As a parent, I want to ensure that the world which we pass on to the next generation is greener and more sustainable. Since becoming the Member of Parliament, I have been contacted by many constituents who feel the same way. They are worried about the state of our natural environment and the impact that it will have on future generations if left unaddressed. There are many practical steps that we all can take on this very important subject. We can buy products that can be recycled and use bags for life when we go shopping. We can show our appreciation for the great outdoors by cycling and walking more, leaving our cars at home. Each small step that we take can help to make a massive positive difference.
A third of respondents to my Community Conversations survey told me that protecting our natural environment was the most important issue for them and their families. I made delivering on this one of my top priorities. I am delighted we have already achieved a great number of successes. Wolverhampton has secured over £1 million to level up the city’s active travel options such as walking and cycling.
While recognising the need to build more homes, I have joined campaigners in voicing concerns about the need to protect our precious green-belt in and around the City of Wolverhampton, such as Lower Penn. I have gained the support of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in opposition to plans to build houses on the Seven Cornfields. I have also made clear how important it is to adequately conserve - and even enhance - local nature habitats, such as the Wolverhampton Environment Centre. I was an early supporter of Philip Dunne’s Bill to clean up our rivers and waterways. The Government has committed to adopting key parts of the proposal through its plan to place new legal duties on water companies and government to reduce sewage discharged into waterways. It will help to restore the quality of Smestow and Graiseley Brook.
I am asking the City of Wolverhampton Council to build a nature trail in land off Gorsebrook Road, the site it has designated for a £1 million transit site which I do not think is needed given the extra powers local authorities will be given under new legislation. For a constituency in which 87% of land consists of built-up areas, a nature trail would be a fantastic addition to our community and a way of engaging schools and community groups with this, one of the most important issues of our age. I recently ran a poll on my Facebook page to see whether there is any support for this idea. I am delighted that, out of more than 400 people who took part in this poll, over 90% said that they would prefer to see a nature trail.
I now want to go even further. I have invited constituents to share their views on the environment and climate change in my new survey. I would like to hear from as many constituents as possible about what more I can do to protect our environment. The survey will help to ensure that I fully represent my constituents in the run-up to the COP26, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November. It will also help me better hold the Government and others to account on our joint ambition to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050. The decisions that are made now will shape what our environment looks like in the future. My survey can be accessed at https://www.stuartanderson.org.uk/form/protecting-our-environment