Climate Change, the Environment and Global Development

Part of Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 10th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan Conservative, Chichester 4:33 pm, 10th July 2019

Having spent 30 years in business, I can tell the hon. Lady that no business waits for politicians to give them the answer. They do not; they innovate, they invest in innovation and they invest in where there market is going. In fact, they often create the market.

We need to take drastic action, but we need to do it in a way that is not drastic. This became apparent to me during the Extinction Rebellion protest. When it came here, I spent an hour listening to, learning from and debating the points raised by one group. One of the suggestions made by some in the group was the introduction of a one child policy here in the UK. That would be a rather totalitarian response, and it is unnecessary given our already declining total fertility rate of just 1.76 in 2017.

That said, there were plenty of sensible ideas as well, such as installing solar panels on all new builds, putting in alternative fuel boilers and ensuring we are insulating homes properly, which is one of the simplest things that can have a massive impact. We should all be doing it, and I hope to see some action on that. Obviously, we should also be moving to greener modes of transport, reusing and recycling, and restoring peat land and planting millions more trees a year. All of these offer many financial and environmental benefits.

It is fundamental to remember that to become a carbon neutral country, we will need to invest in technological development and to incentivise, with incentive schemes, green infrastructure and much more. However, I believe we must be cautious about policies and ideas that negatively impact on growth; for example, calls that limit people to one long-haul flight, which was another Extinction Rebellion idea—it did confirm that it meant return flights—and one short-haul flight per year. As someone who has worked internationally for 30 years, I would clearly be out of a job, because I used to take 200 flights a year. It was my job to grow business and to grow jobs, and such flights are sometimes part of what needs to happen in a globalised world.