As a committed environmentalist, vegetarian of over 35 years, and a longstanding member of the Environmental Audit Committee, protecting our planet is a priority for me. Whilst I understand the desire for immediate and effective change, and that we must do more to tackle climate change, it is my belief that we can only do this with practical policies that expand the economy and create green jobs.
I would like to think that my record on speaking up on environmental matters speaks for itself. Part of my role as an MP includes being able to ask direct questions to the Government for answer and scrutinise their environmental policy. A few recent examples include questions on meat consumption, sewage pollution, biodiversity, environmental crime and recycling. You can find all of my written questions and answers on the Parliament website - www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-state…
Aside from my work in parliament, I am a keen scuba diver and sailor, so I take a great interest ocean protection and conservation. Our waters are a precious natural resource and they must be managed carefully. I was pleased to be part of the committee that created some of the UK’s first Marine Conservation Zones. Ministers have now set up a ‘Blue Belt’ of Marine Protected Areas extending across 38 per cent of UK waters, and the Fisheries Act includes new powers to better manage and control these Areas. Further, under UK leadership, 80 countries have now signed up to an international target to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030.
On a broader note, I am proud that the UK was the first G7 country to legislate to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
That said, I am clear that we cannot just rely on the Government, and we are seeing brilliant advancements in green technology in the private sector with financial support from the Government.
With the COP26 Conference coming up this year, I am positive that the UK will continue to be at the forefront of the climate change agenda.