General Election 2019

How are the big parties planning to address the Environment & Climate Crises?

On Thursday 12th December, the UK will go to the polls for a General Election.  This is a critical chance for you to have your say on who will be in charge of protecting your life support system.  That’s right: the environment.  Having healthy, thriving ecosystems is the only way to gives us clean air, water and food, not to mention flourishing industries.  This means the environment is vital for our economy, prosperity and wellbeing too. 

When deciding who to vote for, we urge you to consider the impacts, whether positive or negative, that your preferred candidate may have on the environment.  So what do the candidates in your constituency plan to do to address the Environment & Climate Crisis?

We have written to all of Kent’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (except the couple we simply can’t find email addresses for!), asking them to respond to the following questions:

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?
  2. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?
  3. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?
  4. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

At the time of publishing (Friday 29th November), we have received the following responses.

Ashford

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife)

Adrian Gee-Turner, Liberal Democrats

"1. STOP BREXIT

I campaigned for REMAIN in 2016 and have been consistently involved in pro-EU activities locally,such as through Ashford for Europe  ever since much of the effective environmental law in the UK is derived from the EU, and it is enforced by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In a “no-deal” BREXIT, environmental protection would be weakened or even ignored. Examples of EU standard-setting include regulations about beach pollution, air-pollution, the EU Water Framework Directive, the sustainable use of Plant Protection Products(PPPs). The EU Nature Directives include: the Birds Directive (1979), the Habitats(1992), Wildlife Trade, Zoos, Invasive Species.

The Conservative Government during 2019 has attempted to launch some Bills that affect the Environment, notably an Agriculture Bill and a Fisheries Bill, but neither went through before Parliament was dissolved. It was noted that the proposed Fisheries bill would have actually weakened sustainable management, while the proposed Office of Environmental Protection would have inadequate powers to counter enviromental abuse and crime compared to the current role of the ECJ.

In preparation for a hasty withdrawal from the EU ( within the now 12 months of transition), the Government has attempted to prepare for post-Brexit enviromental laws by cutting and pasting from the existing EU laws and regulations, but in line with their declared aim to “cast off the shackles of the EU”, their proposals do not give the public the right of access to environmental information,nor the right to participate in decision-making, nor the right to environmental justice.

Furthermore,  Brexitted UK would no longer benefit from EU funding for environmental projects. Here in Ashford, EU funded the establishment of the heritage woodland of “The Warrens”. Your Kent Wildlife website lists 2 EU-funded projects which are relevant to Ashford : The Stour water catchment for “adaptive water management measurers tailored to local scenarios”, and the Grassification project for roadside verges.

For all these enviromental reasons, LibDems would choose to remain in the EU, and we are proud to have elected 3 MEPS for the SE who participate in environmental decision-making at the EU Parliament.

2. The LibDem manifesto makes these proposals:

  • A Nature Act that would give £18bn to environmental needs over 5 years
  • Funds to plant 60m trees
  • Restoration of wildlands
  • Change agricultural subsidies on the principle of “public money for public good” for sustainable land management by farmers ( if UK remains in EU, this would mean working via “Renew Europe”, the EU Parliamentary party that includes Libdems, to change CAP to fit those principles)
  • Increase accessible green spaces and give these legal protection
  • Reform water management
  • Execute a sustainable fisheries policy
  • Increase funds to DEFRA and to Nature England and the Environment Agency

3. The above (1 and 2)are all EU and national policies, but the Libdems also believe in localising decision-making for local application. So as we come into power, we would be involving local organisations, like Kent Wildlife, in consultation about the local implementation of the proposed policies.

I also used to run a tree planting Company in the early 90s encouraging people to plant a hard would tree once a year, Ash Oak and Beach. I also at the same time set up an environmental consultancy L’Eau LTD as I was even then very conscious of the issues around water usage."

