The Environment Bill
I believe that we have a duty to keep our environment intact for the next generation. In 2018 the government published a 25 Year Environment Plan. The plan aims to protect the environment by creating richer habitats for wildlife, improving air and water quality and curbing the scourge of plastic in the world’s oceans.
The plan also pledges to:
- Provide international leadership and leading by example
- Consult on setting up a new independent body to hold government to account and a new set of environmental principles to underpin policy-making
Refresh the 25 Year Environment Plan regularly to ensure that collectively we are focusing on the right priorities
In May 2019 the government published the first progress report of its landmark Environment Plan indicating that, in the first year alone, 90% of the plan’s actions have been delivered or are being progressed. As announced by the Prime Minister in 2018, the government is currently preparing the first Environment Bill for 20 years which will place the 25 Year Environment Plan on statutory footing and put environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government.
I am in favour of fracking in principle and believe we should explore its potential as part of the UKs diverse energy supply.
Fracking and planning permission
The Government is firmly committed to ensuring that local communities are fully involved in planning decisions that affect them. Planning applications for shale development proposals require consultation with local communities, ensuring that planning concerns about potential impacts raised by local people are taken into account in the determination of such applications.
I have received a number of campaign emails on the subject "Please keep earthquake regulations rock solid".
The Government takes the safety of the public and environmental protection very seriously and is confident that we have a robust regulatory framework in place. The UK has world-class regulation to ensure that shale gas exploration can happen safely, respecting local communities and safeguarding the environment. The campaign above asks for the traffic light system in place to be reviewed. The Government has stated:
The Traffic Light System for monitoring induced seismicity was introduced after consideration of advice from three scientists, following operations at Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall site in 2011. The level of magnitude 0.5 at which operators must pause operations, was set in consultation with industry as an appropriate precautionary measure. There are no plans to review the traffic light system.
Children's Health and Air Pollution
It is important that our children are breathing clean air, free of pollution. The government’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities; funding projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions affecting schools, businesses and residents. Local authorities have a duty to monitor and assess air quality and to take action to reduce pollution where these breach statutory limits, and are best placed to determine local priorities.
While all measures which reduce air pollution will reduce exposure of children to these harmful pollutants, some projects have elements that are specifically targeted at children. Details of further funding from the Air Quality Grant Programme, including funding specifically directed at children can be found on the Air Quality Grant Programme webpage: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/air-quality-grant-programme.
The Government has committed £3.5 billion overall to deliver actions across all sectors and achieve cleaner air for people of all ages, including all vulnerable groups such as young children. The Environment Bill will also include strong commitments to improve the air we all breathe.