A number of constituents have recently contacted me regarding climate change. I believe we should be good stewards of this earth and have been involved in this issue for many years. Indeed, I was one of the first MPs to sign up to the net zero carbon pledge, and also endeavour to keep a plastic free office.
More recently, shortly before lockdown, I attended the first meeting of Plastic Free Congleton. I then raised this meeting in Parliament and asked what further the UK Government is doing to stop plastic pollution in developing countries. You may be interested to read further about the exchange below:
Fiona Bruce MP said:
"Many of my constituents are concerned about plastic pollution, and I recently attended the launch of Plastic-Free Congleton. What are the UK Government doing to reduce, and indeed stop, plastic pollution in developing countries?"
Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for International Development, said:
"My hon. Friend is a true champion on humanitarian and environmental matters. I made reference in a previous answer to what we are doing about plastics, but I can also inform her that the UK Government have pledged £70 million to directly tackle this issue in developing countries, through the provision of technical assistance and testing practical approaches to increase plastic recycling rates."
More broadly, the UK was the first G7 country to legislate to achieve net zero by 2050, and we are decarbonising faster than any G20 country. Similarly, this country has set ambitious climate targets in law, such as a commitment to reduce emissions by 68 per cent by 2030, and also to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, both compared to 1990 levels.
Indeed, the UK accounts for approximately 1.2 per cent of global emissions and I am told that the Government and COP26 Presidency are working to ensure other countries, particularly other G20 countries which account together for 80 per cent of global emissions, to urgently submit new or updated 2030 targets (Nationally Determined Contributions) with their plans for ambitious climate action ahead of the COP26 summit later this year in Glasgow.
I am also aware that the Prime Minister established the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change to ensure all arms of Government are focussed on tackling this challenge.
The 2021 Budget reinforced the UK’s track record in this area, with announcements including £640 million for tree planting and peatland restoration, over £1 billion to support the transition to electric vehicles, at least doubling funding for energy innovation, and tax measures to reduce plastic waste, among other measures. The Chancellor also announced £15 billion of green gilt issuance to support projects to tackle climate change, to fund infrastructure investment, and create green jobs across the UK.
The Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan lays the blueprint for how the UK will achieve net zero. The plan will mobilise £12 billion of Government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030. Included in the plan is £160 million investment into offshore wind which will create 60,000 jobs, a commitment to produce enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much the UK produces to 40GW by 2030.
At the same time, the Environment Bill has been introduced, which enshrines in law environmental principles and legally binding targets.
I can assure constituents that Minister Alok Sharma MP is fully appraised of the detailed environmental concerns which are being brought to my attention - and indeed he is working tirelessly to address them.
Fiona Bruce MP