The local Labour party seems to be trying to out green the Greens and neither appear to be able to even acknowledge what the government has done in recent years to ensure that the UK is leading the world in many respects.

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The reality is, we are going to need all political parties, people and businesses pulling together to really tackle Climate Change at pace and Stroud is intuitively an environmentally focused area already. I think it is worth giving residents and the UK credit where credit is due rather than constant criticism. Here are a few points on the work so far and our pledges to achieve for the planet based on science led targets and sensible steps that will bring everybody along.

We are leading the world in the fight against climate change…

• Legislating to end the UK’s contribution to global warming and achieve Net Zero by 2050. We upgraded the existing target of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions in the Climate Change Act to achieve 100 per cent, or Net Zero emissions, by 2050 (Prime Minister’s Office/BEIS, Press Release, 12 June 2019, link).

• Reducing greenhouse gases by a quarter since coming to office in 2010. In 2010, total greenhouse gases were 600 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent. In 2018, this had fallen by 25 per cent to 449 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (BEIS, 2018 UK greenhouse gas emissions: provisional figures – data tables, 28 March 2019, link).

• Helping developing nations tackle the causes of climate change, cementing our position as a world leader in the fight against climate change. We will double the UK’s International Climate Finance to more than £11 billion over five years, which supports poorer countries deal with the causes of climate change like preventing deforestation and reducing carbon emissions (DFID/BEIS/Prime Minister’s Office, Press Release, 23 September 2019, link).

• Leading the world in marine protection. In May 2019, we designated 41 new Marine Conservation Zones – the most significant expansion of England’s ‘Blue Belt’ to date. The UK now has a total of 355 marine protected areas in waters around Great Britain and Northern Ireland. An independent review is currently considering whether stronger protections should be introduced (DEFRA, Press Release, 31 May 2019, link).

We will establish a Nature for Climate Fund to triple tree planting and restore our peatland…

• Establishing a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund, leaving our environment in a better condition for the next generation. The Fund will be used to dramatically increase rates of tree-planting rates in England with more research into the most appropriate species to plant across the country, a scaling up the nursery sector to grow the saplings, new partnerships with landowners, and increased planting rates on sites.

• Planting more trees in urban areas, to help tackle poor air quality and make our towns and cities healthier places to live and raise children. The Fund will include money for urban trees, which help boost air quality and improve the quality of life in our towns and cities.

• Tripling tree planting rates to 30,000 hectares a year across the UK – equivalent to 46,000 football pitches. The Government would accept the independent Climate Change Committee’s recommendation to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares a year and work with Devolved Administrations to achieve this goal. This will deliver new forests across the country, while expanding existing plans like the Northern Forest and Northumberland Forest.

• Restoring precious peatland across the country, helping wildlife to thrive as well as tackling climate change. Restoring peatland will also reduce the risk of wildfires and act as a natural way of capturing carbon out of the atmosphere.

Using the Aid budget, we will establish a new Blue Planet Fund to protect and restore our oceans…

• Establishing a £500 million Blue Planet Fund to protect our oceans and support the people whose livelihoods rely on the seas. The £500 million Fund will, over the next five years, be focused on:

• Strengthening governance to protect marine environments. The new fund will strengthen governance, institutional capability and regulations in developing countries – improving surveillance and enforcement - to ensure protection of our most vital marine ecosystems. By using UK satellite technology to monitor marine environments and ensure that Marine Protected Areas are not subject to illegal fishing.

• Strengthening science, research and innovation to help other countries protect the oceans that are so vital to all of us. We are world leaders in marine science and research integrity. The fund will help us export our expertise and establish new partnerships for research in developing countries. We will measurably improve capacity and access to relevant knowledge in developing countries to protect marine assets and livelihoods.

• Engaging the private sector, experts and local communities to encourage more sustainable fishing. We will work with large companies to demonstrate the viability of sustainable production and ocean-friendly supply chains and target small to medium scale enterprises to drive innovation and empower women-owned businesses. We will support countries in implementing port state measures to prevent landing of illegally caught fish.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“There is nothing more conservative than protecting our environment and these measures sit alongside our world-leading commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“But, just as with our planned investment in schools and hospitals, we can only do any of this if we end the gridlock and deadlock in parliament with a Conservative majority Government.

“That’s why we had no choice but to call this election. And it’s why the choice that people now face as they cast their votes is simple: A Jeremy Corbyn Government that will promise the earth but deliver nothing but more Brexit delay and the chaos of two referendums. Or the Conservatives getting Brexit done, acting responsibly in the national interest and moving the country forward with record investment in our NHS and bold plans for the environment.”

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