We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Restoring Nature and Climate Change — [Stewart Hosie in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 28th October 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Labour, Cambridge 4:30 pm, 28th October 2019

I am slightly alarmed at the unanimity that is breaking out in the Chamber today. The hon. Gentleman is right and many of us have noticed that in the last period the green economy has survived times of recession much more effectively than the rest of the economy.

To return to the subject of the oceans, the securing of no-fish zones in oceans can allow marine habitats to recover from the effects of bottom trawling and scallop dredging. An example is the no-take zone in Lamlash bay in Scotland. That is beautifully outlined by Rewilding Britain on its website. The issues are not always straightforward. In my area, the Cambridge Independent reported last week that Cambridgeshire County Council’s goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions is going to be more challenging than originally thought, as peatland emissions will be included in Government calculations from next year. Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange, which strongly advocates nature-based solutions, identified—as Caroline Lucas pointed out—that peatland is a main contributor to CO2 emissions in Cambridgeshire. Adam Barnett of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds tells me that that is a crucial issue. Consequently, the RSPB and other organisations rightly want to ban the burning of peat bogs, which releases carbon and is extremely damaging to the atmosphere. I hope that we shall get a response on that from the Minister. I know that questions have been put to Ministers about it before.

I have mentioned just some of the complex range of issues that there are to consider. The staff serving the Petitions Committee were kind enough to set up an engagement event on the topic in Cambridge last week, and we had an extremely well-informed roundtable with experts in my constituency. I record my thanks to the Clerks to the Committee for their work on it. Our discussion took place at the premises of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative in the iconic David Attenborough building, a conservation campus that is home to organisations that promote the natural world, such as the RSPB, Flora & Fauna International and BirdLife International. There, I was privileged to meet Dr Mike Rands, the executive director of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, and Dr Andy Clements, the director of the British Trust for Ornithology, who shared with me their insights on natural restoration. Dr Clements hammered home the point that data and monitoring of natural activity is crucial. We must know the state of affairs to be able to improve it.