As a world leader in environmental protections, it is important that the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) will be held in Great Britain.
The UK Government are right to have made a legal commitment to achieve net zero emissions and to call on other nations around the world to move towards this target.
Earlier this month in Parliament I received assurances from the Foreign Office over the importance of UK diplomatic efforts focusing on a successful summit.
The UK continues to lead by example in this area. The landmark Environment Bill has been introduced to the new session of Parliament, and the need to leave our planet in a better condition for future generations is at the heart of the Government’s priorities.
The creation of an Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will see politicians held accountable for tackling climate change. Legally binding targets will be introduced and the new OEP will scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take decisive action when needed.
The Environment Bill will enable local authorities to tackle emissions from burning coal and wood, while also restoring and enhancing nature by introducing mandatory biodiversity protections into the planning system.
Through Government policy, as well as the action we take in our own homes to recycle or use the car less frequently, not to mention the litter picks throughout Crawley which are led by members of the community, we are seeing real action being taken to protect the planet.
There is of course a role for local authorities, and I continue to call on Crawley Borough Council to do more on issues such as tackling the strewn rubbish around our town.
Action taken already on a national level has seen results. The 5 pence single use carrier bag charge introduced in 2015 has reduced sales of single use bags in big supermarkets by 90 per cent.
Over the last decade £3.5 billion has been invested into cleaner air, and emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by over a quarter. However, on this and many other areas, there is more to do.
Henry Smith MP