WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE!


I set up this personal website over nine years ago to present a simple account of what I do.
Parliamentary Questions and Debates catalogues my work in the House of Lords.

You can also read about my other interests and various issues which concern me.

Richard Faulkner / House of Lords / London SW1A 0PW

SURPRISE INSPECTION OF MALVERN SCRAP DEALERS


Friday 17 November: Police joined forces with the Environmental Agency and Worcestershire County Council’s regulatory services for a surprise inspection of two Malvern scrap dealers.

The officers were joined on their mission by Lord Faulkner of Worcester, a guiding force behind the passing of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, which outlawed the cash sales of scrap metal.

Lord Faulkner said he was delighted to take part. He said: “This year’s increases in the prices of copper and other metals meant that metal theft is growing, so the need for enforcement of the laws and regulations controlling scrap metal dealing is needed more than ever.

“The increasing rate of metal theft has prompted me to call for a Parliamentary debate in the New Year.”

Read article in Worcester News

SCRAP METAL DEALERS ACT 2013

2 November 2017: Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness and enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)

The Government have conducted a review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 to assess whether it has met its intended objectives and whether it should be retained or repealed. A report of the findings of this review will be published later this year.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Only organised criminal gangs would like to see the Act repealed. It was immensely successful initially thanks to rigorous enforcement, led by the British Transport Police, and the work of the scrap metal task force.
Is she aware that in the past two years, from the second half of 2016 and through this year, the incidence of theft has been growing again, particularly of high-value items, through the work of organised gangs? The increase is due also to the rise in the value of scrap metal—for example, copper is now worth more than £5,000 per tonne.
Should not the Act be strengthened and the task force reconstituted?

Read debate in full

RAILWAYS: RELIABILITY

31 October 2017: Baroness Randerson asked Her Majesty’s Government what measures they intend to take to improve the reliability of railway services.

During the debate..... Lord Faulkner of Worcester

I join other noble Lords in thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, for securing this very interesting debate. I too welcome the Minister to her first railway debate. I am sure there will be many more and I hope she will be here to take part in those as well. There can be no one in your Lordships’ House who disagrees with the aspiration to improve the quality of Britain’s rail services....

We have had a number of briefings for this debate. I particularly commend that of the Railway Industry Association, which points out that passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years, that the rail industry employs 240,000 people and contributes £11 billion gross added value to the economy, and that with a vibrant rail industry at home, we are now again able, as we did in the past, to sell our railway expertise abroad.

Read my contribution in full

GOLDEN HISTORY FOR LONDON MIDLAND



In 2016, London Midland turned its station signs gold to mark the success of local heroes such as Megan Giglia and Jon-Allan Butterworth at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On 27 October 2017 the sign at Kidderminster station, in honour of Team GB Paralympian swimmer Claire Cashmore, was handed over to Science Museum Deputy Chairman, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, to be displayed at the National Railway Museum in York.

The powers of the Railway Heritage Committee in designating objects with special heritage significance were passed to the Science Museum trustees in 2013, who are advised by the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board (RHDAB).



Read press release from London Midland

See Spotlight on Golden History for London Midland

BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE

19 October 2017: Lord Black of Brentwood moved the motion:

That this House takes note of the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele and of Her Majesty’s Government’s plans to commemorate it.

during the debate......

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

..... We have been reminded today about the horror that was Passchendaele and the unimaginable scale of the casualties on the allied and German sides. After the wettest summer for 30 years, the ground under foot was a quagmire, and the mud was so deep that men and horses drowned in it—described by Siegfried Sassoon in his heart-breaking poem, “Memorial Tablet”, quoted to such effect by the noble Lord, Lord Black, in his speech.

One soldier who fought at Passchendaele and survived was Harry Patch, who died in 2009 at the age of 111, the last British survivor of the trenches. I had the privilege of meeting him in Ypres the year before, when he paid his last visit to the Western Front. His Great War service was uncovered only in 2000, when he began to talk of his wartime experiences. He was an ardent spokesman for the promotion of peace, saying that war benefits no one but merely leaves individuals and families irretrievably scarred. He travelled back to the battlefields of Ypres regularly during the last decade of his life, and attended the “Last Post” ceremony at the Menin Gate, always promoting the same message: dialogue, rather than show of arms.

He agreed to meet a German veteran while in Ypres in 2006, and their coming together was a powerful symbol of reconciliation. I think that he would have agreed with David Lloyd George, about whom the noble Lord, Lord Lexden, spoke, when he described Passchendaele in his war memoirs as,
“one of the greatest disasters of the war... No soldier of any intelligence now defends this senseless campaign”.....

read contribution in full

RAILWAY HERITAGE EVENTS IN FERMANAGH

On 30 September 2017 the Headhunters Barber's Shop and Railway Museum in Enniskillen received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service , which was presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, Viscount Brookeborough at Enniskillen Castle Museum.

