SOMERSET MPs have responded to a national newspaper survey which gave them a poor rating on environmental issues.

The Guardian ranked MPs on their votes on a selection of environmental issues.

And county MPs did not rate particularly highly, with Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane), Marcus Fysh (Yeovil), James Heappey (Wells), David Warburton (Somerset and Frome) receiving a score of 0%.

Liam Fox (North Somerset) and Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) scored 17%, while Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset) was ranked at 36%.

Ms Pow, an environment minister, hit out at the results, pointing to her record on issues such as microbeads and her role as a minister.

READ MORE: Somerset MPs ranked on environmental votes - and it isn't pretty 

“I found the results surprising given my dedicated focus on environmental issues since arriving in Parliament in 2015," she said.

"I am widely considered to be a leading voice on the environment in Parliament and I am delighted this has culminated in my recent elevation to position of Environment Minister.

"In addition I was named the ‘Greenest New MP’ in 2018 by The Climate Coalition - a group of more than 130 organisations like the RSPB, WWF, Women’s Institute and The Woodland Trust, to aid agencies such as Tearfund and Christian Aid.

Somerset County Gazette:

CAMPAIGNS: Rebecca Pow

"I was involved in a wide range of environmental issues in Parliament as a back bencher from the ban on microbeads in cosmetic and care products; achieving better protection for ancient woodlands; getting recognition for healthy soils in the 25 Year Environment Plan and I played a key role in legislating for net-zero emissions - raising this twice in PMQs.

"As a result of this work with stakeholders and other colleagues, the UK is the first major economy in the world to commit to this.

"It is also this Government that is bringing forward the transformative Environment Bill - which will protect and enhance our environment for future generations.

"As someone who has worked on this agenda my whole working life - I am proud to now be leading the passage of this Bill through the House."

As a comparison, Labour MPs scored an average of 86%, with the Conservatives on 17%. The Lib Dems averaged 51%, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru 100%, Change UK 59% and the DUP 62%.

Somerset County Gazette:

PROUD: Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh

In response to the report, Yeovil MP Mr Fysh said: "This is an extraordinary warping of statistics by the Guardian.

"The votes since 2015 were against impractical opposition amendments to Government legislation with the exception of one supporting a third runway at Heathrow."

He also said he was 'proud' of the Conservatives' environmental track record.

"The Government is taking action to end UK’s contribution to global warming by legislating to go Net Zero by 2050," he added.

"This includes phasing out coal power completely by 2025 and the UK has gone record periods without using coal at all throughout 2019 so far."

Renewable energy now generates 37.5% of the UK’s electricity, up from 6.1% in 2010, and greenhouse gases have been reduced by a quarter, Mr Fysh claimed.

He said: "We’ve reduced total greenhouse gases from 600.2 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent by 25 per cent, to 448.5 million tonnes in 2018, and are reducing emissions faster than any other G20 country.

"The campaign against single-use plastics has changed attitudes and 15.6 billion fewer bags have been handed out by the seven main retailers since the introduction of the plastic bag charge in 2015."

The Conservative Party called the ranking system 'complete nonsense', according to the Guardian, while Labour welcomed the study.

The Lib Dems questioned the methodology, saying they would have scored higher if different votes were chosen.