HAVING campaigned on environmental issues for most of my life, I am pleased that so many others are making this a top priority.

We’ve seen action on the streets of Taunton and London highlighting the urgency of tackling climate change.As your MP, I am much involved in this agenda in Westminster and I am proud to have been named greenest new MP by the Climate Coalition.”

I firmly believe that our sustainability needs to be at the heart of policy making and I am pushing for this across Government departments. However, whilst there is much more to be done, I wanted to highlight how much is already underway:

The UK has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent since 2010, faster than any other G20 country; we are the first country to commit to phasing out coal power by 2025; fossil fuel heating is being phased out of new homes by 2025; new housing will have to engage the ‘net environmental gain principle’ in future to deliver environmental improvements; £52bn has been invested in renewable energy since 2010 and 400,000 people are now working in low C businesses (many locally). A third of electricity last year was generated from renewables; and the Government’s International Climate Fund has provided £5.8bn to help the world’s poorest adapt to climate change.

I am supporting calls to the Prime Minister to set a before-2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. The Paris Climate change talks in 2016 concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to push for net zero but with the introduction of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy and new technologies bringing down costs, I am optimistic that the Committee on Climate Change, whom I have met with in my role as co-chair of the All Party Group on Climate Change, will report back on May 2 that it could be possible to achieve net zero sooner than planned for no more cost.

Increasing biodiversity (the range of plant, animal and insect life on the planet) is as important as the climate change agenda and I am committed to prioritising both, not just here through local initiatives and the Garden Town but also nationally.


MP for Taunton Deane