The appearance of our town

In what seems to be ever-increasing volumes, I’m receiving messages from Crawley residents about the untidiness and shabby appearance of our town.

Of particular concern is the state of our grass verges. This is an issue I’ve been following up on with the Town Hall; people in Crawley rightly expect their local area to be well-kept and looked after.

Sadly, the Borough Council’s political leadership approach is not surprising seeing as while annual litter warnings in Crawley have more than doubled in the last two years, the current administration have not issued a single Fixed Penalty Notice to tackle this problem since they took over in 2014.

This month in Parliament I welcomed proposals for legislation to secure a Green Brexit after this country leaves the European Union. The Environmental Principles & Governance Bill will ensure protections for our environment and create a dedicated organisation to hold government to account for environmental outcomes.

This is in addition to the recent confirmation of plans for a deposit return scheme, which would increase recycling rates and reduce the volumes of waste polluting our land and seas. Over three billion plastic drinks bottles used each year by UK consumers are either incinerated, sent to landfill, or left to pollute our streets, countryside and marine environment.

A comprehensive range of steps has also been announced to drastically reduce consumption of single-use plastics by 2019 in Parliament itself. Measures include switching non-recyclable catering disposable items such as coffee cups, cutlery and straws with compostable alternatives which can be recycled. Parliament will also stop purchasing non-recyclable disposable cups, instead opting for a compostable alternative.

Reusable coffee cups will be sold at competitive prices, and the use of reusable cups will be incentivised. The measures will also see products such as condiment sachets and stationery brought in line with the new arrangements.

Protecting our environment is a task which must be taken seriously by all involved in public life. It’s a cause I will continue to pursue – I wish Crawley Council would join me in this effort.

Henry Smith MP