MP's Column

I’m more likely to nappies discuss at home than during the course of my day job but I was glad to meet Oona Burch on Friday promoting her Cornish Real Nappy Library. She has identified a problem and her solution is to show mums and dads what is available on the market for those who are uncomfortable using disposable nappies. Most parents have enough on their plates and don’t know where to look to find a good alternative to modern-day disposable nappies. Oona has set up the Cornish Real Nappy Library (without a big safety pin in sight) providing kits for parents to see what kind of reusable nappy they might like to buy. The good news, according to Money Advice Service, is the average overall saving for families is £1,475 including laundry costs compared to the overall costs of own-brand disposable nappies. Find out more about The Cornish Real Nappy Library on Facebook. There is also a Private Members Bill launched by David Linden MP, which aims to improve the environmental standards of disposable nappies and cut costs for young families through the promotion of reusable nappy schemes which I’m glad to support.

On Tuesday the Environment Audit Select Committee (of which I’m a member) took evidence from the Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, the Rt Hon Lord Deben. Coverage of his comments describing the Government’s approach to adapting to the effects of climate change as ‘ramshackle’ is widespread. Lord Deben expanded his comments saying that successive governments had failed to effectively capture fresh water for irrigation before it reaches the sea and failed to retro fit and adapt homes to improve costs and health outcomes for residents. He also criticised the Government for not introducing legislation to force builders to make new homes passive (next to no heating or ventilation required). This is a subject I’ve consistently pressed for and I maintain that a significant investment of Government funds to increase the efficiency of our homes will lead to new skills, higher paid jobs and better education and health outcomes. It is a theme I will continue to argue with the new Chancellor.

My 14th suggestion to Cornwall Council, as the Carbon-Free by 2030 plan evolves, is that an ask of Government should include devolution powers explicit to protecting and enhancing our natural environment. The Council deserves powers to set our own destiny in this area. Powers such as introducing a complete ban, for example, of single-use plastic bags. We will all quickly adapt and Cornwall and our oceans will be better for it. Rwanda has done this (and I’ll be pushing Government to accelerate the legislation required to ban single-use plastic nationwide). In the meantime, Cornwall can be a leader and, if Cornwall Council has powers along these lines, we are in a position to move more quickly than Central Government in lots of areas in support of our natural environment.

We now know Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minister. I will work with him to ensure West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is effectively represented in Parliament.