Mark speaks up for the environment in Parliament

November 11, 2005 12:00 AM
By Mark Hunter in House of Commons

Mark Hunter (Cheadle) (LD): I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in favour of the Bill and to make a brief contribution to the debate.

Since I was elected to Parliament, I have heard a number of Members speak about their postbags and the amount of correspondence that they have received on various issues. Some of those claims, particularly over the past few days, have worried me somewhat, as their postbags have clearly not borne any relation to mine. It is therefore with some relief that I can speak on an issue that really has captured the imagination of residents in Cheadle, and I certainly have a postbag to prove it.

I want to praise all those who have been involved in the various campaigns to promote this and the accompanying Bill. As a local councillor in Stockport, I have already been able to support both Bills at a local level, with the backing of all parties there. Similarly effective information and publicity campaigns have been conducted up and down the country in the run-up to this debate.

The technology involved in micro-generation offers a wide range of opportunities to contribute to what is arguably the most important of all global challenges. On thermal heating, household wind turbines, and fuel cells-to name just some of the technologies available-the Bill can make a real impact through the encouragement that its measures offer householders.

It is not just the technology that appeals to me. There is plenty of evidence in my constituency that the public take their responsibilities to the environment very seriously. That is why the local authority that covers my constituency has the highest levels of household recycling of any metropolitan authority, and it is why the constituents to whom I speak are eager to do even more to conserve energy and protect the environment. The measures in the Bill would tap into the enthusiasm and commitment of the public in a positive way, and in a way that simply does not exist at present. The Bill offers carrots to the public and sticks to the Government, because it is clear that this Government and Governments across the world need to move more quickly on this most important matter.

Even those who believe that climate change is an enormous conspiracy theory-which I most certainly do not-and that global warming is neither a serious issue nor a major threat to us all, should think of all those utility bills dropping on the doormat. At a time of rising fuel prices, it would not be overstating the case to say that we have never needed such a Bill so much.

There are compelling reasons to support this Bill on so many counts that it should satisfy those of all political persuasions and of none. The Bill combines the economic, scientific and moral case for environmentalism in a way that I believe really can reverse those negative trends that pose such a threat to us. The Bill is truly worthy of support from all sides.

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