Somerset is one of the most beautiful parts of England.

Our countryside has everything – hills, moors, seaside and rolling fields.

Protecting our natural environment is our duty to future generations.

We should be proud to have some of the best recycling rates in England, but we all know that more needs to be done.

I opened the large recycling centre at Priorswood and I frequently use it myself.

I have also campaigned strongly for doorstep plastic and cardboard recycling collections and I am pleased that this service will be extended to more homes across Taunton Deane in April.

And while we need to meet the real demand for affordable housing in Taunton Deane, additional development must be in the right places and not be allowed to damage the attractive character of our area.

I do not want to see our Somerset countryside covered in concrete in order to meet a national target imposed on us from London.

I support sensible development in areas like Firepool, but excessive new building will ruin our countryside and put an impossible pressure on local amenities.

I am also an enthusiast for local Somerset produce, including the excellent beers that are brewed in Taunton Deane.

I will continue to speak up for local farmers and producers, as well as our Somerset pubs, which are part of our community, but are struggling with the recession and higher taxes.