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Planning Bill

Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 8 October 2008

House again in Committee on Clause 5.

40: Clause 5, page 3, line 5, at end insert—

“(3A) Before designating a statement as a national policy statement for the purposes of this Act, the Secretary of State must be satisfied that (taken as a whole) the policies in the statement contribute to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.

(3B) A statement designated under subsection (1) must contain a statement to the effect that it is the Secretary of State’s view that the requirement of subsection (3A) is satisfied.”

The right reverend Prelate said: In moving the amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 87, 199 and 411. The Government’s response to climate change has given them an international lead with their Climate Change Bill, which places in law the requirement to achieve emission targets and budgets. The Government have brought forward three Bills which are key to our transition to a low-carbon economy: this Bill, the Energy Bill and the Climate Change Bill. Now we have a new Department for Energy and Climate Change which, I hope, will co-ordinate legislation across government departments to deliver the reductions in emissions to which all of us are committed.

By introducing these amendments, we believe that the Bill needs to be more explicit to ensure that climate change is taken into account in the planning process—in the preparation of national policy statements and decision-making by the Infrastructure Planning Commission. I commend the Minister on the requirement in the Bill for national policy statements to have an,

“objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development”.

That is essential, but I fear that it is not enough. National policy statements must surely contribute explicitly to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. There must be a duty on the Secretaries of State to prepare policy statements with the objective of contributing towards the achievement of our 2012 and 2020 targets for emissions.

It was encouraging to hear from the Prime Minister at his party conference of the Government’s decision and determination to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050—a decision reinforced by the latest recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change. I commend the Minister on the fact that the Bill recognises the importance of climate change when dealing with planning at local level, but why does it omit this duty when dealing with planning at regional level and with national infrastructure? Why is there that inconsistency?

The Minister is confident that there is an “assumption” of climate change in the Bill, but the transition to a low-carbon economy requires a change within the very culture of planning. We must provide clear responsibilities for considering climate change within the planning process. I fear that we cannot rely on an assumption; there must be an explicit duty. I do not doubt the integrity and sincerity of the Minister’s assurance; I am concerned about future Administrations—in 2010, 2020 and 2050—also being bound by these assumptions, which is why we think that they need to be explicit and not implicit in the Bill.

The Government have shown their commitment to the demands of the Climate Change Bill and have shown international leadership in doing so. These amendments and my later amendment are designed to ensure that action is taken now to factor the urgent carbon agenda into national policy statements, the Infrastructure Planning Commission, the regional spatial strategy and all development applications. I beg to move.

It was a pleasure to add my name to the right reverend Prelate’s Amendment No. 40. I also have Amendments Nos. 52 and 177 in this group.

The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right to draw the Committee’s attention to the need for a very clear relationship between this Bill and the Climate Change Bill, which passed through this House some months ago. It postulated a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from this country by 2050, but it also established a Committee on Climate Change with, among other things, a responsibility to review that target figure and, in the event of deeper and more up-to-date knowledge coming forward, to recommend altering it if that proved necessary. I think that it was on the “Today” programme this morning—if not, it was probably yesterday—that I heard that the Committee on Climate Change was to recommend a change in that target to an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from this country by 2050.

We need to think very seriously about what that target means. My own view is quite clear. In 2050 my grandchildren will be well into their working careers and will have a few years to go before they can retire, so it is not that far away. By then, energy sources and all energy supplied will have to change. The only possible use for fossil fuels in that environment will be where there is no viable alternative. However, alternatives already exist and that target is achievable. I am sure that the Committee on Climate Change would not make that recommendation if it was not confident that that was so. If we then turn that round and think of the depth of change implied, it is clear that we need to think about it very seriously in relation to this Bill, which means that a direct cross-reference between the two Bills is absolutely vital.

