I HOLD a regular 'Environment Forum' with green groups from Taunton Deane.

A wide range of organisations attend, such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

These meetings provide me with an ideal opportunity to discuss big environmental issues and focus on specific political actions which could make a difference.

Environmental degradation is an incremental process, and it can be hard to interest the wider public in the urgent need to tackle pollution and climate change, but the cost of such indifference will be severe, so politicians have a duty to act responsibly.

Major issues discussed at the 'Environment Forum' last week included house building and global sustainability.

The scale of housing development in Taunton Deane must not be so vast that it swamps the infrastructure of the area, and 20,000 extra properties are too many.

I would also like the new buildings to have solar panels and nearby shops.

In global terms, we need to help the fast developing countries to grow their economies in an environmentally sustainable way.

Somerset has the best recycling level in England, and doorstep plastic and cardboard collections are another step in the right direction.

The environment may not always be in the political spotlight, but it is still of profound importance for every person on the planet.