Matt Hancock MP today joined the Conservative Environment Network's (CEN) Parliamentary Caucus to champion action on decarbonisation and conservation in Westminster.
The CEN Caucus works together to drive the green agenda in Westminster, underpinned by a set of principles that include action on climate change, enhancing the natural environment, preserving species and oceans, and tackling air pollution. There are now 121 MPs in the caucus.
Matt Hancock has long campaigned on environmental issues and is a passionate advocate for the preservation of West Suffolk’s unique natural environment, including its treasured woodlands and local priority species like the dormouse. As part of the CEN Caucus he will now work with like-minded Conservative MPs in Parliament to halt the decline of nature and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Matt will also continue to support the government's efforts to reduce air pollution, the most serious environmental risk to public health in the UK. As Health Secretary, Matt co-launched the government's 25-year Clean Air Strategy with the then Environment Secretary Michael Gove. Conservatives have a proud legacy of taking action to clean up our air - starting with the 1956 Clean Air Act.
Matt Hancock MP said: "We owe it to future generations to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. Everyone deserves cleaner air and water, a stable climate and access to nature-rich spaces. Conservatives are the original conservationists and recognise that we must act now to protect our natural inheritance."
As part of his work with the Caucus, Mr Hancock is calling on the government to place a new legal duty on the Forestry Commission to help tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. The Forestry Commission is the largest land manager in England, and is responsible for publicly owned woodland and the regulation of the forestry sector in England.
Commenting on this, Mr Hancock said, "I was delighted to see the government outline more detail earlier this month on the two new nature-focused Environmental Land Management schemes, which will offer an exciting incentive for farmers and landowners to create more woodland in England. But we must also improve the condition of our existing woodlands which is why I would like to see the Forestry Commission’s legal remit updated to support the government’s efforts to tackle the climate and nature crises."
Sam Hall, Director of CEN, added, "We're delighted to have Matt Hancock join the Caucus to champion the environment in Westminster. He is a great parliamentary campaigner and a powerful voice for West Suffolk on environmental issues. Woodlands are a tremendous environmental, economic and cultural asset, and we know that we need to create more woodland if we’re to hand on the environment in a good state to the next generation. Woodland creation could create green jobs across all regions of the UK whilst creating healthier and more beautiful communities. It is brilliant to have Matt Hancock working with us to help make this vision a reality."