My Amendment No. 177 requires a national policy statement of how this is to help to meet the targets that will be established under the Climate Change Bill. Unfortunately, we do not yet know what the climate change committee will recommend by way of interim budgets for carbon. That makes the business of technically tying the planning process into the Planning Bill quite tricky. Given the scale of the change required, there is no doubt that we need to be aware of that from the moment that this Bill is passed.

Recently it has looked as though Europe will recommend, at the next stage of the carbon emissions market, that the electricity generating industry will have to pay market price for all the carbon emission certificates that it requires. Until now the carbon certificates have been issued free. That will impose a very heavy cost burden, particularly on the coal generating industry. Of course, it will impose no burden on the nuclear generating industry because it does not emit carbon dioxide in the generating process. The economics of the generating industry will be changed by that very simple fact.

These are not just financial issues for electricity generators; they will perforce be planning issues in the consideration of how we go forward. This linkage is fundamental to the way the Bill will work in that area and it will probably indirectly affect others—transport, for instance. Will we want to ensure that rail becomes much more rapid and more efficient? I see the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, developing a twinkle in his eye at that thought. That may be so, and it will certainly make the relative merits of high-speed trains vis-à-vis aviation much more attractive. At the moment, high-speed trains are an expensive mode of travel compared to the cheap airlines. We will not be able to dictate which system will be appropriate for the future. At this stage, we have to recognise that all those pressures will be there and they will have to be taken into account as the Bill goes into action.

It is very important that we have cross-referencing in the system. It will also have to go into the Energy Bill which has gone through recently. It is very fortunate indeed that those three Bills, with such a clear necessity of linkage between them, have gone through Parliament in one Session. At the moment, that linkage is not apparent in this Bill and my two amendments seek to improve that situation. I am not sure whether we have it right, but I shall be very interested to hear what the noble Baroness says in winding up because I think she is as aware of the problem as I am. I hope that she will have some encouraging things to say. Perhaps we can work together to work out a solution to this necessity.

From these Benches we very much welcome the initiative by the right reverend Prelate. I was also very pleased to put my name to Amendment No. 87 and to Amendment No. 410 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor.

We are in a dangerous time. We are clear about why from the headlines in the tabloid and financial press which are about credit crunches, the financial system and the capitalist system of the world being threatened. The big danger is that we forget the even longer agenda of climate change. As the right reverend Prelate reminded us, it was less than a year ago that the Queen's Speech included a troika of legislation, some of which was introduced in this House and some in the other place, around the area which was the focus before the fall of capitalism: climate change, which had taken many decades to achieve its current profile.

When the Climate Change Bill was debated, all sides of the House welcomed it. We all had reservations about certain aspects of it, but we welcomed it and the other Bills. They were a major plank of the Government’s legislation in this Session. This is the third of those Bills to come to your Lordships' House. In some ways, it is the least billed in terms of its effect on climate change. That is quite wrong. When the Government drafted this legislation, I think what was highest in their mind—the Minister may well put me right on this—was that its primary purpose is to reshape the planning system, particularly in the area of energy, renewable energy and nuclear energy, so that we could move more quickly to a different form of low-carbon economy. These Benches may differ on nuclear power, but we accept that it is an important aspect of the Bill.

However, it has another, equally important, aspect because it puts national policy statements at the centre of how the economy and planning in this country move forward. The types of projects that are included in those policy statements—I shall remind the Committee of some of them in a minute—will shape our economy, the way it works and how much it does or does not embed carbon in it for probably the next 100 years. The developments that are mentioned in the Bill are: generating stations; electricity lines; gas storage; pipelines; harbour facilities; railways; freight interchange; water reservoirs; and waste facilities. They are facilities that will probably have lives of 40 or 50 years on the asset books of the businesses that run them and, in reality, a number of them will probably be there 100 years hence. They are the equivalent of our Victorian infrastructure. That is why it is so important that we get it right now so that what we construct over the next five, 10 or 20 years are the right forms of infrastructure development for 2050 and beyond when we have to have a far less carbon-intensive economy.

