CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Eastbourne’s part in the global fight against climate change

Last Saturday, I attended the launch of our great green ambition, Eastbourne Carbon Neutral 2030 which seeks to bring local people together to play their part in fighting against the climate emergency.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 9:43 am
Eastbourne Carbon Neutral event 2020 (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-200120-113452008

It was great to see such a broad range of residents and bodies at the event, including many young people.

The borough council is taking the lead on this initiative, partnering with the Eastbourne Eco Action Network and it has my full support as your MP and as a councillor.

And nationally? Ministers have recently unveiled two bills: the Environment Bill and the Agriculture Bill, which together are designed to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic use, safeguard our soil and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.

Farmers will be paid for ‘public goods’ such as protecting water and air quality, boosting wildlife and tackling climate change under the new laws for England that very much move away from the current deeply flawed EU Common Agricultural Policy of paying farmers mostly for the amount of land they own.

Some will, of course, say the government is not going far enough but I disagree. This puts the UK at the global cutting edge of policy.

At the launch event, a reporter asked me what we will see in Eastbourne as a result of our local endeavours but what you won’t see, could also prove to be a major campaign win.

Having previously secured Marine Conservation Zone status for Beachy Head East, I am now working with the Marine Conservation Society once again to help save the immensely biodiverse kelp forests off the Sussex coast.

Sadly, since the 1980s, these underwater forests have been under attack from trawling the sea floor and the increased sediment.

Some experts believe this plant can globally absorb 600 million tonnes of carbon a year and the initiative, also involving Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, has received the support of Sir David Attenborough no less.

I spoke of our CN2030 launch event in the Queen’s Speech debate in Parliament this week; I also spoke of local employment programme Project Search which creates that first big step into the world of work with supported internships for young people with learning disabilities.

I love what they do and it seem so does the Secretary of State who picked up on my speech; we can expect a ministerial visit in town very soon.

But to go back to what else my friendly reporter might see in Eastbourne in our brighter, greener future? Me, I hope, riding one of those beautiful electric Bumble Bee scooters showcased at the launch event!