Covid-19: Recovery Strategies - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:23 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Randall of Uxbridge Lord Randall of Uxbridge Conservative 1:23 pm, 11th June 2020

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, on securing this important debate and on her excellent speech. I want to confine my brief contribution to one aspect of the green strategy, or rather a blue one, to help with our post-Covid recovery. The blue in question is not party political but refers to the importance of wetlands. I am much indebted to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, a charity of which I have been a member for more than four decades, for working on this concept, which I fully support. Creating new wetlands will not only create much-needed jobs but will improve carbon capture and water quality, provide flood management and—highly importantly—ensure greater public enjoyment and improved physical and mental health. Of course, it will also hugely enhance our much depleted nature. It would assist in reducing coastal erosion and help regenerate neighbourhoods and towns. These projects do not always have to be huge scale, and we can do great things in urban areas too.

The aim would be to restore or create 100,000 hectares of wetlands. We do not always have to talk solely about tree planting and peatland restoration, important though they are. I also suggest that, in the provision of new housing, we could be innovative by creating new wetland cities, like the garden cities of a few decades ago, only wetter.

Following this terrible pandemic, we have an incredible opportunity to reset our world. Let us be bold and imaginative. I hope that my young granddaughter will enjoy a better quality of life than current generations.