The environment belongs to us all, whether that is locally, or whether we look past the boundaries of Streetly and the West Midlands, and to the UK and beyond. It is also our responsibility to look after our environment and our duty to play our part in leaving it in a better state for our children and for future generations.

Before Easter I was invited to join pupils and staff at Ryders Hayes School in Pelsall, alongside Professor Gatrad of WASUP (Walsall Against Single Use Plastic) at their Earth Day assembly. It was truly inspiring to see the children learning about taking care of their school environment, and the harmful effects of single use plastics. There are of course many other schools, groups, organisations, businesses and individuals who are involved with projects or who quite simply play their part locally to help the environment and the community because it is the right thing to do, whilst recognising the responsibility we all have as individuals.

In recent weeks we have seen that public interest and concern about our environment and climate change is growing and the voices being raised are calling for the Government to do more to address this fundamental issue.

In acknowledging that Climate Change is a threat we must all unite behind and seek to go further and faster, it is equally important to recognise that a global effort will be required to effect the greatest long-term change. Equally, we must recognise the many achievements that have been made already.

Importantly, the Government has a 25 Year Environment Plan which sets out a framework to enable the ambition of leaving the environment in a better state than we found it. The Plan includes tackling the scourge of plastic, delivering cleaner air and water and crucially using new opportunities available to us to develop our own bespoke agricultural and fisheries policies to ensure that we have a more sustainable focus for future generations.

To date there have been some key environmental achievements which have included banning plastic microbeads and straws, introducing new charges for carrier bags, and doubling the fines for littering on our streets. Locally, Conservative-controlled Walsall Council is also working hard to tackle litter and fly-tipping – issues which matter to Streetly residents.

We should also be proud of our country’s world-leading role in tackling climate change and our transition to Clean Growth.

In other news it was a pleasure to be able to call in to the Friends of Streetly Library Annual General Meeting last weekend. The Friends are a great group of enthusiastic and committed volunteers who do terrific work to support our local community library. Thank you all.

This article was first published in the Royal Sutton Observer on Friday 10th May 2019.