Speaking at the event in my role as President of the Heritage Railway Association (HRA)

“Headhunters is a remarkable and unique establishment which offers a high quality barber’s shop service in a heritage railway museum environment. The collection of artefacts assembled there is without doubt the best in the county, and possibly in the whole of Northern Ireland. It is almost 60 years since Fermanagh and the surrounding area lost all their railway services and it is therefore imperative that local people and the thousands of people who visit Enniskillen as tourists have the opportunity to get a sense of what the railway was like. Headhunters manages to do that excellently.

“As with railway heritage projects across the United Kingdom, the key to Headhunters’ success as a museum lies with its volunteers. It is hard to think of a more worthy candidate for this prestigious award.”

Earlier in the year the museum had received an award from the HRA at their annual dinner in February

See more news and images here

During my visit to Fermanagh I also made a speech at the opening of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council’s launch of the council’s “Each a Glimpse and Gone Forever – Fermanagh’s Railway Story” exhibition at Fermanagh County Museum in Enniskillen Castle. This exhibition marked the 60th anniversary of the closure of all railway lines in the north west of the island of Ireland.

Read the speech I gave at the launch of the exhibition here

ALISHAN FOREST RAILWAY, TAIWAN



At the end of September I visited Taiwan as President of the Heritage Railway Association (HRA), but also in the position I hold as the British Government's Trade Envoy to Taiwan.

I represented the HRA at the signing of a friendship agreement between the Alishan Forest Railway and the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway on 28 September.

Those shown in the image are L to R - Lord Shutt of Greetland (vice chair parliamentary all-party heritage rail group),

Steve Clews (chair of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway),

Steve Firstbrook (head international trade and investment, British Office, Taiwan),

Michael Reilly (former British representative in Taipei and now secretary of the W&LLR).

Article in Taiwan Today

REAPPOINTMENT AS TRADE ENVOY TO TAIWAN

31 July 2017:

I was honoured to receive a letter from the Rt. Hon. Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade, inviting me to continue in the role of Trade Envoy to Taiwan

Read the letter in full here

PRINCE HENRY'S HIGH SCHOOL SPEECH DAY 2017



At the end of June I was delighted to be invited by the Head at Prince Henry's High School in Evesham, Worcestershire, to present the prizes at their Speech Day.

This was a return visit, having previously visited the school in January as a representative of the Lord Speaker’s Peers in Schools programme

You can read the speech I gave here

More photos from Prince Henry's High School Speech Day can be found by linking to the school website

RAILWAYS: NORTHERN ENGLAND

10 July 2017: Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government what support they are giving to connecting communities and economies in the north of England by the re-opening of railway lines.

during the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
My Lords, I remind the House of my railway interests in the register. The Minister will be struck by the support that exists all over the House for the reopening of rural railway lines. Can I draw his attention to the Report by the Association of Train Operating Companies in 2009, which looked at communities with more than 15,000 inhabitants, and at the potential for reopening services where they used to exist? There were 14 lines of the highest priority where there was either an existing freight line or a disused line. No Government have yet acted on that report, so will the Minister now please have a look at it?

LOCAL ARTS & CULTURAL SERVICES - QUESTION FOR SHORT DEBATE

30 March 2017: The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to protect and improve local arts and cultural services, including museums, libraries and archaeological services.

during the debate...

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: ....... I declare an unpaid interest as chair of a charity called Worcester Live, which is the main provider of the arts in the city. ....

Worcester Live exists for three reasons. First, it receives generous core funding support from Worcester City Council, which, per head of population, probably contributes more to the arts than any other district council. Secondly, it has a small number of wonderful individual benefactors, trusts and patrons. Thirdly, its productions and events are well-supported by local residents.

However, Worcester Live gets not a penny from the Arts Council, and that means that its finances are constantly on a knife edge. In my view, a disproportionate amount of arts money goes to London, and a huge percentage of it goes to classical music in one form or another—orchestras, opera and ballet—and to flagship ​venues, a point made earlier by the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy. I am far from convinced that the balance is entirely right, and I would like the Arts Council to recognise the value to local communities outside the south-east of popular non-elitist organisations such as the one that I am involved with.......

read contribution in full

see also item in Worcester News

DISABLED ACCESS: PUBLIC PREMISES

15 March 2017: Baroness Deech asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve accessibility for disabled people to public premises.

during the debate.....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
My Lords, is the Minister aware that a significant number of Premier League football clubs will fail to honour the commitment that they gave in 2015 to make all their stadia disabled accessible by August 2017? Will he remind them that Section 20 of the 2010 Act is not an option but is mandatory? Will the Government empower the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to enforce the law and make sure that accessible stadia guidelines are observed?

to which Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth responded:
My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely right and I know that he has raised this issue many times before. Some are of course stepping up to the plate and some are not. Some are partly there. I mention my own club, Leicester City, which I hope will do a bit more but is already part of the way there. I take the point seriously. I will write to him on his second point about enforcement because I am not sure where we are on that, but I agree that we need to keep their feet to the fire to make sure that they are performing.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION VISITS ST LUCIA



14 - 16 February 2017

Recently visited St Lucia as a member of a UK parliamentary delegation which hosted a two-day workshop for local parliamentarians.

