Climate change and environmental degradation through global population growth are the principal threats to our collective future on this planet. As a walker in Scotland, climbing the Munros, I can see for myself the evidence of global warming.
I have always supported the cause of conservation, sustainability and a light human footprint on the Earth and its finite resources. I have personally supported a trust for wilderness conservation for many years.
I support policies to reduce carbon emissions from human activity in as short a period as possible, the development of green energy sources and giving targeted overseas aid to countries to improve their environment. Such help to other countries has the added benefit of helping to reduce the migration pressures which environmental degradation, particularly in the Middle East and in sub-Saharan Africa, is fuelling.
I am in favour of more offshore wind farms, of which this country is a technological leader.
I have sought in my time as an MP to try and minimise adverse environmental impacts on this constituency. For example, following flooding in Marlow I have successfully lobbied for the funding of a flood relief scheme which is now operational.
The Third Runway at Heathrow, approved by the Airports Commission and current government policy, is a major environmental challenge, whilst also offering opportunities for economic growth and meeting air transport need that cannot just be ignored.
However, unless Heathrow can demonstrate that it can meet the strict emissions targets required, this project cannot and must not proceed.
It remains extremely uncertain whether this can be achieved. If it cannot I will oppose any attempt at taking the proposals forward by relaxing or avoiding the environmental criteria.
If the environmental criteria can be met, then any development must be accompanied by infrastructure and environmental improvements to reduce the impact on the local area, particularly in Iver which is already suffering the serious blight of noise and emissions pollution from HGVs and Heathrow associated activities. I will also continue to lobby for the compensation scheme for blight to be extended to any properties that will experience serious adverse effects.
There are never simple solutions to these problems and politicians must accept that success will best come by persuasion plus scientific and technical innovation rather than by dictating outcomes. Policy initiatives need to be realistic and sustained and avoid showy targets and sound bites. This is going to be hard work but it is work that must be done for all our children’s and their children’s sake.