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.
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.
- Sarah AlJourani, Lexology: Sharia Series: validity of marriage, a focus on Tousi v Gaydukova : in which Mostyn J said: “In my opinion, the situation is a disreputable mess and urgently needs to be definitively clarified both substantively and procedurally. This can only be achieved … by the Supreme Court.”
- Sir John Jenkins, Policy Exchange: The Symbolic Power of the Veil: on the hijab and burqa.
- Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms: Manitoba churches appealing unjustified church closures to the Supreme Court of Canada: five Manitoba churches have filed an application to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of church closures and restrictions on outdoor gatherings during COVID.
- Richard Scorer, Surviving Church: Mandatory Reporting versus the Seal of the Confessional: coincidentally, the Information Commissioner’s Office has published A 10-step guide to sharing information to safeguard children.
- Shivaji Shiva, Civil Society: Faith charities, governance and the Charity Commission.
- Hattie Williams, Church Times: We don’t know, but consider religious freedom, says C of E response on exceptions to mandatory reporting: on the C of E’s response to the Government’s consultation on mandatory reporting of child abuse – which we reported here.
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.