There is often much said about the importance of addressing environmental issues and protecting our planet. What is more pressing are the actions being taken in Crawley and in Westminster over recent months which will go to improve this situation and lead to further progress in the future.
On a national and international level we are seeing Government leading the way, with UK leadership at the COP26 summit last November seeing almost 200 countries agree the Glasgow Climate Pact to ‘keep 1.5C alive’ which provides a roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, with Britain securing historic commitments from countries to act on coal, cars, cash and trees.
Indeed, 90 per cent of the global economy is now committed to net zero; up from just 30 per cent when the UK took on the COP presidency in 2019.
The UK has cut carbon emissions by 44 per cent between 1990 and 2019, while growing our economy by more than 75 per cent; the fastest rate in the G7.
At home, the landmark Environment Act is now law. This legislation will clean up our air, restore natural habitats, increase biodiversity, reduce waste and make better use of our resources.
The Act will also halt the decline in species by 2030, working to reverse declines of iconic British species like the hedgehog, red squirrel and water vole. Additionally, it will also require new developments to improve or create habitats for nature, and help tackle illegal deforestation overseas.
Further requirements of the legislation will ensure that all waste collection authorities in England will need to make arrangements for a core set of materials to be collected for recycling from households. This core set includes paper and card, plastic, glass, metal, food waste and garden waste. The Environment Act also requires that businesses and non-domestic premises in England must make arrangements to recycle a similar set of recyclable materials.
The Environment Act provides the tools and the momentum needed to put nature on the road to recovery during this decade, resulting in greater and better-connected areas of natural habitats.
Of course, work to protect our planet cannot be done by central government alone. Local authorities are taking action to hit net zero emissions with West Sussex County Council pledging to do so by 2030.
I welcome further action from Crawley Borough Council in this area following the Council last month adopting the Conservative Group’s motion ‘to reduce emissions by at least 50 per cent, and as close to net zero as possible by 2030, and to reach net zero by 2040 at the very latest.’
Henry Smith MP