My response regarding Government reforms that could impact nature
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about Government reforms that could impact nature.
I understand the concerns in regards to the Retained EU law bill and its implications for the environment.
As the bill is still in progress, I cannot confirm the nature of what aspects of environmental legislation will be replaced and in what way.
We share in the view that local wildlife sites are an essential part of our country’s natural heritage which should be protected for future generations.
Worthing West is surrounded by South Downs National Park and English Channel – both of which are home to an abundance of wildlife. I will shortly meet the Campaign for National Parks in the South Downs to listen to their concerns.
This summer, I was in close communication with Southern Water and the Environment Agency with extreme concern for the quality of our bathing waters following the frequent releasing of sewage in our sea. I will be meeting with Southern Water in their Worthing office next month to highlight my concerns and relay to them the concerns felt by many about their activities and press them to ensure changes are made.
I have been vocal with my concerns about projects that affect protected areas such as Rampion 2 Wind Farm, which proposes to bring electricity ashore through the South Downs National Park. Just last week I was pleased to attend their public consultation on potential onshore cable route changes.
The affected bills that my constituents have raised concerns over, such as the Conservation of Habits and Species Act of 2007 and the Environmental Land Management Scheme will likely come under the new 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP).
The 25YEP will create new targets for maintaining biodiversity, clean air and sustainable development.
I support the government's current policy on an evidence-based approach on fracking. By current regulations, we will only use fracking if it is done sustainably in a way that does not harm local communities.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, in particular, seeks to give greater weight to local plans and national policy, giving assurance that areas of environmental importance – such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – will be respected in decisions on planning applications and appeals.
It will introduce new Environmental Outcome Reports. I understand that this will help ensure there is a clear focus on environmental protections and pursuing positive environmental improvements. I am confident that the national framework will protect our local wildlife sites and support our Wildlife Trusts for decades to come.
Some have raised concerns about fracking.
Currently, we have not granted any further contracts for fracking to continue as the government is looking into alternative greener energy resources. The moratorium on fracking was reimposed.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.