I firmly believe in protecting both the UK's vibrant ecosystem and the natural environment worldwide. I am encouraged that the first progress report of the Government's ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan found that 90 per cent of the priority actions have been delivered or are on track for delivery. I believe this clearly demonstrates our commitment to improve the environment within a generation.
I also believe that the threat of global warming has never been more apparent. However, I am encouraged that we are witnessing an unstoppable momentum towards a more ambitious global response, most recently demonstrated by agreement on a 'rulebook' for the Paris Agreement late last year.
Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds, the best performance on a per person basis than any other G7 nation. To continue this momentum, the Government published the Clean Growth Strategy in 2017, which has been boosted by significant innovation funding made available through the Industrial Strategy. In addition to this, the Government has committed to a Carbon Neutral Britain by 2050.
Large sections of environmental policy are devolved, and therefore the purview of the devolved administration in Edinburgh. That is why I am pleased that my MSP colleagues in the Scottish Parliament have published Global Challenge, Local Leadership, a comprehensive position paper on the environment and climate change. It sets out ambitious plans across seven key areas, including the circular economy, biodiversity, energy, homes and transport. They either match or exceed existing targets, and more importantly also identify how they can be achieved.
Scotland has heard too many warm words and seen too much inaction when it comes to building a sustainable future. We need to set aside the notion that missed targets and slipping deadlines are something simply to be accepted, and instead adopt an approach that will enhance our wild lands, protect our fragile ecosystems and restore our forested and upland landscapes.
Actions I have taken locally over the past 2 years:
- I secured £5m of UK Government funding for an internationally-leading plastic recycling facility that will be built in Glenfarg
- I convinced University of Stirling to build their new International Environmental Centre in Clackmannanshire, and secured UK Government funding to support this
- I’m leading an on-going campaign to bring geothermal energy to our constituency
- I was the first Scottish Conservative to take the divest Parliament pledge to move investments away from fossil fuels
- I have supported off-shore and tidal energy projects & initiatives
- I raised money for local “Breathe-Easy” air quality community groups
- I have helped organise and took part in multiple litter picks across our constituency
My colleagues and I believe in protecting and enhancing our natural heritage. We must do more than just repair damage, we must also improve our environment. We believe it is our duty to the next generation to leave Scotland a better place than we found it.