Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Campaign reply - Please speak up for nature in the Environment Bill debates

Several constituents have sent me a campaign email concerning the Environment Bill.

The environment and how we protect it has long since been of great importance to me and I have been delighted to work with different environmental groups on this vital matter.

The government has consistently said that it will not dilute measures designed to protect the environment now we have left the EU. The Government’s 25-Year Plan to Improve the Environment is available here:

The campaign email refers to local people:  “Locally, people are doing great things for nature’s recovery by switching to green energy, leaving a patch in their garden to grow wild, and eating less meat, but key nationwide change cannot happen without strong laws”. I agree with much of this sentiment about local people caring. My own experience of organising events around improving our environment have always been met with real support and enthusiasm from constituents. One area I have long campaigned on is the reduction in single use plastics and the terrible damage they do to our environment. Beach cleans involving collecting plastics have also been well attended and I will always be pleased to welcome more volunteers in helping. You can find out more here:

The conservative party manifesto refers not only to the environment but also to the bill:

Stewards of our environment
Our Environment Bill will guarantee
that we will protect and restore our
natural environment after leaving
the EU. Because conservation has
always been at the very heart of
We will set up a new independent
Office For Environmental Protection
and introduce our own legal targets,
including for air quality.
We will invest in nature, helping us
to reach our Net Zero target with a
£640 million new Nature for Climate
fund. Building on our support for
creating a Great Northumberland
Forest, we will reach an additional
75,000 acres of trees a year by the
end of the next Parliament, as well as
restoring our peatland.
We welcome the Glover Review
and will create new National Parks
and Areas of Outstanding Natural
Beauty, as well as making our most
loved landscapes greener, happier,
healthier and open to all. We will
make the coast to coast path
across the most beautiful areas of
the North a National Trail.
We will continue to lead the world
in tackling plastics pollution, both
in the UK and internationally, and
will introduce a new levy to increase
the proportion of recyclable plastics
in packaging. We will introduce
extended producer responsibility,
so that producers pay the full
costs of dealing with the waste
they produce, and boost domestic
recycling. We will ban the export
of plastic waste to non-OECD
countries, consulting with industry,
NGOs and local councils on the
date by which this should be
We will crack down on the waste
and carelessness that destroys
our natural environment and
kills marine life. We will increase
penalties for fly-tipping, make
those on community sentences
clean up their parks and streets,
and introduce a deposit return
scheme to incentivise people to
recycle plastic and glass.

Much of the concerns raised in this campaign are covered by the strong environmental commitments made by the government and I will always welcome feedback from constituents on this vital area and hopefully look forward to meeting many of you on our next beach clean.