Weekly Column 17.04.19

Many of you have contacted me with your concerns about environmental issues and climate change. Importantly, the Government has committed to leaving the environment in a better state than we found it and the 25 Year Environment Plan sets out a framework to enable this. It includes tackling the scourge of plastic as well as delivering cleaner air and water. 

We have seen many Environmental achievements such as the ban of plastic microbeads in personal care and cosmetic products; a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds and a deposit return scheme for single-use plastics that is underway and subject to consultation. A 5p charge on single-use plastic bags has been introduced and the maximum fine for littering has been doubled to £150. The Government has also secured extra protection for precious Ancient Woodland and veteran trees and is protecting our bees and other pollinators by helping secure an EU-wide ban on neonicotinoids pesticides.  

The Chancellor recently announced a whole range of measures in the recent Spring Statement. Foremost is a new global review to assess the economic value of biodiversity globally so we know what action is needed to take to restore our precious environment. In addition, we will enhance environmental standards through the forthcoming Environment Bill and establish a world-leading, green governance body – the Office for Environmental Protection – to uphold environmental legislation.

Tackling climate change is at the forefront of many people’s minds and this is being taken extremely seriously by the Government. Working with the Climate Change Committee, the Government is taking advice on achieving net zero emissions across the economy.  

I hope you will agree that the Government is demonstrating a genuine commitment to leaving the Environment in a better state than we found it. Please do continue to share your thoughts and ideas with me.