Restoring Nature and Climate Change Debate

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Restoring Nature and Climate Change

Tracey Crouch Excerpts
Monday 28th October 2019

(11 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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Daniel Zeichner Portrait Daniel Zeichner - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 4:35 p.m.

I suspect that many Members around the Chamber will have worked with their local wildlife trusts and seen the excellent work they do. Just a few weeks ago I was with the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire releasing Nora the hedgehog into the wild, although Nora’s building was not one of the works of art I was about to reference in my great city of Cambridge.

Cambridge is full of fine examples of magnificent buildings and we are proud of them. They are often the work of previous generations, sometimes created in political and economic circumstances that we would not now accept. We can all point to examples across cultures and countries of magnificent interventions. My point is that we are not for or against nature, but with better scientific understanding of our impact on the wider environment, we now have the responsibility to act in a way that does no more harm and, where previous harm has been caused, take the opportunity to work with natural processes to secure improvement. That is my starting point.

Tracey Crouch Portrait Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford) (Con) - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 4:35 p.m.

Kent Wildlife Trust, along with others, has a strategy of greening urban areas. Will the hon. Gentleman welcome its initiatives and others, such as that at Luton Junior School, in my constituency, which plans to build a green, living wall to help absorb pollution and improve the future health of the children at the school?

Daniel Zeichner Portrait Daniel Zeichner - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 4:35 p.m.

The hon. Lady is correct; I suspect we will be hearing more examples of good work done by other wildlife trusts.

Break in Debate

Daniel Zeichner Portrait Daniel Zeichner - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 4:51 p.m.

My hon. Friend’s intervention takes us off into a different debate in some ways, but I absolutely agree with him. It is much to be regretted that the very high environmental standards for new build that were in place in 2010 are no longer there, but I am sure they can be restored—if not before Christmas, soon afterwards, perhaps.

I spoke before about long-term planning. While Wicken Fen may be looking 100 years ahead, I am not sure Parliament can look forward 100 hours at the moment, but we do need to commit to long-term natural restoration.

Tracey Crouch Portrait Tracey Crouch - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 4:52 p.m.

Can we put on the record the importance and value of roadside nature reserves, which are often forgotten in the dynamic environment we live in? Many of our wildlife trusts work alongside their local authorities to keep our roadside nature reserves wild and keep those species living in that protected environment, but there is no statutory requirement for local authorities to invest in them. It is important that we remember the value of roadside nature reserves in the context of this debate.

Daniel Zeichner Portrait Daniel Zeichner - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 4:53 p.m.

The hon. Lady must be a mind reader, because that is my very next point. She makes an important point, because, as I was going to say, beyond those big long-term projects, there are quite simple things that can be done locally or individually. That was drawn to my attention by Olivia Norfolk, of Anglia Ruskin University, who said that simple solutions in urban environments to encourage nature restoration, such as not mowing road verges, can be important. However, she also argued that, while we can all act ourselves, we need urgent systemic changes to the way we run the country, and we cannot continue to export our costs overseas.