That is why I think that the Bill does not come up to the Government’s expectations and priorities, let alone those of the whole House. That is why it is so important that these amendments put the emphasis on climate change at the core national policy statement level. As the right reverend Prelate mentioned, there is a quote on sustainable development in the Bill, but if one reads it, one sees its weakness immediately. It refers to,

“the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development”.

If ever I read weasel words in legislation paying lip service to a concept but avoiding any commitment to it, I would suggest that the drafters of the Bill have done very well if that was the objective. I do not believe that that is the objective. I believe that the Government and the Prime Minister really see the climate change challenge as one that will well outlast our financial difficulties, which we have seen all too clearly during the past two months and, no doubt, will see in future months . Embedding the amendments in the Bill is vital to ensure that the infrastructure we create during the next 10 to 20 years contributes to the low-carbon economy that we need and that the Government are committed to.

I was extremely pleased to be able to put my name to Amendments Nos. 40, 87, 199 and 411, tabled by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool; they are splendid. I shall not take the time of the House by restating their validity, which the right reverend Prelate set out extremely strongly and which the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, has endorsed in very clear terms. I should like to add a few words of support on particular amendments that may not have been mentioned.

We ought to gird our loins for the future. For the past 10 years or so I have been banging away to include in every Bill that came through the House a clause on sustainable development where it was suitable to do so, and to ensure that every public body would have a sustainability role and that such provision was included in all new legislation where sustainable development was important. It is gratifying that that is now almost axiomatic in legislation, but, as the right reverend Prelate outlined, addressing climate change should also specifically be mentioned as a requirement in Bills where that is important and there should be a requirement on public bodies that have responsibility for delivering on the climate change objectives that the Government have, very worthily, set—they have shown an example internationally.

Although the Minister was very clear in her assurances on Second Reading that national policy statements would be properly appraised and that climate change would be part of that appraisal, in common with other noble Lords, I believe that we need to put that into the Bill. Climate change is the biggest threat that we face and, as the right reverend Prelate said, we cannot rely on assumption; there needs to be a duty.

I was especially pleased to see that the amendments talk not just about climate change mitigation but climate change adaptation. Much of the critical infrastructure whose development we are talking about speeding is highly threatened by climate change. The Chamber will have heard me in previous debates talking about the amount of critical infrastructure currently subject to the highest level of flood threat. To take another issue, our biodiversity is currently at threat from climate change. The critical infrastructure and national infrastructure proposals take account of the need for adaptation to climate change, to ensure not only that we are protected from the impact of climate change but that we do not enhance the threats of climate change to other things that we hold dear, such as our biodiversity.

I finish by talking about Amendment No. 411, on regional spatial strategies. We very much welcome the provision in the Bill to require local planning authorities to include policies to ensure that their areas contribute to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and development plans. The amendment would apply the same provision to regional spatial strategies and, of course, to the subsequent single regional strategies that will replace them. If the Government are in earnest about the sub-national review and the increasing importance of regional decision-making, democratic accountability and planning, we must ensure that those regional instruments of planning have climate change embedded at their heart.

Knowing the Minister’s commitment to ensuring that climate change is addressed, I hope that we may see these provisions in the Bill.

I am afraid that what I will say will strike a discordant note in the harmonious debate that we have listened to so far. I question whether now is the appropriate time for us to seek to reinforce the climate change message by seeking to introduce it extraneously into this Bill, which deals with quite other matters.

Our ever more reliable satellite measuring systems have recorded no increase in global temperatures for the past 10 years. I suggest that that allows us an opportunity to give priority to some more urgent threats to our way of life. I have in mind particularly the threat to the security and continuity of our energy supply—this has been mentioned by many speakers in this debate and was mentioned particularly by the noble Lord, Lord Best, the other day—of which more and more people are becoming aware. Incidentally in this context, I pay tribute to the outstanding speech made at the party conference of the party opposite by the sadly now ex-Minister responsible for energy, Mr John Hutton. He came very close to saying that energy security should now be our No. 1 priority, by implication above climate change.

