MP visits Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve
Last week thousands of people came to Westminster to join ‘The Time Is Now’ lobby. Organised by the Climate Coalition and Greener UK, a coalition of over 130 groups, the campaigners were calling for a strong Environment Bill that can restore nature, and measures to cut plastic pollution and improve air quality.
I was delighted to meet constituents representing a number of local environmental organisations including Sussex Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, the Arundel Wetlands & Wildfowl Centre, and members of Hassocks Womens’ Institute.
We had a good discussion on green policies, and I was really pleased to be able to report that Parliament had just passed a law which commits the UK to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, making us the first major economy in the world to do so.
One constituent wanted us to plant more trees, and I agree. The Government has committed to plant 11 million trees by the end of this Parliament, on top of a further 1 million urban trees.
The Government’s ’25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’ has a broad range of ambitious measures, including working to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste.
A new Environment Bill will ensure that high standards will continue to be enforced once we have left the EU. There will be a new independent Office for Environmental Protection, and measures to promote air quality, nature recovery, waste and resource efficiency, and water resource management.
As I said to my constituents, I have a longstanding interest in conservation, and this is strengthened by the amazing constituency which I represent.
I am proud to be ‘Species Champion’ for the Lapwing, which is on the ‘red list’ of endangered species, and recently enjoyed an inspirational visit to the RSPB’s Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve.
The South Downs has an important population of the ground-nesting wading birds. The RSPB works in partnership with farmers in the Arun Valley to improve the habitat for lapwings which have declined significantly nationally.
We watched adult lapwings and then saw a chick being caught and tagged. The visit was a powerful reminder to me of the value of our precious nature, landscape and wildlife, and how we must continue to conserve it.
I will continue to champion these issues, and I look forward to maintaining a really constructive dialogue with Sussex environmental organisations in the important years ahead.