Ahead of that session, the three-member delegation met with representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The two events are part of regular post elections parliamentary workshops conducted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

See local media coverage

HERITAGE RAILWAY ASSOCIATION AGM

11 February 2017: Addressed the AGM of the Railway Heritage Association in Wolverhanpton

Read full transcript of the speech here

HIGH SPEED RAIL (LONDON-WEST MIDLANDS) BILL

24 January 2017: Lord Bradshaw moved Clause 1: Power to construct and maintain works for Phase One of High Speed 2 - Amendment 1

speaking to this amendment Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

Will the noble Earl take the trouble to read the very wise words of noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, who spoke a few moments ago about the consequences of accepting these amendments? If one of them were passed, the Bill would have to be re-hybridised. It would have to go back to the hybrid Bill Committee and months and months would be taken up by looking at the Bill again with these provisions in it.

I cannot believe that the House would want to do that, bearing in mind the exceptionally good job that the hybrid committee did. I see a number of its members are in the Chamber at the moment and they deserve the thanks of all of us for looking at this Bill in such detail and displaying such patience in listening to huge numbers of petitions and far too many lawyers who were presenting them on behalf of people with, in some cases, entirely spurious objections. The committee went through that very well and came up with a series of recommendations for change, and the Government, to their great credit, have accepted them all either in spirit or literally. The fact that the committee has done that job and we have a Bill to which we can give Third Reading and get work under way is very important.​

Old Oak Common is a wonderful place. It is where my great-grandfather lived in a Great Western Railway house when he was a top link driver on the railway in the early years of the 20th century. But it is not a place where people want to go when they are travelling on high-speed trains from Birmingham or the north of England. Indeed, the practicality of finishing a journey there has been addressed by Transport for London. It answers the point made by my noble friend Lord Berkeley about Crossrail. Yes, Crossrail is going really well and will be a great success. But when HS2 arrives at Old Oak Common, it is estimated that about a third of the passengers will get off, get on to Crossrail and go into the City. However, if they were all required to go on to the City, the difference between these two—HS2 terminating at Euston or at Old Oak Common—would, in the words of Transport for London, be the difference between Crossrail coping and Crossrail falling down. That would be the implication of accepting this amendment.

read this contribution



Amendment 2 moved by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara

speaking to this amendment Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

My Lords, I pick up the theme of my noble friend Lord Snape and express my disappointment at the lack of ambition that some Members of this House seem to demonstrate towards our capacity as a nation to build wonderful railways. Some of the finest structures created in the 19th century were built by railway engineers, whether it was viaducts ​through the Peak District or magnificent railway stations. To have such a lack of ambition and to say, “Gosh, this new line must all go in tunnels because it’s going to be so obtrusive”, is very disappointing. Also, as my noble friend says, it is very expensive. I remember at one of the early briefing meetings given by Sir David Higgins I asked him, “Wouldn’t it be possible to reduce the cost of the project if we didn’t have so much tunnel in it?”. He said, “Yes, but I’m not allowed by the Government to answer that question”. I am not sure whether it was this Government or the previous one who made it impossible for him to answer, but it has undoubtedly added to the cost.

I also make a plea for the people who like travelling by train and love the Chilterns and want to be able to see them. There is no reason why we should not be able to see them rather than the inside of a tunnel from the railway. Look at the other engineering projects in the Chilterns. The M40 is a six-lane motorway which carved a swathe through the Chiltern escarpment, and probably the largest intrusion into an area of outstanding natural beauty in the south of England. There was a lot of objection. It is used by very large numbers of people, but it still causes an intrusion and environmental damage far greater than the two-track railway that we are discussing this evening. Wendover benefits from a new bypass, which is being constructed to one side of the existing Chiltern railway line and is producing a huge amount of noise and traffic. It is very nice for the town because traffic is taken out of the town, but the new railway is going to go alongside that as well. Why is that somehow unreasonable compared with the road that is already there?

