As a resident of rural West Sussex, and as an RSPB Species Champion, I have always been a passionate champion of nature, the environment and the countryside. From the top level of Government down to the most local consultations, I am an advocate against unsustainable development in our community which harms the countryside. My support for local rewilding was something I raised in my first ever speech in parliament.
In our Plan for Growth, the Government has set out to ensure that achieving our environmental goals like net zero works in tandem with job creation and providing opportunities for businesses. Last year, we passed the world-leading Environment Act, enshrining environmental protection into law and replacing EU regulations which prioritised intensive farming over the environment. Now, we are rolling out new schemes that will support farmers to both produce high quality food and enhance the natural environment.
Some people in our constituency have understandable concerns about the impact of the recent decision to lift the moratorium on shale extraction. I do not support fracking locally, as our as our transport infrastructure would be unsuitable for the extra traffic volumes, but I am glad that local communities will now be able to pursue these opportunities if they so wish.
This policy is just one part of the Government’s Energy Security Strategy to accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, while supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term – which could see 95 per cent of electricity being low carbon by 2030. In light of Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine, the Government is right to recognise the need for the UK to achieve energy independence to resist the influence of malign actors like Vladimir Putin while working towards net zero.
The stewardship of our environment continues to be one of my top priorities, and I will always be a champion for conservation and biodiversity in West Sussex.