AS announced by the Prime Minister earlier this week, the national restrictions currently in place will end as planned on Wednesday, December 2.

The Government has brought forward a new ‘Winter Plan’ which outlines a return to a tiered system of regional measures.

The updated three tiered system will be put into immediate effect and Ministers believe that these tiers will reduce and keep the R rate below one, allowing areas to move down the tiers, unlike the previous tiers which resulted in a reduced rate of increase, allowing the epidemic to continue to grow.

There is considerable variation between each of the tiers in terms of the level of restrictions and the Government will announce today (November 26), which areas across England are in which tiers.

In addition to continuing to represent the views of constituents in Parliament, I am proud to be leading the Environment Bill through its committee stage in my capacity as Environment Minister.

This landmark legislation will transform the way we protect and restore our natural environment setting us on a much-needed sustainable path for the future. I know this agenda is important to many people locally.

This week I was proud to introduce the ground-breaking amendment to the Bill for due diligence, making us the first country in the world to tackle illegal deforestation by setting a framework of requirements for business.

It will make it illegal for UK businesses to use key commodities (palm oil, soya, cocoa for example), if they have not been produced in line with local laws protecting forests and other natural ecosystems. It will protect forests from being illegally felled and will be an example for the rest of the world to follow.

Finally, and still on an environmental theme, following a court judgement and a letter from Natural England, no planning permissions are being granted locally unless the impact a potential development might have on phosphate levels has been addressed and mitigated.

Many people have been in touch regarding this issue. I’ve met with the council to discuss this and am following up with a meeting with Natural England later this week.


MP for Taunton Deane