Mandy Rossi, Green

"The reason I joined the Green Party back in 2011 was because of it’s commitment to animal welfare and environmental protection.  I am so excited about our Manifesto for this election which brings together years of work and research to develop a holistic, ambitious programme that puts the climate at the heart of everything we do.  I do recommend you take a look, as it will answer many of your questions..  You can find the link here:   https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/Elections/Green%20Party%20Manifesto%202019.pdf

Our Green New Deal will transform our relationship with the land. It will increase space for nature through the restoration of natural landscapes, habitats and species in urban, suburban and countryside environments. We want to increase the opportunities for food growing, for greening our landscape and improving our health. Through reforestation, rewilding and regenerative farming, we will reduce carbon emissions and realise the land’s ability to absorb carbon.  We will also lay down a new natural inheritance to be passed down to future generations, through the creation of community owned and run forests.  We have also committed in our Manifesto to plant 700 million new trees and aim for 50% of all farms to be engaged in agroforestry by 2030. We will encourage the planting of more trees in more towns and cities, including apple, nut and other crop trees than can produce food. The new woodland, when fully grown, will store carbon, provide home-grown timber and create new wildlife-rich environments. We will support farmers to diversify their incomes through new forest management.  We would also create a new ‘ecocide’ law to prevent crimes against the natural environment

We would immediately ban the most harmful pesticides (including glyphosate) and introduce new rigorous tests for pesticides. Only pesticides that pass this test, and demonstrably don’t harm bees, butterflies and other wildlife, will be approved for use in UK  and commit to making at least 30% of UK domestic waters into fully protected marine protected areas by 2030. We will also work with British Overseas Territories (BOTs) to increase the ‘blue belt’ protecting BOTs’ waters from commercial extraction, from the current 32% of coverage to 50%.

With regard to my local constituency, Ashford  I believe we have made a good start by getting our first two Green Councillors elected in May.  They are working hard and have already brought a Climate Emergency declaration to council.  Most of which has been accepted (all but the word ‘emergency’), and they are now working hard on the environment committee to develop ideas, policies and champion the cause, all the while holding the Conservative led council to account, to ensure they meet their objectives.

For me personally, along with supporting the work of our Councillors, I believe the fundamental issues here are the amount of development here in Ashford.  Thousands of new homes being built, motorway junctions and warehouses.  All depriving wildlife of its natural environment.  I want to see local communities have more of a say on development, and want to see decision making brought back to the local area, so we can ensure that any development is right for us, and doesn’t adversely impact our environment.  I want to see hedgerows restored, and wildlife verges throughout the constituency, along with natural corridors and the protection of our river Stour and a commitment to plant more trees.  I support our Green spaces and will campaign to save them from future development, by championing community gardens and food forests.  I co-founded Wombles of Willesborough, a local litter picking group who go out once a month in the local community to clear our natural areas of discarded rubbish and want to promote more education around the impacts of plastic on our environment.  We currently have a plastic free Ashford group, and I want to see all our local businesses sign up to the pledge to end single use plastic both within their own business, and also to encourage their suppliers to do so too.

Most importantly, I will commit to continue to campaign for protection of our natural environment regardless of whether I am elected or not.  We are guardians of the planet for future generations, and as such we all have a part to play.  I am proud that The Green Party leads the way with regard to the environment, we have the best policies for dealing with the chaos."

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Dara Farrell

Labour

ashfordlabour1@gmail.com

 

Mandy Rossi

Green

mandy.rossi@greenparty.org.uk

GreenMandyRossi

Adrian Gee-Turner

Liberal Democrats

adrian.geeturner@btinternet.com

 

Damian Green

Conservative

damian@damiangreen.co.uk

DamianGreen

 

Canterbury

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Anna Firth, Conservative

I believe fundamentally that we are guardians of the natural environment and must do all we can to protect and enhance it for future generations. 

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

First and foremost we have to protect our local green spaces.  There is rightly huge pressure on us all to build new housing and the infrastructure that goes with that.  But this must not be at the expense of important local habitat, that once lost cannot easily be recovered.  For example, I am very clear in Canterbury & Whitstable that whilst I support expansion of the park-and-ride initiative, the proposal to extend it into Hambrook Marshes needs to be reviewed.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

I believe that Brexit offers us huge opportunity to target support for farming in a far more appropriate way than is currently required under the Common Agricultural Policy.  In particular our manifesto is clear that after leaving the EU, we will agree a new deal with farmers that will require them to farm in a way that protects and enhances our natural environment that in return for funding.  Something that I believe the farming community will welcome.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

As with farming, leaving the EU also means that we will leave the Common Fisheries Policy.  A new Conservative government is committed to maintaining funding for fisheries across the UK’s nations throughout the Parliament and supporting the regeneration of our coastal communities.  There will also be a legal commitment to fish sustainably and a legal requirement for a plan to achieve maximum sustainable yield for each stock.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

