L.

Jay of Paddington, B.

Jolly, B.

Jones, L.

Jones of Cheltenham, L.

Jones of Whitchurch, B.

Jordan, L.

Kennedy of Cradley, B.

Kennedy of Southwark, L.

Kennedy of The Shaws, B.

King of Bow, B.

Kinnock, L.

Kinnock of Holyhead, B.

Kirkhill, L.

Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.

Knight of Weymouth, L.

Kramer, B.

Lawrence of Clarendon, B.

Lea of Crondall, L.

Lee of Trafford, L.

Liddell of Coatdyke, B.

Liddle, L.

Lister of Burtersett, B.

Loomba, L.

Low of Dalston, L.

McAvoy, L.

McConnell of Glenscorrodale, L.

McDonagh, B.

Macdonald of Tradeston, L.

McFall of Alcluith, L.

McIntosh of Hudnall, B.

MacKenzie of Culkein, L.

McKenzie of Luton, L.

Maclennan of Rogart, L.

McNally, L.

Maddock, B.

Manzoor, B.

Masham of Ilton, B.

Maxton, L.

Mendelsohn, L.

Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.

Mitchell, L.

Monks, L.

Morgan of Ely, B.

Morgan of Huyton, B.

Morris of Aberavon, L.

Morris of Handsworth, L.

Morris of Yardley, B.

Newby, L.

Northover, B.

Nye, B.

O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.

Parminter, B.

Patel of Blackburn, L.

Pendry, L.

Pinnock, B.

Pitkeathley, B.

Prescott, L.

Prosser, B.

Purvis of Tweed, L.

Puttnam, L.

Ramsay of Cartvale, B.

Randerson, B.

Razzall, L.

Rea, L.

Redesdale, L.

Reid of Cardowan, L.

Rennard, L.

Richard, L.

Roberts of Llandudno, L.

Robertson of Port Ellen, L.

Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.

Rosser, L.

Rowlands, L.

Royall of Blaisdon, B.

Sandwich, E.

Sawyer, L.

Scotland of Asthal, B.

Scott of Needham Market, B.

Sharkey, L.

Sharp of Guildford, B.

Sherlock, B.

Shipley, L.

Shutt of Greetland, L.

Simon, V.

Smith of Basildon, B.

Smith of Clifton, L.

Smith of Gilmorehill, B.

Smith of Newnham, B.

Snape, L.

Soley, L.

Steel of Aikwood, L.

Stephen, L.

Stern, B.

Stevenson of Balmacara, L.

Stone of Blackheath, L.

Stoneham of Droxford, L.

Storey, L.

Strasburger, L.

Suttie, B.

Symons of Vernham Dean, B.

Taverne, L.

Taylor of Blackburn, L.

Temple-Morris, L.

Teverson, L.

Thomas of Gresford, L.

Thomas of Winchester, B.

Tomlinson, L.

Tope, L.

Tordoff, L.

Touhig, L.

Truscott, L.

Tunnicliffe, L. [Teller]

Turnberg, L.

Tyler, L.

Tyler of Enfield, B.

Uddin, B.

Wall of New Barnet, B.

Wallace of Saltaire, L.

Wallace of Tankerness, L.

Walmsley, B.

Warwick of Undercliffe, B.

Watson of Invergowrie, L.

Watson of Richmond, L.

Wheeler, B.

21 Oct 2015 : Column 703

Whitaker, B.

Whitty, L.

Wigley, L.

Williams of Elvel, L.

Wood of Anfield, L.

Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Worthington, B.

Wrigglesworth, L.

Young of Old Scone, B.


Aberdare, L.

Ahmad of Wimbledon, L.

Altmann, B.

Anelay of St Johns, B.

Arbuthnot of Edrom, L.

Arran, E.

Ashton of Hyde, L.

Astor of Hever, L.

Attlee, E.

Balfe, L.

Bates, L.

Bell, L.

Berridge, B.

Best, L.

Bew, L.

Bichard, L.

Black of Brentwood, L.

Blencathra, L.

Borwick, L.

Bottomley of Nettlestone, B.

Bourne of Aberystwyth, L.

Bowness, L.

Brabazon of Tara, L.

Bridgeman, V.

Bridges of Headley, L.

Brougham and Vaux, L.

Browning, B.

Buscombe, B.

Byford, B.

Callanan, L.

Carrington of Fulham, L.

Cathcart, E.

Cavendish of Furness, L.

Chester, Bp.

Chisholm of Owlpen, B.

Colwyn, L.

Condon, L.

Cooper of Windrush, L.

Cope of Berkeley, L.

Cormack, L.

Courtown, E.

Craigavon, V.

Crathorne, L.

Crickhowell, L.

Dannatt, L.

De Mauley, L.

Dear, L.

Denham, L.

Dixon-Smith, L.

Dobbs, L.

Dundee, E.

Dunlop, L.

Eaton, B.

Eccles, V.

Eccles of Moulton, B.

Elton, L.

Empey, L.

Evans of Bowes Park, B.

Evans of Weardale, L.

Faulks, L.

Fink, L.

Finkelstein, L.

Fookes, B.

Forsyth of Drumlean, L.

Fowler, L.

Framlingham, L.

Freeman, L.

Freud, L.

Gardiner of Kimble, L. [Teller]

Gardner of Parkes, B.

Garel-Jones, L.

Geddes, L.

Gilbert of Panteg, L.

Glendonbrook, L.

Glentoran, L.

Gold, L.

Goodlad, L.

Goschen, V.

Grade of Yarmouth, L.

Green of Hurstpierpoint, L.

Greenway, L.

Hamilton of Epsom, L.

Harding of Winscombe, B.

Hayward, L.

Helic, B.

Heyhoe Flint, B.

Hodgson of Abinger, B.

Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.

Holmes of Richmond, L.

Hooper, B.

Hope of Craighead, L.

Horam, L.

Howard of Rising, L.

Howe, E.

Howell of Guildford, L.

Hunt of Wirral, L.

Inglewood, L.

James of Blackheath, L.

Jenkin of Kennington, B.

Jopling, L.

Keen of Elie, L.

King of Bridgwater, L.

Lang of Monkton, L.

Lawson of Blaby, L.

Leigh of Hurley, L.

Lexden, L.

Lindsay, E.

Lingfield, L.

Listowel, E.

Liverpool, E.

Lothian, M.

Lyell, L.

McColl of Dulwich, L.

Mackay of Clashfern, L.

Magan of Castletown, L.

Marlesford, L.

Maude of Horsham, L.

Mawhinney, L.

Mobarik, B.

Mone, B.

Montrose, D.

Moore of Lower Marsh, L.

Morris of Bolton, B.

Moynihan, L.

Naseby, L.

Nash, L.

Neville-Jones, B.

Neville-Rolfe, B.

Newlove, B.

Noakes, B.

Northbrook, L.

Norton of Louth, L.

O'Cathain, B.

Patel, L.

Perry of Southwark, B.

Phillips of Worth Matravers, L.

Polak, L.

21 Oct 2015 : Column 704

Popat, L.

Prior of Brampton, L.

Rawlings, B.

Ribeiro, L.

Ridley, V.

Risby, L.

Rogan, L.

Ryder of Wensum, L.

Sanderson of Bowden, L.

Scott of Foscote, L.

Seccombe, B.

Selkirk of Douglas, L.

Selsdon, L.

Shackleton of Belgravia, B.

Sharples, B.

Sheikh, L.

Shephard of Northwold, B.

Sherbourne of Didsbury, L.

Shields, B.

Skelmersdale, L.

Slim, V.

Smith of Hindhead, L.

Somerset, D.

Spicer, L.

Stedman-Scott, B.

Sterling of Plaistow, L.

Stoddart of Swindon, L.

Stowell of Beeston, B.

Strathclyde, L.

Suri, L.

Sutherland of Houndwood, L.

Taylor of Holbeach, L. [Teller]

Trees, L.

Trefgarne, L.

Trenchard, V.

Trimble, L.

True, L.

Tugendhat, L.

Ullswater, V.

Verma, B.

Vinson, L.

Wakeham, L.

Wasserman, L.

Wellington, D.

Wheatcroft, B.

Whitby, L.

Wilcox, B.

Williams of Trafford, B.

Wilson of Tillyorn, L.

Wolfson of Aspley Guise, L.

Wright of Richmond, L.

Young of Cookham, L.

Younger of Leckie, V.

5.59 pm

Amendment 78R

Tabled by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth