Article on the environment published in local magazines

I receive many emails from constituents regarding their concerns about climate change which is one of the profound global challenges facing us all. We need to try to combat this crisis for the next generation and I often get letters and pictures from local children expressing concern for their future. 

I am personally trying to do ‘my bit’ for the environment including avoiding single-use plastics although this is extremely hard to do as most things you buy, either in the shop or online, have some kind of plastic wrapper. I drive a hybrid car, recycle whenever I can and my husband and I live in an  eco-house which has its own bore hole and is heated by renewable energy. I also established a Derwent Valley Cycleway group which is trying to incorporate a cycle path along the A6 from Derby centre to Cromford and beyond to encourage more people to cycle and reduce traffic congestion.

The climate emergency is not just an issue for our country but a global problem and in my capacity as a member of the International Development Select Committee, we are working with developing countries to see how this can be tackled.  Without urgent action to cut demand for plastic products and packaging, we estimate that 34 billion tonnes of plastic will have been made around the world by 2050.

The good news is that between the years 1990 and 2017, the UK reduced its emissions by 42% but we still need to do more, and the Government has set a legally binding target to achieve net zero emissions by 2045. The target makes us the first major economy in the world to legislate for a net zero target. It’s very pleasing to note that 15.6 billion fewer bags have been handed out to shoppers by the seven main shops since the introduction of the plastic bag charge in 2015.

The Government has committed to a new 25 Year Plan to improve the environment, which aims to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. We have already banned microbeads and are now looking at other plastic products with suitable alternatives. Next year, a ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds will be enforced, with exemptions for those with medical needs or a disability.

There is still a lot more to be done and it is vital that we are all committed to leaving the environment in a better state than we found it. Everyone can do their bit for the environment even if it’s just something simple such as walking to school or work, using reusable drinking bottles and recycling.

Finally, if you ever you need my assistance in my role as an MP with an issue that you have not been able to resolve yourself, please email pauline.latham.mp@parliament.uk or call 01332 676679.