MP's column

The consultation on the England Tree Strategy to inform the Government’s policy for trees, woodland and forestry closes this Friday. Until then you can still take part: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/england-tree-strategy/

The policy will be announced in December and, in my view, must commit to protecting existing woodland, expanding native woodland at scale with UK-sourced and grown saplings and commit councils to binding tree strategies!

I joined the supporters of St Ives leisure Centre on Saturday who gathered to insist that the centre is reopened soon. I shared this view prior to the event and have made contact with GLL (which operates the centre), the Sports Secretary of State and Kate Kennally, CEO of Cornwall Council. All have a responsibility to find a way forward. After meeting some of the very youngest of the supporters through to older members, I am utterly convinced that we must pull out all the stops to get the leisure centre open and soon. The swimming pool has delivered competitive swimmers at national level and scores of local people have been trained at the pool for life-saving at sea. For those less competitive but who enjoy a daily swim and good company this centre is no less valuable. The fight goes on to get it open soon.

I’m privileged to be a member of the CEN (Conservative Environment Network). This is a big group and many of the current Government Ministers have a close association, which has helped to deliver some of the most ambitious legislation and policy priorities in the world when it comes to decarbonising over the next two decades. This week I fully supported a letter from the CEN sent to the printed press regarding the tactics deployed by Extinction Rebellion. I’ve come to know a large number of XR members and they get out of bed each day concerned that we dramatically cut harmful emissions quickly. This I can fully support. In fact an increasing proportion of the UK public agree. However, the concern of CEN is that, given how significant the cause is, those campaigning risk becoming the story as a result of some of their tactics and our collective eye is taken off the task in hand. Behaviour change is needed if we are to effectively cut carbon emissions and this requires the support and commitment of everyone. If the tactics of some members of XR put people off then so much good work to unify people will be lost. As we deliver our 2050 net zero target - enshrined in law by a Conservative government - we must ensure that we bring everyone with us and seize the economic opportunities for all areas of the UK in emerging clean industries and lifestyles.

The coronavirus outbreak provided a stark reminder of the value of British farming and food production. Food security matters and on Wednesday we celebrated Back British Farming and the best way to do this is to buy local and buy British. This is something that more and more of us are doing on the back of lockdown