Today I signed up to become a public transport champion, to help accelerate action on climate change in Parliament, as part of the Conservative Environment Network’s new Net Zero Champions initiative.
I will be working with 24 other Conservative MPs to promote a range of technological and natural solutions to climate change, to ensure that the UK creates more green jobs as part of the post-COVID economic recovery and further reduces our greenhouse gas emissions.
In June 2019 the UK was the first major economy to set a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, following a Parliamentary campaign led by CEN MPs. Since then, the Government has announced a number of new world-leading climate policies, such as the commitment to end financial support for fossil fuel projects abroad and a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. The Government last November launched a 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution, backed by £12 billion of public funding, which aims to create up to 250,000 new jobs in industries of the future like hydrogen and carbon capture.
However, in their latest progress report to Parliament, the independent Climate Change Committee outlined multiple areas where policy gaps remain in order to get the UK on track to net zero. As a CEN Net Zero Champions, I will be pressing for policies to close those remaining gaps ahead of COP26 UN Climate Summit, which the UK is hosting in Glasgow in November. The Government is due to publish a comprehensive net zero strategy ahead of the summit, which will set out a pathway towards the long-term net zero goal.
As a public transport champion, I will be campaigning on:
- aligning the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), which is a package of government support for bus services of around £250 million per year, with net zero and wider access to public transport;
- funding a major trial of hydrogen buses, which is a potential alternative technology to utilise alongside battery electric buses, and could help to support the UK’s emerging hydrogen industry; and
- funding Network Rail to electrify more railway lines and bringing forward the phase-out date for diesel trains to reduce emissions and air pollution caused by old diesel trains, and update the remaining 30% of passenger rail vehicles that aren’t electric powered.
I’m delighted to be working with the Conservative Environment Network on this great initiative, as part of my commitment to my constituents to champion action on climate change in Parliament. As the hosts of the Glasgow Climate Summit in November, the UK needs to be at the front of the pack globally in tackling carbon emissions. This Government has already taken some big steps forward on climate change, but we now have to go even further to get on track to our world-leading target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That’s why I’ll be campaigning inside Parliament for further policies for public transport that will cut emissions, while also creating green jobs across the UK.
Transport is one of the most polluting parts of our economy, and in many parts of the country the provision of public transport is patchy at best. In order to give people more choice on how to get about, we need a reliable, regular and affordable public transport service. We also need to ensure public transport is powered by cleaner forms of energy like electricity or hydrogen. I’ll be proposing new ideas for how to both expand and clean up buses and trains in communities like Carshalton and Wallington.
You may also be interested in reading my recent article in The Times:
- Pull down the barriers to a green revolution | Tuesday February 02 2021