I am a serious advocator of increased public transport across the Moorlands. Not only does this improve people’s accessibility to places, but it also take traffic off the road and reduces emissions. This is why I support the consultation on reopening the Leek-Stoke railway line, as well as efforts to increase bus provision across Staffordshire Moorlands.
On Friday 14 July I held a Climate Roundtable to provide an update on what is being done in Parliament and by local councils and organisations to achieve Net Zero and address climate change. It was good to hear a variety of perspectives at event and I was particularly pleased to have my colleague Mark Pawsey MP on the panel, as he is a member of Parliament's Energy Security and Net Zero Committee.
We also heard from representatives from both Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Staffordshire County Council and the discussion that followed allowed the many local organisations to share their views on what progress was being made and what more could be done.
The Canal and River Trust do great work to maintain the waterways and the canals are a really important asset in the Moorlands and across the country. I have always been a supporter of the Canal & River Trust and the work that they do to preserve our canals in the Moorlands. In April I met the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust to talk about the opportunities for improved use of our waterways and the challenges that they face.
I have conveyed the concerns that many constituents had regarding funding for the Canal & River Trust to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
We are so lucky to have the Peak District National Park on our doorstep. It is such a pristine natural environment and the beautiful landscapes bring so many tourists to the area every year. I was therefore delighted at the news in March that news that £440,000 was being invested in the National Park.
The extra investment will support services for visitors, including education and visitor centres, ranger services, new trails, residential programmes, and provide more opportunities for people to enjoy National Parks. Furthermore, The Government has also confirmed that the Farming in Protected Landscapes (FIPL) scheme has been extended until March 2025 to continue supporting custodianship of our world-renowned natural heritage.
In March I was also pleased to hear the announcement by Ofwat that rules on water company dividends will be tightened. For too long water companies have not faced full and proper penalties for the environmental damage caused by poor performance, so I am glad that the powers given to the water regulator through the Environment Act 2021 will stop excessive cash pay-outs and make sure companies put customers first and are held accountable to their environmental record.
In February, I welcomed the launch of the Government's £200 million fund to improve walking and cycling routes. Walking and cycling in the Staffordshire Moorlands has so many benefits but too often people are put off because it’s not convenient or they feel unsafe, so I welcome that this funding will improve walking and cycling routes. Not only will this encourage active travel, but also has the potential to reduce emissions from cars and will allow people to enjoy travelling through nature.
I was pleased that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attended the COP27 summit in Egypt, reaffirming the UK’s commitment to achieving Net Zero and supporting the other countries to do the same. I am also pleased that the Government has upheld the manifesto commitment to keep fracking banned. I have always been opposed to fracking and I voiced my concerns directly to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy when the policy was being discussed.
After concerns that the Leek show would be discontinued, I was delighted to be able to attend it in July. It was a fantastic day and was good to see so many people out and about at the Show, visiting the exhibits, the livestock and the animals and enjoying this very special day.
The Leek Show is a cultural highlight of my year and I will always work to preserve rural traditions in the Moorlands.
The Climate Emergency we face demands fast and tangible action. The Government’s commitment to reach net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 is an important part of that action and it’s supported by the public.
As tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges that we face today, it is really important that customers know what businesses are doing to ensure their supply chains are as green as possible.
That is why presented my ‘Company Transparency (Carbon in Supply Chains) Bill’ to the Chamber in November, which would provide transparency to the public about what companies are doing to tackle carbon emissions in their supply chains.
This Bill would help inform consumers make their own choices about their purchases but by driving business behaviour the law will make the market incentivise companies to do more to reduce their carbon emissions.
In October 2021 I was pleased to attend the COP26 Conference in Glasgow and take part in an event highlighting the importance of legislatures worldwide in the scrutiny and delivery of national climate commitments and wider climate and nature policy. Constituents regularly contact me sharing their concerns about the planet and our impact on it, so I was glad to be able to discuss how governments can lead and support their populations on the journey to net zero.