Our generating capacity is plainly up against the limit of its ability to supply peak demand. Last May, for instance, the simultaneous emergency shut-down of two large power stations for unrelated reasons caused a crisis on the grid and the most serious black-outs for 20 years. More such events must be expected from our ageing fleet of power stations. In addition, as we have heard, 25 per cent or perhaps 30 per cent of our generating capacity must be withdrawn from service by 2016, partly because of its great age and partly because of stringent EU environmental requirements under the large combustible plants directive. Yet even EDF tells us that we cannot now expect new operating nuclear power stations before 2017.

How is this gap to be filled? The practical answer must be with gas and coal-fired power stations, but preferably with coal-fired because that does not increase our dependence on overseas gas suppliers. However, instead of directing us towards those options, the Government continue to pursue the will-o’-the-wisp of wind power. Not only does wind power desecrate the landscape and the seascape with gigantic turbines and lengthy new transmission lines to serve them, but the turbines are so inefficient that in this country, despite it being said to be blessed with particular advantages as far as wind is concerned, they operate at an average throughout the year of only 25 per cent of capacity. Worse still, they require a back-up of more than 90 per cent from thermal power stations in order to be certain to avoid black-outs at moments of peak demand—those moments coinciding, as they often do, with the time when no wind blows. Because of this required back-up by thermal power stations of more than 90 per cent, wind power can make virtually no contribution at all to helping us to deal with our looming energy shortages.

From the point of view of meeting our energy needs, wind farms, onshore and offshore alike, are almost entirely surplus to requirements; nor, contrary to the prevailing myth, can they be relied on to reduce our carbon footprint because account must be taken of the enormous emissions involved in their construction and installation and of the emissions of the stations required to operate as a back-up reserve.

Wind farms are up and running at all only because of the huge subsidies that developers receive—£1 billion per annum today and rising rapidly. They are paid for by the consumer and thereby contribute to fuel poverty. Incidentally, the Government have said that some 20 per cent of the cost of electricity bills is due to environmental legislation of one form or another. Wind farms are also vastly more expensive to install than other forms of power generation. They are measured in terms of their power output. Per megawatt of power delivered, an onshore wind farm is perhaps three to four times as expensive to install as a coal-fired power station and six to seven times as expensive to install as a gas-fired power station. An offshore wind farm is getting on for twice as expensive as that.

The pursuit of wind power represents one of the greatest misallocations of resources in this country’s history. I believe that if this Bill contains references to the need to take account of climate change, this is likely to be interpreted as an instruction to push wind power and so will simply encourage the pursuit of this will-o’-the-wisp. My amendment to remove Clause 173 would remove the obligation on those producing local development plans to include policies to mitigate or adapt to climate change. As that obligation is likely to be felt by local planning officers as pressure on them to give wind farm proposals planning permission, I would like to see it excluded from the Bill.

I am a great enthusiast for what the Government and other countries are doing on climate change. I thought that there was virtual unanimity—not just among politicians around the world, but also in the academic world—that climate change was happening and that we have to do something about it. Until tonight, the only exception I have heard was President Bush, but I think that perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Reay, is joining his eminence as being somewhat in denial. Climate change is happening and the Government deserve great credit for trying to do something about it.

The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, persuaded me to talk about transport for a few minutes in connection with this group of amendments. One day we will probably have a carbon trading system that works and means something. It has been a very long time coming, but it is coming. The way in which many European members states have given their most polluting industries a wonderful start-up present so that money can be made from them, and the fact that air and quite a lot of other transport is omitted, means that it is very difficult to apply a cost to each type of transport related to its emissions. That is clearly where we are and where this group is designed to help.

