Let me start by congratulating all councillors who were elected at last week’s local elections, and I look forward to working constructively with the new administration to ensure that we deliver for Taunton Deane and Somerset as a whole. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all those who I know were deeply disappointed not to be elected for your tireless work and campaigning over many months. It takes courage and commitment to step forward to get involved in public life and your efforts should not be taken lightly.
Earlier this week I was pleased to be in Parliament for the Queen’s Speech which set out 38 new bills to help boost economic growth, help ease the cost of living and clear the Covid backlogs. It also sets out how we will encourage agricultural and scientific innovation with legislation being brought forward to unlock the potential of new technologies to promote sustainable and efficient farming and food production.
Six months ago, we passed our Environment Act, which I was pleased to lead through Parliament as Environment Minister. It was a turning point, and an example for the rest of the world to follow, setting us on a sustainable trajectory for the future. Now, we are getting on with the job and delivering on what we legislated to do. Through the Environment Act, we are cleaning up our air, restoring natural habitats, increasing biodiversity, reducing waste and making better use of our resources. For me personally, and I know many of my constituents, water quality is a huge priority. Through the Environment Act, we are revolutionising how we crack down on water companies that discharge sewage into our precious waterways with a huge change in ambition. Much work is underway right now.
Locally, I was pleased to meet recently with Citizens Somerset, discussing how to get more people involved in positive projects for the local area, from tackling homelessness to street safety as well as my campaign for a cycle way between Wellington and Taunton. Also my office team and I continue to work with the many constituents keen to host Ukrainian refugees, please do get in touch if you need to.