Green Party parliamentary candidate Pete Kennedy with members of the House of Lords

Stroud’s Tory MP Siobhan Baillie has ‘dodged a bullet’ after plans to rip up environmental protections in housebuilding regulations were rejected by the House of Lords. That’s according to the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for the South West constituency Pete Kennedy.

Kennedy said that Baillie will now no long have to chose between supporting the government or protecting rivers.

The Tory government threatened to remove legislation (known as nutrient neutrality rules) that protects waterways from pollution created by new housebuilding. But the plan was defeated by the House of Lords on September 13 after public outrage and a campaign by environmental groups.

The Slimbridge-based Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) had said the government’s “regressive” move would damage vulnerable wetlands and force taxpayers – instead of developers – to shoulder the cost of dealing with pollution. It described as “meaningless” the government’s earlier promises not to weaken legal protections for the environment.

Kennedy – who worked with Green Party peers in the House of Lords to resist the proposals – said: “MP Siobhan Baillie has really dodged a bullet here. Had the Lords not overturned this latest attempt by the government to reduce environmental protections, the matter would have gone to a vote in the Commons and she would have been forced to choose between her allegiance to the WWT and her loyalty to Rishi Sunak’s government.

“Her public support for the WWT and her role as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Wetlands are in direct conflict with her role as a Conservative MP. Her options would have been either to oppose the government and vote against the changes, or to betray the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust by toeing the party line and voting with the government.

“It’s wonderful that this latest threat to our rivers has been stopped. It shows the value of having Greens in Parliament pushing Labour and the Conservatives to do the right thing.”

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