Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Newspaper column 17 January - The 25 Year Environment Plan

Last week was my first week back in Parliament following the festive Recess. It was a busy week with a lot going on, both in Westminster and then in Mid-Cornwall over the weekend.

I was particularly keen to make representations on behalf of the people of Mid-Cornwall on the NHS consultation that could see some radiotherapy services moved from Cornwall, raising it in the House of Commons in a debate and writing to both the Health Minister and Chief Executive of NHS England outlining my objections. In Cornwall, on Friday I also followed this up in my regular meetings with NHS management. The consultation continues until 24 January and I would encourage anyone who wants to feed back their views to write to NHS England at or by letter to Radiotherapy Consultation, NHS England, Floor 3B, Skipton House, 80 London Road, London, SE1 6LH.

Meanwhile on Thursday morning I was delighted to be invited to the Prime Minister’s launch of the Government’s landmark 25 Year Environment Plan, setting out how we will improve the environment over a generation by creating richer habitats for wildlife, improving air and water quality and curbing the scourge of plastic in the world’s oceans.

Among other things, this strategy sets out how over the next quarter of a century the government will:
Help wildlife thrive by creating 500,000 hectares of new habitat for endangered species, supporting farmers to turn fields into meadows and other habitats, replenishing depleted soils and providing £5.7 million to kick-start a new Northern Forest.

Be a world leader in environmental protection by investigating the feasibility of an anti-poaching taskforce to tackle the illegal wildlife trade,

Deliver a Green Brexit by consulting on a new environmental watchdog to hold government to account for environmental standards, and setting out a new approach to agriculture and fisheries management

Connect people with nature by creating ‘nature friendly schools’ and reviewing National Parks to see how they can improve and whether the network should be extended.

Particularly important to the work I have been doing in my capacity as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group Protect Our Waves are further measures to crack down on plastic waste.
Specifically the Prime Minister announced that the Government will be working with retailers to introduce plastic-free supermarket aisles – a great move to cut down on some of the frankly ridiculous amounts of plastic packaging we get on food purchases such as fruit and vegetables, as well as extending the 5p plastic bag charge to all retailers and removing single use plastics from the government buildings.

There is much more to do, and the scope of the Government’s ambition is highlighted by the length of time it is envisaged it will take for these changes to take place. But this does not mean that we will wait 25 years before any changes will be made, but we should also accept that there is no silver bullet and it is good to see the Government laying the groundwork for changes that are not only so important to us now but for the future generations that we will be leaving the planet to.
I look forward to continuing to be involved in shaping and influencing these policies as the Government proceeds down the road to a greener Britain.

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: