I have been contacted by many of my constituents over concerns regarding my support for the protection of our environment and subsequent wildlife.
Biodiversity loss is a global problem that needs a global solution. I welcomed the decisions made by 200 countries to agree a new deal at COP15, the UN biodiversity summit held in Canada, to protect nature. The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) includes a commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to protect 30 per cent of land and oceans by 2030. The GBF also commits to ending human-induced extinctions of known threatened species.
The UK played a leading role in the negotiations, building on the UK’s COP and G7 presidencies, including the Leaders' Pledge for Nature. This commits world leaders to taking action to drive sustainable food production, end the illegal wildlife trade and tackle climate change. At the recent meeting of Climate and Environment Ministers of the G7, members committed to the swift implementation of the GBF, as well as international climate finance to nature-based solutions.
Domestically, the Environment Act 2021 sets a legally binding target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. Biodiversity net gain and a strengthened biodiversity duty on public authorities will create and restore rich habitats that enable wildlife to recover and thrive, while conservation covenants will secure habitat for the long-term.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive is a scheme whereby farmers will be paid to manage hedgerows for wildlife, plant nectar-rich wildflowers and control crop pests without the use of insecticides. These incentives will make food production more resilient and efficient over time while contributing towards the UK’s environmental goals on carbon, biodiversity, water quality and net zero.
Further, Countryside Stewardship Plus will reward farmers for taking coordinated action, working with neighbouring farms and landowners to support climate and nature aims. It will deliver environmental ambitions including managing floodplain meadows to reduce flood risk and improve biodiversity, restoring and maintaining peatland for carbon capture and storage, and enhancing and managing woodland to mitigate against drought.
In Southend, I have been consistently campaigning for improved environmental protection plans. I have been in constant communication with Anglian Water to ask them for an action plan. Also, I have supported powers which will enable Ofwat to clamp down on excessive cash pay-outs and make sure companies put customers first. This will apply when a company is not meeting expectations on performance or is facing questions over its financial resilience to ensure financial accountability to companies or individuals who disobey the law.