I believe that there are three key environmental challenges for the local district – (i) air quality in Canterbury; (ii) the sea front and fishing at Whitstable; and (iii) protecting our green spaces from over development.  In order to address these issues I support a raft of proposals including (a) promote public transport and ensure that it is as green as practical; (b) promote the use of cycling and at least connect the Canterbury cycle lanes into a single network; (c) support expansion of the park-and-ride facilities, albeit with due regard to any impact on the local habitat (there must be a better solution than Hambrook Marshes); (d) lobby for the eastern by-pass to be finally built which is estimated to remove approximately 20,000 cars from Canterbury city; (e) ensure that once we leave the EU, UK rules around fishing reflect the needs and sustainability of the local fishing industry; (f) work to protect the beauty of the local seafront including extending boat speed restrictions where necessary and supporting local direct action such as the regular beach front litter picking; and finally (g) ensure that local people have a loud voice in any planning discussions with any new infrastructure requirements prioritised before building of new housing.

Rosie Duffield, Labour

"You are probably aware that Rosie consistently championed environmental causes in the last Parliament. Rosie attended the meeting hosted by Caroline Lucas (Green Party) and Ed Miliband

MP(Labour) when Greta Thunberg made such a moving and influential speech. Rosie spoke in the subsequent debate in favour of urgent action to avoid the environmental disaster which faces us all.

 

1. Crises in natural environment

Last week we published our manifesto which states, "2019 saw the blossoming of a global movement calling on politicians to wake up and act on the climate and environmental emergency. Labour welcomed that movement and, as a government in waiting, we have turned its demands into detailed, credible plans for real change."  The manifesto recognises that addressing the environmental challenges that we face requires a transformational effort from Government and urgent interventions now.

To address the environmental crises "We will introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill setting out in law robust, binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection."

Our Plan for Nature will set legally binding targets to drive the restoration of species and habitats

 

2. Farming to encourage nature's recovery

Labour supports a move away from highly intensive, environmentally damaging farming methods and will design post-Brexit farm subsidies to reward and encourage both high animal welfare standards and environmental practices. Our Animal Welfare Manifesto makes a commitment "to embed and enhance in policy the responsibility for farmers to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds and animals during the breeding season, and encourage the growth of wildflowers."

 

3. Protect and revive seas

The Manifesto addresses the pollution of the seas and the threats to marine life, acknowledging that "waste, including plastic waste, pollutes our land and seas, killing wildlife and contaminating our food." There is a further commitment "to take on the global plastics crisis by investing in a new plastics remanufacturing industry creating thousands of jobs, ending exports of plastic waste and reducing our contribution to ocean pollution."

The Animal Welfare Manifesto recognises that whales, dolphins and other marine animals face a variety of man-made threats including hunting, ship strikes, chemical pollution, ocean noise, entanglement in fishing gear and issues arising from climate change.

Labour is committed to the ‘Blue Belt’ to protect and enhance our marine environment around the UK and overseas territories and will consult on effective action to clear up abandoned and discarded fishing gear.

 

4. Key questions in Canterbury, Whitstable and the villages

Rosie worked closely with the Labour Group on the Canterbury District Council to support the declaration of a climate emergency in July 2019. Reflecting on her email correspondence over the last two and half years and her countless discussions with residents Rosie believes the following are pressing environmental challenges for Canterbury, Whitstable and the villages.

  • Measures to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions,
  • Reversing unbridled and precipitate developments and improving enforcement of planning controls,
  • Improvements to the cycling and walking infrastructure, in particular connecting routes,
  • Removing the threats to woodlands and biodiversity, and planting more trees and hedges,
  • Measures to mitigate the increased risk of flooding especially along the Stour Valley and the course of the Nailbourne.

In a future Labour Government environmental awareness will be at the heart of decision making across the pubic and private sectors. Rosie believes we are at a historic turning point. It is essential that the natural world is at the centre of our thinking come election day on 12 December.

We are working as hard as we possibly can to return Rosie to Parliament so that she can continue to fight bravely and tirelessly for the causes in which she believes, climate change being paramount."