On the first day in Committee, we talked about whether it would be necessary or desirable within these national policy statements to look at alternatives. On airports, if the third runway at Heathrow was promoted after this Bill receives Royal Assent, how would one look at alternatives to air travel? Would one look at trains or cars? Would people be told that they should not use planes because the extra carbon cost is too expensive? Or should we say that an alternative site should be in the Thames estuary, as Mr Boris Johnson is apparently suggesting? That will come in a debate on site specificity and the other issues will come in future amendments. This is a useful group of amendments, which remind us that climate change is very important.

I wish to speak in support of this group of amendments. I thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool for his enthusiastic pursuit of the issues they raise. In particular, I wish to speak in support of Amendment No. 410. Along with the amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, it draws attention to the important inclusion of the battle on climate change in regional spatial strategies.

This will not be the only time in Committee we have a group of amendments which seeks to drive home the importance of climate change. This applies not just to projects in mitigation of climate change but, as the noble Baroness, Lady Young, pointed out, the equally important need to provide for adaptation to those elements which we can see are consequential on climate change.

Noble Lords have pointed to the link between this Bill, the Energy Bill, which is also going through the House, and the Climate Change Bill, which will shortly return. They are a daisy chain of interlocking legislation. I have no argument with joined-up government, but I think it is reasonable that the Bills reflect this in their wording—hence these amendments. I make no apology for batting on about this. Reference to sustainability is no substitute for the explicit writing of climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions on the face of the Bill.

I regret that I have to disagree fundamentally with my noble friend Lord Reay, for I believe that the widespread consensus that the Climate Change Bill created is a great asset for this Bill and we should exploit it. This Bill is exactly the mechanism by which the energy gap can be addressed and a low-carbon economy created. It is surely right that along with many factors to which the Committee and the Minister have drawn attention, the impact of climate change should be a primary consideration at all points in the planning process. The amendments seek to achieve that by placing climate change on the face of the Bill and I hope that they will receive the support of the Minister.

During the Committee stage of the Climate Change Bill, my noble friend Lord Taylor of Holbeach moved Amendment No. 17 to insert a new clause headed:

“Statements of compatibility with Climate Change Act”.

The Minister of the Crown in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament must, before its Second Reading, make a statement to the effect that, in his view, the provisions of the Bill are compatible with the principal aim of this Act—a statement of compatibility.

I followed my noble friend on that occasion and I should like to read something I said, not because it is that profound but because it helps me in my argument in supporting the amendment. I said:

“Kyoto, Bali, Stern, Al Gore, the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth and all political parties acknowledge that climate change is the most important issue facing us. If that is the case and we are serious about reducing our emissions, all future legislation should be compatible with this Climate Change Bill. Currently, on the front of all legislation the Minister states that in his view the Bill in question is compatible with the Human Rights Act, and on the front of the Climate Change Bill it states that the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, has made such a statement”.

The amendment intended to put on the front of all future Bills that they were compatible with the Climate Change Act. It was supported all around the House—indeed, the noble Baroness, Lady Young, said:

“I think it is a rather fine amendment. I wish that I had thought of it”.

The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, not surprisingly, congratulated our Front Bench. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, said that our Front Bench had probably done the House a service in bringing the amendment forward. He went on to say:

“The proposal certainly adds positively to the idea of the Bill being cross-government, up front and transparent and with genuine extra accountability”.—[Official Report, 11/12/07, cols. 210-12.]

The Climate Change Bill is still going through another place, but we could well have had on the front of this legislation a statement from the Minister saying that, in her view, its provisions are compatible with those of the Climate Change Bill. If that had been the case, moving the whole way through the veins of this Bill would have been the requirement that it should be compatible with the climate change legislation. But a statement is not on here, so I warmly support the amendment of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool. We ought to have something in the Bill to that effect.

I rise briefly to support the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Reay, which I believe is an accurate representation of the situation regarding climate change.

