Law and religion round-up – 24th September

A week in which we were asked to believe in the Seven Deadly Bins…

…a creative interpretation to s.57 Environment Act 2021- Separation of waste, which is unlikely to feature in future editions of The Law of Waste Management, but clearly has potential for one of David’s contributions to Environmental Law & Management.

Freedom of religion and belief

On Tuesday, the Commons held a short debate in Westminster Hall on freedom of religion and belief. The debate had an international rather than a domestic focus and was replied to by the Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill was read the third time in the House of Lords on Thursday. It includes the Government new clause introduced in the Lords that clarifies the powers of parish and town councils in England to grant aid places of worship. It will now go to the House of Commons for final consideration ahead of Royal Assent. However, as currently drafted it does not apply to churches in Wales, and the Church in Wales is continuing “to work on this with colleagues and counterparts”.

Praying outside abortion clinics

The Catholic Herald reports that Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was arrested for praying silently outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham, has received an apology. Following a six-month investigation, West Midlands Police has confirmed that it will not bring charges, telling her that “there will be no further investigation into the alleged matter, and there will be no further action taken” and has apologised to her for the length of time taken to reach the decision not to prosecute her.

“Net Zero” targets

On the first day of the parliamentary recess for the Party Conferences, the Prime Minister set out his new approach to Net Zero by 2050 and according to Caroline Lucas, “promising not to implement imaginary policies that were never proposed in the first place”. The substance of her comment was verified by Full Fact. The Church of England’s lead bishop on the Environment, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, was not impressed with the prospect of the Government rowing back on its Net Zero policies which he said: “[s]hortsighted, it will erode credibility at home & abroad. This isn’t the time to seek political advantage with games. Leadership and action are needed, not delay and procrastination”. This was followed by a Press Release on 21 September.

Whilst the Church’s target year for Net Zero is 2030, the Government’s relaxation on the replacement of gas and oil boilers is unlikely to impact on this target, since this is governed by the Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2022 and CBC Guidance.

Quick links

And finally…

Although the Institute for Government suggested Rishi Sunak’s net zero strategy is not more honest and pragmatic, it agreed with his assertion that just 17 minutes’ debate in the House of Commons on the last carbon budget was “not a responsible way to make decisions which have such a bearing on people’s lives”. There seem to be parallels with events in General Synod on 12 February 2021.

One thought on “Law and religion round-up – 24th September

  1. I read the very long debate on Freedom of Religion and Belief.
    While there was one brief reference to the human rights of atheists and non-religious believers, the remainder of the debate was almost totally taken up with expressed concerns over the treatment of religious believers.

    No mention was made – for example – of the jailing of Mubarak Bala, President of Nigerian Humanists for 24 years after an unparalleled travesty of what passes for a justice system in Nigeria.

    Will any of the worthies involved in this debate be taking up Mubarak Bala’s case by seeking his release from jail after a warped kangaroo court trial?

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