The candidates we have details for are:

 

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Anna Firth

Conservative

anna@annafirth.org.uk

anna_firth

Rosie Duffield

Labour

enquiries@rosieduffield.co.uk

RosieDuffield1

Henry Stanton

Green

henry.stanton@greenparty.org.uk

HenryStantonGP

Claire Malcomson

Liberal Democrat

clairemalcomson@hotmail.co.uk

clairemalcomson

Chatham and Aylesford

The responses we received are as follows. Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Vince Maple, Labour

To answer your questions, I would firstly refer to the Labour Party Manifesto https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Real-Change-Labour-Manifesto-2019.pdf which goes into great level of detail about these issues.  Moving to the specifics of the four questions:

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

With the declaration of the Climate Emergency both locally in Medway where I moved the motion which was supported unanimously or in parliament where it was agreed, there is no doubt in my mind that this issue is at the forefront of politician's thoughts.

My party has shown a clear commitment through it's Green Industrial Revolution recognising that these commitments will need both investment and a just transition for those in employment which currently has a negative impact on the environment.

My longer term track record on this is clear being at the forefront of the campaign to stop Boris Johnson trying to build an estuary airport which would have had huge impacts on internationally designated environments.  I've also been a longstanding opponent of building on the Capstone Valley which is a vital urban green lung.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

Our manifesto is clear on some of the policies we will bring forward in government particularly on page 22-24.  I believe these policies are a key component of our Green Industrial Revolution.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

As someone who calls Chatham home, waterways are important to me.  We need to ensure that a move towards a truly single use plastic community is accelerated to stop further damage.  This is something I've supported as a local councillor, with my colleague and Gillingham & Rainham Parliamentary Candidate Andy Stamp securing cross party support for Medway Council to take this position.  Depending on the approach and outcome to a second referendum, our manifesto lays out our approach to sustainable fishing and quotas.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Air quality is a huge issue across North Kent - I'm concerned that a no deal brexit could lead to a huge spike in this issue which I would actively oppose.  The reduction of local government finance by 60% has dramatically reduced councils ability to tackle these issues.  I would also be an advocate for ensuring that where housing is required to deal with the housing crisis that is always brownfield first and dealt with in a sensitive manner again moving as quickly as possible to net zero carbon for any future housing schemes.

Geoff Wilkinson, Green

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

I’m honoured to represent a party that has consistently and unwaveringly defended animals. Compassion for animals is in the Green Party’s DNA. Greens will stand shoulder to shoulder with animal advocates across Britain as we face a challenging future. Climate change and the wider environmental crisis are the most challenging issues humanity has ever faced. We have promised the most decisive action, with a promise to put £100bn a year into tackling the crisis. Meanwhile the government ploughs ahead with its hugely unpopular plans for allowing companies to seek more fossil fuels underneath our feet through fracking . 

 

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

 

"A hard Brexit threatens a bonfire of the regulations that have safeguarded our environment and protected animal rights. But Brexit could be an opportunity to move towards an ecologically sustainable farming system; one that refocuses land management to encourage biodiversity, improve animal welfare and help tackle climate change. It is essential that post-Brexit farming subsidies are retargeted. This would include incentives and funding to transform animal agriculture and create high welfare systems, as well as promoting a shift towards plant-based diets and agriculture.

 

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Wildlife cannot survive without a home, which is why we support a new Nature and Wellbeing Act. We will ensure that our valuable wild spaces are properly protected and will prioritise action to reverse both habitat loss and the precipitous decline in our wildlife both on and offshore. We will also continue to push for an end to whaling and keeping cetaceans in captivity. We are calling for a review of the Common Fisheries Policy to put sustainability at its heart and stop overfishing. We will take action on fish farms to improve welfare and tackle the high levels of contagious disease, which affects wild fish as well as those in captivity. We will continue research to improve welfare measures applied when fish are killed for food and bring an end to the shooting of seals at fish farms.

 

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

The most pressing environmental issues in Chatham and Aylesford are the continued loss of Green Field sites to inappropriate development when there are suitable brown field sites for over 11’000 homes in Tonbridge & Malling alone according to CPRE. Such development has brought our infrastructure to a standstill with dangerous consequences as Hermitage Lane is the access route to Maidstone Hospital. The traffic congestion caused by even a minor incident on the M20 results in gridlock and ever worsening air pollution. We need to tackle this through a radical new transport policy to reduce freight travelling by road and by improving public transport especially to outlying rural areas where bus services have been decimated. Finally, flooding will continue to be a problem unless climate change is tackled and ecological flood defences are put into place.