I am very grateful to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool for leading a debate on such an important topic with a substantial amendment which has allowed Members all around the Committee to have a good go at the significance of what we are trying to do in both the Climate Change Bill and this legislation. I should say how delighted we all were when we heard about the creation of a new Department of Energy and Climate Change, and I would simply say to the noble Lord, Lord Reay, that I cannot see how we can possibly achieve energy security without moving to a low carbon economy. We are challenged by climate change in all aspects of our national life and it is up to us to respond as rationally as possible. We have already made clear in the three Bills that so many noble Lords have referred to—not least in a very powerful speech by the noble Lord, Lord Teverson—that climate change and energy are to be brought together. That certainly will help to drive the transition to a low carbon economy. Having one department will focus and accelerate that process.

I shall start by addressing the two substantial amendments. Amendment No. 40 to Clause 5 would require that,

“the Secretary of State must be satisfied that (taken as a whole) the policies in [the NPS] contribute to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change”,

and that a statement should be included in the NPS saying so. Amendment No. 87 would add to the clause a duty on the Secretary of State to draw up every NPS,

“with the objective of contributing to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change”.

I will not repeat what I said at Second Reading, but I need to put on the record the fact that we think the Bill itself contains robust provisions to address this issue. It is important to open by saying that climate change is a key consideration in sustainable development generally and that our objectives are central to the consideration of future infrastructure needs. That is why we have in Clause 10 a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that NPSs are drawn up with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development, and why there will be robust appraisals of sustainability which will, of course, include consideration of climate change.

We have made it clear that NPSs will integrate government objectives in terms of environmental, social and economic policy, including climate change objectives, in order to help us deliver sustainable development. Earlier today I talked about the appraisal of sustainability, which will apply to all statements to ensure that environmental, social and economic objectives are properly factored in. Again that will be bound to consider the effects of draft NPSs in relation to climate change. That should be seen alongside the policy commitment in the planning White Paper to consider climate change when NPSs are being developed. We have also outlined the key connection between NPSs and the Climate Change Bill, which will put into statute legally binding targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2050 against the 1990 baseline. As arrangements for managing the carbon budgets established under that Bill are yet to be fully developed, it would be unwise for me to try to describe here precisely how they will affect Ministers responsible for developing NPSs, but let me reassure noble Lords that when we are developing them, Ministers will have to do so in the context of this new and very explicit regime. We have also made clear that NPSs will take account of all government policy relevant to decision-making and that will include climate change. We will have to have regard to the Bill’s provisions, which many of your Lordships have worked consistently to get right. We are aware that budgets will be set and that the five-year budget period has already begun. We are also aware that we will have to work across Whitehall to manage those carbon budgets once they are established.

The Climate Change Bill, the energy White Paper and the Energy Bill provide an overall framework for tackling climate change. As many noble Lords have said, it is a troika of progressive legislation to help address the great challenge of our world. The new department will enable the best possible synergy between policies which aim for energy and climate security.

Although we have a robust framework, I have heard the arguments put forward from all sides of the Committee about the virtue of placing specific duties on Ministers when drawing up NPSs. I understand the concerns and the passion with which, for example, the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, raised the issue. We are all agreed about the magnitude of the challenge and I sympathise with what has been said. We are trying to achieve the same thing—that is, to ensure that the framework of future infrastructure provides for sustainable development and places it at its heart. I am therefore minded to think further about these complex issues. I hope that noble Lords will allow me to give them further thought. I will take up the invitation to discuss them with noble Lords across the Chamber. The amendments are not necessarily the right approach, as we always have to watch out for unintended consequences. I will therefore need some time to give thought to the matter, which I am happy to do.

I do not have such good news in regard to the amendments to Part 5 which relate to greater clarity of information on carbon budgets in general. Amendment No. 52 would add to the list of examples of policy which may be included in a national policy statement. It seeks to include a policy of setting out what contribution the national policy statement will make towards meeting the carbon budgets established under the Climate Change Act. As the list is quite conditional it is already possible for the NPSs to do this.

