Thank you for contacting me about a green and fair recovery to the Covid-19 outbreak.
These have been very difficult times for the country and while it is paramount to protect jobs and the economy, I appreciate that questions are also being asked about the way the country does business in the future.
I agree that as we recover from Covid-19, the Government needs to deliver an economy which is stronger, greener, more sustainable and more resilient. By doing this, we will protect jobs and add many more employment opportunities. I was therefore pleased that, on 8 June, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced a Green Recovery working group, one of five new ‘recovery roundtables’ bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics, to unleash Britain’s growth potential and help the economy recover from the pandemic. This group will explore how to capture the economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero emissions.
And as the economy recovers, we must seek opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change. The UK has played a world-leading role in tackling climate change and the transition to Clean Growth, with the UK being the first country to legislate to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050, and the fastest in the G20 to cut emissions. Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds, and we are a world-leader in offshore wind.
At the same time, the Environment Bill is being introduced to protect and improve the environment for future generations, enshrining in law environmental principles and legally-binding targets, and the first progress report of the Government’s ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan found that 90 per cent of the priority actions have been delivered or are on track for delivery.
The evidence from the last economic crisis shows that green investments returned the most economic benefits. As we rebuild from this crisis, we should build back better, in a way that boosts our economy whilst delivering our commitment to leave our environment in a better state for future generations.
I will be calling on the Government to build on its recent investment into cycling and walking infrastructure. During lockdown, many people have rediscovered cycling and walking as part of their daily exercise. To maintain the cleaner air we’ve all been breathing, we need walking and cycling to be a natural first choice for suitable journeys. New infrastructure and better cycling education will make these options easier and safer.
The Government should also accelerate the growth of the electric vehicle market, with new incentives for people to junk their petrol or diesel cars and switch to electric. We must also ensure we have a comprehensive network of charge points, as we committed to delivering in our manifesto last year. Finally, the Government should work with private-sector partners to build a battery manufacturing plant here in Britain, to make our supply chains more resilient and help level up by creating employment opportunities across the country.
All of these issues I will continue to push as your Member of Parliament and thank you again for taking the time to contact me and stay safe.