This week I met (via zoom) with constituents who had contacted me with concerns around climate change and the measures we need to be taking to protect our environment, both locally as part of our national and global commitments.
Locally, our focus has to be on addressing flooding and air pollution. Flooding risks hundreds of homes and businesses each year in Runnymede and Weybridge, and we must continue to push forward with the River Thames Scheme to address this. This will not only protect our communities, but also provide greater community assets and infrastructure including cycle paths and active transport, while having the added benefit of creating local jobs too.
Air pollution is a more complex problem, but we must address the impact of transport, including Heathrow, our motorways and issues of congestion. This is why, while campaigning to support the aviation sector, I am also looking at ways to link Government support to incentives for greener and cleaner aircraft.
On the broader stage, the Government are already consulting on bringing forward the date for a ban on the sale of new diesel, petrol and hybrid cars and vans which will help reduce emissions on our roads. On Friday I spoke with the leader of Surrey CC, Tim Oliver, and discussed how we can boost investment in new footpaths and cycle lanes so people are less reliant on their cars, and the importance of ongoing improvements in public transport and infrastructure locally.
Attendees on the zoom call also raised the need to plan for the future, including consideration of training and resources to move away from fossil fuel heating systems, and ensure that UK overseas investments support our climate change objectives. There is a clear consensus that, in addition to meeting our national and international commitments, we need change that brings direct improvements to our local communities. I am grateful to the constituents who spared the time to discuss these important issues I will continue to work with our communities, colleagues and agencies to drive this forward.