As you may know, I have always prided myself on being Conservative Member of Parliament with a very prominent agricultural and green streak running through my work. It is become increasingly evident that the environment and natural world we live in is beginning to dictate more and more of our policy decisions. Never has the environment, as well as man made threats to it, been higher on the public, Government and global agenda and I am delighted to see more and more joined up thinking on this matter.
One way in which I am trying to help the environment is through measures that will reduce the amount of plastic we use every day. Below, you will be able to see any recent work I have been doing relating to plastics.
Plastic Free Parliament
I campaigned for Parliament to go plastic free including giving up single use plastics for lent. Resultantly, I was pleased to welcome the announcement that over the next 12 months, Parliament would be introducing measures to dramatically reduce the amount of single use plastics including things such as the end to the sale of water in plastic bottles.
Ban on Microbeads
You can look at my work on microbeads here
At this year’s Conservative Party Conference, I had the pleasure of meeting a group of people from Maidenhead who had set up a scheme named ‘Maidenhead Matters’. This scheme focused specifically on the environment and grassroots actions that could be done to help save the planet.
Their big focus is plastics for which they participate in the Refill programme (a programme by which restaurants and cafes sign up to say that they will refill someone’s reusable water free of charge) and host regular litter picking events.
I am hoping to replicate this scheme within Taunton Deane and have been in contact with Refill, Somerset Waste Partnership and local environmental groups to discuss what can be done.
If you would like to get involved or have any ideas about further ways I could get involved in this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.
You can visit the Maidenhead Matters page here.
Plastic Soup with Women’s Institute
In July, I held an ‘End Plastic Soup’ drop-in session in conjunction with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. 30 MPs from multiple parties attended and this event gave people the chance to learn about the NFWI’s campaign to end microfibre pollution. MPs were also encouraged to sign an early day motion (EDM, a formal motion submitted for debate in the House of Commons which allow MPs to draw attention to an event or cause) based on the Environmental Audit Committee’s recommendations on microplastics.
More recently, I sponsored a roundtable discussion on the microfibre issue. This was an opportunity for those from the fashion, water and washing machine industries to come together with those researchers, politicians and NGOs to identify where there were gaps in knowledge and what could be done to address these.
Recently, I have held meetings in conjunction with the Women’s Institute regarding ending plastic soup. This issue discusses microfibers and the need to find a solution to so many being lost in the wash and polluting our oceans. For example, more than 30% of washed items in a study carried out by the WI contained synthetic fibres. This is an ongoing campaign that I intend to partake in.
Read more about the campaign here.