The Chilterns are beautiful. The environment of the Chilterns will be enhanced by the building of the railway, and many more people will be able to enjoy them. There is no need for these amendments.

read this contribution

NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE BILL [HL] - REPORT STAGE

7 December 2016: Amendment 13 moved by Lord Faulkner of Worcester

After Clause 9, insert the following new Clause— “Heritage railways, tramways and inland waterways: NCS Trust programmes (1) Nothing in this Act shall prevent a young person from working as a volunteer on a heritage railway or tramway or an inland waterway, as part of a programme provided or arranged by the NCS Trust....
read more....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, I beg to move Amendment 13, which is similar but not identical to the amendment that I tabled in Committee. One important addition is the reference to inland waterways and I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, for raising in Committee the subject of young people working as volunteers on canals and other inland waterways. I am particularly grateful to him for putting his name to the amendment tonight.....
However, I need to share with your Lordships the serious problem facing industrial heritage activities—particularly on heritage railways - undertaken by young people as volunteers, as a result of an ancient piece of legislation: the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act 1920. The Heritage Railway Association - and I declare an unpaid interest as its president - has received a very unwelcome opinion from leading counsel that the 1920 Act expressly excludes the employment of children in an industrial undertaking, not only as paid employees under a contract of employment but as volunteers as well.....

read contribution .....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: - withdrawing amendment 13

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, and my noble friend Lord Adonis for their splendidly supportive speeches on the amendment. The Minister’s response is more or less exactly what I expected; I was grateful to him for the opportunity to speak informally during the week about the way in which we might address these issues, and I am delighted to hear that contact has been made with the Office of Road and Rail. I am sure that we shall want to explore that route further. I hope that the Government will use their good offices ​and their best endeavours to bring the parties together to see whether it is possible to come to a solution. The All-Party Group on Heritage Rail met last week and heard a submission from the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard. He was apprised of this issue, and he appeared to be sympathetic, so it has been registered inside the Department for Transport as well. I hope that it will be possible and that, if it cannot be done in the Bill, the Government will be able to use a legislative opportunity to amend the section of the 1920 Act that is clearly causing all this difficulty. However, in that spirit of goodwill and with the approaching onset of the Christmas holiday, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 13 withdrawn.

TRAIN OPERATING COMPANIES

6 December 2016: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon):

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat in the form of a Statement the Answer given earlier ​today by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport to an Urgent Question on the Government’s plan for train operating companies

during the debate.....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester:
My Lords, I remind the House of my railway interests, as declared in the register. On the east-west route, the Oxford to Cambridge line, the Minister will know that it was the most inexplicable of all the post-Beeching closures. It was not even listed for closure in the Beeching report. It closed in 1967 at exactly the time that Milton Keynes was designated as a new city capable of taking 250,000 people. The East West Rail consortium has been campaigning for 47 years to reopen the line. Can he give an assurance that the announcement he has made today will not delay that a day longer than necessary.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon :
The noble Lord is right to point out the history behind this line. Indeed, it predates my life. Nevertheless, it is an important issue and today’s announcement underlines the Government’s commitment to ensuring delivery. We hope the new arrangement will, if anything, bring forward the construction that I have outlined today.

HISTORICAL SEXUAL ABUSE IN FOOTBALL

29 November 2016: Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat as a Statement the response to an Urgent Question given in the other place by Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for DCMS.

read the Statement in full .....

during the subsequent debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester
I too declare an unpaid interest as a vice-president of the National League, formerly known as the Football Conference. Does the Minister agree that one of the most worrying aspects of these dreadful allegations is the way that they were ignored by the football authorities when they were first made and that it is only as a result of the press coverage in the last few days that they have come to light? The Minister referred to other sports. Do the Government have any information about whether similar allegations are likely to be forthcoming concerning those sports? Will the helpline to which the Statement referred—its announcement is very welcome—be extended to help other people who may have experienced the same sort of event?

NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE BILL - GRAND COMMITTEE - 2nd DAY

22 November 2016: Amendment 50A moved by Lord Faulkner of Worcester

After Clause 9, insert the following new Clause — “Heritage railways and tramways: NCS programmes (1) Nothing in this Act shall prevent a young person from working as a volunteer on a heritage railway or tramway, as part of a programme provided or arranged by the NCS Trust ....
read complete text of amendment .....

later in the debate.....

Like every other noble Lord who has spoken, I warmly endorse the Bill’s objective of encouraging the participation of young people in projects and programmes that benefit them and our society in general. The purpose of my amendment is to ensure that in one particular sphere of activity these objectives and programmes are not unintentionally placed in jeopardy by the Bill. That sphere of activity relates to the operation of heritage railways and tramways.
read contribution .....

I am most grateful to the Minister, who has gone considerably further than I feared he might be able to this afternoon, particularly in reinforcing the point that there should be no barrier to young people volunteering their time to work on heritage railways. That sentence is extraordinarily helpful. I accept with great gratitude the offer to discuss this further with him before Report. I would love the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, to be part of that discussion so that we can talk about volunteers on canals as well. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 50A withdrawn.
read more .....