On Friday three questions raised by Caroline Lucas were answered by a junior Minister who works for the DEFRA team and was answering on behalf of George Eustice, the Minister. The questions all asked for data and indeed two of them got answered very specifically with data. The first was the question which was possibly the hardest to answer but the statement made in answer to the question indicates that there is a complete lack of progress taking place in the Governments call to deal with climate change. It was certainly not a clear response to the question, it was quite long but most of it was simply background information and some distance away from the question which was “how many officials in his Department with responsibility for adaptation to climate change including flooding have been in post in each financial year from 2010-11 to present; and for what reasons there have been changes in the numbers of those positions each year.”
The answer from Rebecca Pow consisted of 331 words but the following (24) are the only ones that came close to an actual answer. “The mainstreaming of adaptation across Government makes it difficult to ascertain exact numbers on staffing who have responsibility for adaptation embedded into their roles.”
To prove that Rebecca is well capable of providing data one only has to check out the second and third questions and to read the data she has provided. Both of those relate to nature reserves and whilst the second one simply provides one number, the third one publishes two data tables! However our need to see some sort of meaningful strategy for dealing with climate change is very significant and it would appear that there is no strategy, at least in terms of the numbers of people being employed to deal with it. Perhaps we can call on Rebecca to admit that there is a big gap on this subject!