Energy Bill [HL] - Third Reading – in the House of Lords am 3:20 pm ar 24 Ebrill 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Lord Callanan:

Moved by Lord Callanan

That the Bill do now pass.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

My Lords, I will update the House on the legislative consent Motion process for the Energy Bill. The UK Government are seeking legislative consent Motions from the devolved legislatures for the Bill, in line with the Sewel convention. My officials are working with devolved government officials and will continue to do so throughout the Bill’s passage.

The Scottish Government have requested amendments to the Bill and are currently withholding support for legislative consent. We will of course continue to work with them regarding their concerns. The Welsh Government have not yet laid a legislative consent memorandum. It is not possible at present to obtain a legislative consent Motion from the Northern Ireland Assembly, but the UK Government are engaging with officials in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. The UK Government welcome the interest that the devolved Governments have shown in the Energy Bill and will continue to work closely with them on proposed changes in order to progress legislative consent Motions for the Bill.

Photo of Lord Lennie Lord Lennie Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Net Zero)

My Lords, this huge Bill leaves the House in far better shape than when it arrived. A combination of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, other parties, individuals and, most importantly, Cross-Benchers have secured measures that should see ISOP’s independence assured, community energy export markets develop, warmer homes and an efficiency plan to achieve that, the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority strengthened, and the ceasing of any further coal mining in this country—thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Teverson. It is to be hoped that the Government will support these changes in the other place and will not bring this Bill back for ping-pong. The range of supporters across the House should be sufficient to convince the Minister to back the changes to the Bill made by this House.

In the meantime, my thanks go to the Minister—remarkably, he has stayed the course while his Government have changed leadership three times and his Secretary of State twice since we began in September 2022—and his advisers from BEIS, and subsequently DESNZ, who have continually briefed and been available to answer questions and clarify intentions as we wended our way through this tome of a Bill.

My appreciation goes to my noble friend Lady Blake for her continuing support and to the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, on the Liberal Democrat Benches, with whom it has been a pleasure to work on the Bill. My thanks are also due to a number of Back-Benchers and Cross-Benchers, mainly drawn from the Peers for the Planet group, particularly including the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, the noble Baronesses, Lady Hayman, Lady Boycott, Lady Bennett and Lady Worthington—sadly temporarily departed from this House—and my noble friend Lord Whitty. Thanks also go to the House staff and the doorkeepers for arrangements during delays in advancement of the progress of the Bill, which were not of their making, and for keeping the quick-quick-slow dance rhythm to the Energy Bill.

My biggest thanks go to the remarkable Milton Brown in Labour’s legislative team of advisers for always being up to date with the progress of the Bill, for his liaison with the other place and for his political briefings and judgment, which allowed my noble friend Lady Blake and me to keep focused on this Bill over a long period. We wish it well on the next stage of its journey.

Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

My Lords, one of the things that strikes me most about the passage of the Bill through this House is that it is has been the opposition parties saying to the Government, “Get on with it. We actually need this Bill through to give the powers that we need to meet decarbonisation and modernise the energy production system in this country”. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lennie, that the amendments that have been made by this House are absolutely in line with the Government’s decarbonisation objectives. I hope that the Commons, as well as the Government themselves, will consider them as positive rather than negative.

I will not go through the long list of other Peers named by the noble Lord, Lord Lennie. What I will do is to say a great deal of thanks to Peers for the Planet for its work in the House, to the noble Lord, Lord Lennie, and to the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, whom I have enjoyed working with very much indeed. From our own offices, I thank Sarah Pughe and Sarah Dobson.

We look forward very much to not having to play ping-pong on this Bill. Maybe that is too much to hope for but I thank the Ministers, the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bloomfield, for their co-operation during the passage of the Bill. I also thank their teams. I look forward most of all to the Bill being implemented, so that the country as a whole can move ahead in its aims and objectives.

Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Ceidwadwyr

My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend on steering such a major Bill through. I am mindful of the fact that it was originally going to be an energy security Bill. I know that I and a number of noble Lords focused on the environmental aspects, particularly the mitigation hierarchy. I welcome the fact that this is to be enshrined in the levelling-up Bill, and look forward to pursuing it further on that Bill with my noble friend on the Front Bench.

I ask my noble friend to be mindful of the fact that the Scandinavian countries, led by Denmark, have raised a flag about Russian vessels masquerading as fisheries vessels. These are, it is assumed, purposefully undertaking spying operations, particularly to look at the underground cables and the major offshore wind farm operations, notably operated by Denmark. I understand that we are to have a major operation where a lot of this work will co-ordinate around the Dogger Bank, so I urge him to be mindful of the security risk associated with such a major area of the North Sea, where we are extremely vulnerable to such operations by Russian and other forces which may not be so conducive to our energy security as we might wish.

