Protecting the environment and combating climate change is a personal passion of Caroline’s.
Since first becoming an MP, Caroline has supported the legislative strides the Government has made to leave Britain cleaner and greener. This includes the Government’s 25 Year Plan, legally binding long-term emissions targets, the Clean Growth Strategy and Climate Change Act. These positive acts have meant that renewable electricity capacity in the UK has trebled since 2010, the UK now has enough solar to power almost 2 million homes and is the most attractive market in the world for investment in offshore wind. Dirty and polluting coal now only produce 1% of our energy with renewable energy generating a third of our power. The UK has cut green-house emissions faster than any other G7 country, which is down more than 40% since 1990.
Importantly, due to high levels of local congestion and record nitrogen dioxide levels along the A32 and M27, she has supported the UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations, which sets out how compliance can be achieved in the shortest possible time and is supported by a £3.5 billion investment into air quality and cleaner transport. It also includes a £255 million Implementation Fund to support local authorities with a range of measures. In addition, there is £220 million for a new Clean Air Fund, allowing local authorities in England to help individuals and businesses adapt to new air quality improvement measures.
Despite significant improvements over recent decades more needs to be done to tackle air pollution locally and nationally. That is why Caroline has welcomed the Road to Zero strategy, which sets out the Government's ambition of being a world leader in zero emission vehicle technology.
Local environmental problems do not stop at air pollution. Living on the coast Caroline has seen exactly how litter and plastic blight the beautiful beaches of Gosport. As such, she has supported the 5p plastic-bag charge which has reduced use by over 9 billion bags, the ban on microbeads, plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, an ambitious new Resources and Waster Strategy and Plastic Waste Plan – aiming to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within the next twenty-five years.
Working with local organisations, she is a keen supporter of local groups who carry out beach cleans and litter picks, such as Surfers Against Sewage and the Gosport Wombles, and can regularly be seen supporting these events. Caroline has also organised a beach clean with the Marine Conservation Society.
To raise awareness about plastic pollution and improve her own plastic footprint, for two years running Caroline has taken a pledge to #GiveUpPlasticForLent and supported the ‘Plastic-Free Parliament’ campaign.
Reducing and recycling is a key component of environmental conservation and with Environment Minister, Thérèse Coffey, Caroline launched a new recycling initiative for paper coffee cups in Gosport in January 2018 – the first of its kind in the UK. Created through a partnership between Gosport Borough Council and paper cup manufacturer Huhtamaki, the scheme is piloting a collection and recycling service for used coffee cups for residents and businesses.