While the COVID-19 crisis has rightly occupied our focus for the past 6 months, the climate emergency has not gone away.
This is no longer a crisis of tomorrow, but is taking place right here, right now. Record temperatures, wildfires, landslides and flash floods are just a taste of what is to come.
It would seem that the Government does not comprehend the seriousness of the situation we are facing. COP26 been put back a year, and what is contained in the Environment Bill simply will not do. The Bill fails to achieve what has been promised: gold standard legislation, showing global leadership for responding to the environmental crisis, and a world-leading watchdog. I certainly do not think this Government is going anywhere near far enough to achieve net zero by 2050
This is why I support the aims of Caroline Lucas’ Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. While the Bill is a Presentation Bill (one that does not involve a debate or a vote in parliament, but is a way of drawing attention to an issue that requires a change in the law) the message it sends is absolutely critical in the absence of proper climate leadership from the Prime Minister.
Climate change and improving our environment is one of my top priorities as the MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields. I spoke in the Environment Bill debate earlier this year and raised my concerns with it, and have spoken at length about issues such as air pollution – which as you know is a major concern in Putney, particularly on the high street. I am also a member of the APPG on Sustainable Resources which is doing some very interesting work.
We must have a plan. Whilst I wish the COVID-19 crisis had never happened, I believe it presents us with a golden opportunity to make far-reaching, permanent changes. One particular area I have been focusing on is pushing for a modal shift towards cycling and walking. I recently held a meeting with local cyclists and concerned stakeholder sand we produced a series of recommendations.
I have also set up the Putney Environment Commission which has met twice this year. In light of the current crisis, I believe the work of this commission has taken on even greater importance. Please contact my office if you want to join.