I turn to the other amendments to Part 5. Amendment No. 177 would require an application for an NSIP to be accompanied by a declaration showing the contribution that the application will make towards meeting the commitments for carbon limitation made under the Climate Change Bill. Amendment No. 199 has been tabled by four distinguished Members of the Committee and would require a promoter to prepare a statement setting out the expected carbon emissions that will arise from the construction, operation and decommissioning of the proposed development, having regard to any guidance given by the Secretary of State and the commission.

I find it slightly odd, in the great scheme of things, to place a duty on promoters of individual projects to set out what contribution the application will make towards meeting the commitments for carbon reduction under the Bill. Duties under the Climate Change Bill bite on Ministers and the responsibility for meeting those targets rightly falls on them. I have sympathy with what noble Lords are trying to achieve through Amendment No. 199, but any application for a large-scale project that would have a significant environmental impact would be highly likely to require an environmental impact assessment under the directive. This would look at the significant impacts of proposals and would include incorporating the impact of carbon emissions. That may well address that issue but, ultimately, the key is to ensure that national policy statements effectively set out policy in relation to the type of infrastructure in question in the way I have outlined. That is the way to secure the IPC decisions in accordance with the NPS. I do not think it is necessary or sensible to introduce the duty on promoters.

When I look at Amendments Nos. 410 and 411, tabled by the noble Lords, Lord Taylor of Holbeach and Lord Teverson, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, I am minded to think about that point. I shall briefly explain. The amendments would require a regional planning body, when preparing a draft revision to the RSS, to include policies designed to secure that development and use of land in the region contributes to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. It mirrors the duty proposed in Clause 173 for local planning authorities to include in their development plan documents, taken as a whole, policies to secure that development and use contribute to mitigation and adaptation, and applies that to the RSS.

The proposed duty in Clause 173 simply delivers the planning White Paper commitment to legislate to set out clearly the role of local planning authorities in tackling energy efficiency. Indeed, we expected in our planning policy statement that there would be a similar expectation of regional and spatial strategies. It does not make sense to leave out any of the levels of planning decision. We need consistency. Whether it needs to be said in legislation is a moot point, but I take the principle here. The Secretary of State approves the RSS and, in doing so, is certainly mindful of her own policies, which include climate change and carbon budgets. If noble Lords are willing, I will take that away and consider its implications in more detail.

Finally, on the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Reay, I will not address the broader argument that he used in relation to climate change. I do not think he found sympathy around the Committee, and I take issue with his analysis myself. Suffice it to say, under the circumstances, that Clause 173 sets out that local planning authorities must include in their development plan documents policies designed to secure that the development and use of land in their area contribute to mitigating and adapting to climate change. It is an important clause. It puts a duty on councillors, in preparing their local plans, to take action on climate change. Frankly, that is what local communities are asking for. The local authorities have been at the forefront of much of what is truly progressive and radical with regard to climate change over the past few years, and that is all to the good. The duty is vital, and it is important that the planning system takes account of the need. Taking the clause away would remove an important responsibility that local authorities are keen to take up. Indeed, the duty has been welcomed by stakeholders because of the positive contribution it will make. I will not go into any more detail. That is probably sufficient to address that amendment.

In short, I am pleased that we are in agreement on the question of how we address this issue to make it effective. We will take away and think about the two amendments I have identified. I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate today.

I am grateful to all noble Lords who have contributed and aired the arguments so cogently. I am grateful even for the dissenting voices—I do not think it is a matter of either/or; rather, it is both energy security and climate change. It is too late in the day for me to comment on each. I am grateful for the biblical metaphor of the noble Baroness, Lady Young, of girding our loins and facing the issue.

This evening, though, we are particularly grateful for the graciousness of the Minister. We thank her for being prepared to think again. On behalf of noble Lords, I say that we are willing to work with her and her officials in finding a way to integrate the carbon agenda in the Planning Bill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

House adjourned at 9.49 pm.