The candidates we have details for are:

 

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Tracey Crouch

Conservative

traceycrouch2019@gmail.com

tracey_crouch

Vince Maple

Labour

votevince2019@gmail.com

vincemaple

David Naghi

Liberal Democrats

kentpcc@ldsoutheast.emailnb.com

DaveNaghiLibDem

Geoff Wilkinson

 

Green

 

elections@medway.greenparty.org.uk

geoffwilkinson

Dartford

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Kyle Marsh, Liberal Democrats

"1.    How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

My view, which is the Liberal Democrats' view, is that the United Kingdom should be leading the world on tackling the climate crisis. You will already be far-too-aware that the environment is degrading at an alarming rate - our natural world is suffering as a result. The world is not prioritising the climate emergency. We have fallen a long way since passing the Climate Change Act in 2008, when we became the first country in the world to set mandatory targets to cut emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. 

We would place climate change at the absolute heart of government. We have committed to spending £100 billion over the life of the next Parliament to tackle the climate emergency. We would start by restoring the Department for Climate Change. We would follow this by setting up a new Green Investment Bank and create a new Chief Secretary of Sustainability in the Treasury. We believe that coordinating the funds to cut emissions will be a key part of the machinery of government in achieving the results we need.

I want the UK to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 (5 years ahead of the current target), but we must cut emissions as fast as we can. A Liberal Democrat government would halve emissions by 2030 as compared to today. We would do this by:

  • generating 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030
  • setting up a Citizens' Climate Assembly 
  • empowering local authorities to deal with the climate emergency locally, obliging them to set and follow a zerocarbon strategy and providing them with new powers (over developing green transport infrastructure, for example) and funding to support this
  • restoring subsidies for solar power, and increase the production of offshore wind and end the ban on new on-shore wind
  • restore new homes to the zero carbon standard
  • ensure that new buildings (commercial and residential) are built efficiently
  • converting the entire rail network to ultralow emissions technology (preferably electricity or hydrogen) by 2035

Above all of this, we would stop Brexit not least of all because we need a European solution to the climate crisis. Our great island can be a world leader, but we need to be a part of that world's structures in order to lead. 

2.    What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

More than anything else, I would need to talk to farmers to better understand this. I grew up on farms in Canada as a child, and while I feel deeply connected with the emotions of farming, I need to better understand the technicalities of this question. As a party, we would work to reform agricutlure subsidies to support farmers in cutting their greenhouse gas emissions, while still producing enough food to support our country and of course to export elsewhere. We want to introduce significant measures to restore the health of our soil, and we aim to plant 60 million trees annually to act as natural carbon sinks. We would reward farmers for contributing to the restoration of nature, improving biodiversity, and farming in a nature-friendly way. 

3.    What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Liberal Democrats would ban all non-essential, non-recyclable single-use plastics, in order to prevent millions of tonnes of plastic pollution entering our water system. We would be world leaders in promoting education about protecting our seas, so that people around the world understand the impacts their actions have on ecosystems that are often thousands of miles away. Achieving our overall target of keeping temperature increases below 1.5 degrees is critical for reducing the impacts of climate change on our seas. We can only do this by working together, in global partnership; a relationship which is being challenged by the United States' decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord. 

4.    What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Locally: Air pollution. Dartford's levels of air pollution are amongst the highest in the country. The quantities of particulate air pollution and gases generated by the huge amount of vehicles is a danger not only to the environment, but to the health of all residents in this constituency. With more than 40,000 early deaths annually due to air pollution nationwide, it is imperative that we prioritise reducing the amount of avoidable air pollution. The answer is multi-faceted; we need to improve the public transport infrastructure locally so that buses run reliably, and service the communities that need them. Crossing the river should not be a car-only activity; we should invest in an electric tram to take us across the Thames, or explore similar solutions. Dartford needs to enact the aspects of its air quality management plan that it is not currently being made to enact, and the levels of pollutants should be widely publicised so that people are aware of the dangers they are exposing themselves to. I want to see us change behaviours and habits just a little bit, so that people are less likely to want to use their cars for single-occupant, short journeys. Improving the cycling and walking infrastructure would go a long way to doing this, as would ensuring that local services can be accessed in town and village centres, instead of making people drive to single central locations. 