Photo of Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke Llafur

My Lords, I am grateful to everybody who took part on the Bill because I never expected to see carbon capture and storage—I am the honorary president of its association—getting such a good hearing in this House. I put on record my appreciation of the £20 billion that the most recent Budget has decided to expend on carbon capture and storage. We cannot reach the targets on net zero without carbon capture and storage; the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, referred to the Danes, who are making fantastic progress on that in their fields. My last point is that we have the capability to capture 7,000 tonnes of carbon in the North Sea and elsewhere. Only Norway has more capacity than that. There is a great future here and, frankly, I am still pinching myself to accept that this House has got behind the Bill. I thank everyone who took part in it very much.

Photo of Baroness Hayman Baroness Hayman Crossbench

My Lords, I feel that I should say something as everyone else has. There will be two things and they are very brief. One is to echo the hope that we will not have to fight battles again at ping-pong on issues which are absolutely mainstream and in line with the Government’s objectives. They are common-sense measures, particularly on insulation and energy efficiency, and on the remit of Ofgem. The other is that, in declaring my interest as chair of Peers for the Planet, and simply because this is an opportunity to thank those who give us support, I also record my thanks to Emma Crane, Kyla Taylor and David Farrar at Peers for the Planet for the work that they did on the Bill.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero) 3:30, 24 Ebrill 2023

My Lords, let me add my thanks to all noble Lords who contributed to a very detailed and proper scrutiny of the Bill. We received lots of helpful suggestions—some unhelpful suggestions as well, but that is in the nature of the debate. Everybody engaged positively in the process and has been very thoughtful in their contributions. The Bill leaves this House in good shape.

Let me formally thank the Opposition Members, who have co-operated well. It is fair to say that they had no grief with the fundamental structure and idea of the Bill, but, as is the nature of opposition, wanted to make some improvements and push the Government to go a bit further. The Liberal Democrats—particularly the noble Lord, Lord Teverson—along with the noble Lord, Lord Lennie, and the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, have engaged really positively in the process and have been constructive. I thank them.

Let me also thank the many Back-Benchers who took part, including the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington—who has sadly departed these shores for somewhere sunnier and nicer—and the noble Baronesses, Lady Hayman and Lady Liddell. I assure the noble Baroness, Lady Liddell, that I share her passion for CCUS. She will have seen in the announcement just before the Easter Recess that the Government are moving on with the track 1 negotiations. I am sure she will welcome that. Many across the House have contributed very much to the Bill and I am extremely grateful for all their contributions.

She is sadly not with us today, but let me also thank my Whip, my noble friend Lady Bloomfield, who has kept us all to order and taken a number of groups through herself. We are all immensely grateful that none of us managed to fall asleep during the proceedings and were therefore spared some of her acerbic interventions in such circumstances.

The Bill comes at a critical time for our country. Record high gas prices, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the challenge of climate change all highlight why we need to work to boost Britain’s energy independence and security through the development of low-carbon technologies. Secure, clean, affordable energy for the long term depends on a transformation of our energy system.

That, fundamentally, is why we brought forward the Bill—the most extensive piece of primary legislation in a decade. The Bill delivers on our key commitments from the British energy security strategy, the Powering Up Britain paper, which brings together the energy security plan, the net-zero growth plan and the net-zero strategy. All have come together in this legislation. The Bill will help to drive an unprecedented £100 billion of private sector investment by 2030 into new British industries and support around 480,000 jobs by the end of the decade.

I must also thank the House of Lords Public Bill Office, the House clerks, and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel—Richard Spitz, Lucy Baines and Ben Zurawel—for their extremely hard work drafting the Bill. It is a very long piece of legislation.

My thanks also go to all the policy, analytical and legal officials in the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport, for their expert advice and resilience.

I also thank my Private Secretary, Angus Robson, the senior responsible officer for the Bill, Jeremy Allen, and the expert Bill Team: Jessica Lee, Safia Miyanji, Nicholas Vail, Salisa Kaur, Amanda Marsh, Abi Gambel, James Banfield, Matthew Pugh, Laura Jackson, Anthony Egan and Phaedra Hartley. They are extremely talented public servants. They worked long, hard and tirelessly on this important legislation and we owe them all our thanks.

Let me also thank the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s departmental lawyers, in particular the lead lawyers Mike Ostheimer and Martin Charnley for keeping me legally correct. It is a tough job; somebody has to try and do it. They do it nicely, well and tirelessly. That is the end of the debate so far in this House. It is my extreme pleasure to hand it to my ministerial colleague Andrew Bowie, who will commence the debate in the House of Commons.

Bill passed and sent to the Commons.