Let’s ensure government makes environment a priority in future investment

climateTO address the environmental crisis, to keep global warming within 1.5C, to safeguard millions of lives in this and future generations, we need to green investment – improving energy efficiency, replacing fossil fuels with renewables, providing cleaner transport alternatives.

With the economy decimated by coronavirus, the government plans an investment program modelled on Roosevelt’s New Deal, which lifted America from the Great Depression by creating jobs in infrastructure, and by financial reforms.

Our world needs a Green New Deal – creating sustainable jobs, achieving our carbon neutral targets, and supporting the environment on which our lives depend.

This is why I am urging my MP Chris Loder to make sure the government makes the environment a priority in their New Deal investment. I suggest you write to your MP too.

You can find your local MP’s email address on the UK Parliament site or you can use contact your MP via www.theyworkforyou.com , which keeps reports on MPs’ activities, and records if they reply to you or not.

 You might like to highlight the following topics to your MP:

  • Improving energy efficiency of buildings
  • Switching to renewable energy, energy storage schemes and improving the electricity transmission infrastructure
  • Improving the options for walking, cycling and active transport
  • Encouraging the switch to electric vehicles with financial support and improved charging infrastructure
  • Developing a circular economy where products have a long life and are designed for re-use, repair and recycling
  • Developing green spaces for people and wildlife

I’m sure you have ideas of your own. Here’s my letter, which you could use as a starting point:

Dear Chris Loder,

 The coronavirus has hit our economy, affecting households and jobs. New investment offers new opportunities to create a better future for our country and a better world for our children. I strongly urge your government to more widely embrace sustainable development projects, such as:

Improving energy efficiency of homes and businesses by retrofitting existing buildings and ensuring new buildings are built to the highest environmental standards. This would create jobs and save families and businesses money on their fuel bills, and reduce pollution and CO2 emissions.

There has been talk of additional school and hospital buildings. It would be great if these could be done in an energy efficient way – fitted with a high standard of insulation, solar panels to meet their energy needs, and efficient heating (such as heat pumps) that do not require fossil fuels.

Investing in renewable energy and energy storage schemes, and investing in our electricity infrastructure capacity, so that we have the clean energy we need for a sustainable future.

Improving our roads and footpaths so that cycling and walking become safe alternatives to car use. This is especially important in our rural areas where road design has not considered cyclists. Active travel will deliver health benefits as well as environmental improvements, helping people to be more resilient to coronavirus.

Helping families and businesses transition from petrol and diesel cars to electric transport. Although electric cars are cheaper to run, many are unable to access them because of the high up-front cost. Government support is needed to get this industry underway. The NHS reports that air pollution kills 40,000 people in the UK every year. There are indications that it makes people more vulnerable to coronavirus .

Creating a circular economy, where waste is minimised and recycled. Companies should be encouraged to ensure their products are long lasting and repairable. When products reach the end of their life, they should be easy to recycle, so that nothing should be manufactured for land-fill.

Investing in Green Infrastructure, such as planting trees, re-wilding areas, restoring habitats and giving people the natural space they need for health and wellbeing.

Coronavirus has shown us that we need to be led by the science. It’s more important than ever that we listen to climate scientists. Let’s take this opportunity to invest in science and innovation, creating world class jobs, tackling the environmental problems the world is facing, placing us at the forefront of an “Green Industrial Revolution”.   I look forward to the Government taking these ideas forward, and await your reply.

Rob Smith,
Turn Lyme Green

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