I think the climate crisis is the single largest challenge facing us right now, and we need to do everything - absolutely everything - in our power to make positive changes and make them now." 

The candidates we have details for are:

 

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Kyle Marsh

Liberal Democrats

kylefordartford@gmail.com

kylefordartford

Sacha Gosine

Labour

contact@dartfordlabourparty.org.uk

sacha4westhill

Gareth Johnson

Conservative

dartfordconservatives@hotmail.com

 

Mark Lindop

Green

mark_lindop@hotmail.com

 

Dover & Deal

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Charlotte Cornell, Labour

"1.    How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

Labour’s core aims in our green policy are to prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change, achieve better air and water quality, and reverse biodiversity decline. We intend to achieve lower carbon emissions through our Green New Deal, which was considered by the Ecologist to be “most far-reaching attempt by any big political party to face up to the climate and ecological emergency.” https://theecologist.org/2019/sep/30/battlegrounds-labours-green-new-deal

As part of this we must also achieve higher air and water standards for the health of both people and the environment, for example by creating public water companies mandated by DEFRA to meet environmental objectives, not profit for oversees corporations, and by moving away from coal and gas power stations to develop renewable energy industries that will produce the high paid skilled jobs of the future.

Finally we will reverse the decline in biodiversity and protect existing natural habitats, some examples of this are included in answer to your later questions, but full details of policy are available at https://www.labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/The-Green-Transformation-.pdf.

2.    What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

I fully support Labour’s ambition to reconfigure funds for farming and fishing to support sustainable practices, smaller traders, local economies and community benefits. We will also look to embed and enhance in policy the responsibility for farmers to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds, insects and other wild animals, and encourage the growth of wildflowers. We want to see natural and untouched meadowland protected under law. Furthermore, we will Initiate a large tree planting programme, working with farmers and foresters to promote biodiversity and better flood prevention

3.    What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

I welcome the introduction of newly designated Marine Conservation Zones through public consultation, and Labour have already laid out our plans to further support them going forward. In the article available at https://labour.org.uk/press/luke-pollard-responds-new-marine-conservation-zones-announcement/ Luke Pollard, Shadow Fisheries, Flooding and Water Minister stated that ““Labour will introduce a simple umbrella designation of a ‘National Marine Park’ to help simplify the dizzying array of marine protections for our most important coastal habitats. Labour-controlled Plymouth City Council is already planning the UK’s first National Marine Park and a Labour Government will seek to roll these new marine parks out around our coast and help drive public awareness of our valuable coastal habitats. Protections such as these could help protect areas such as the Goodwin Sands off Deal, at threat of being dredged to provide materials for the Port of Dover’s development.

4.    What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Significant concerns have been raised about the dredging of the Goodwin Sands, which of course is home to some important invertebrates such as the Ross Worm, Blue Mussel and larger animals including Sandeel and Harbour Seals which are likely to be disturbed by the dredging. Since this area has been designated as a Marine Conservation Zone, we will fight to make sure this area remains protected, and aim to reverse the decision of the MMO to grant a license for dredging as it goes through public consultation. My colleagues, who are local Labour members of Dover District Council will also be raising their objections as part of this process.

Air quality is also another significant issue in the Constituency, and we are particularly concerned about the potential effect of a Boris Johnson’s disastrous no deal Brexit, which could see stacks of lorries sitting on our local roads waiting for customs checks, producing exhaust fumes harmful to both the people and environment. Labour will negotiate a deal with the EU that avoids the potential for these catastrophic effects, and keep Dover moving & the environment (and people) breathing.

Finally, recent housing development proposals in my area have threatened some endangered species, causing local communities to link up with local environmental groups to provide their own surveys and reports to planning officers. There needs to be a greater catalogued awareness in local councils of endangered wildlife species in our area; this could better help to inform the Local Plan."

Beccy Sawbridge, Green

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

The section on ‘Restoring Nature and our Countryside’ in our Green Party Manifesto, says “Nature is under attack from industrial farming, over fishing, hunting and shooting – with devastating impacts for wildlife species and their habitats, from farmland to the hills to the coast.  It’s time for an approach that recovers, rebuilds, restores, regenerates and reinstates nature and the health of our countryside.”

Our plans included :  a ban on the most harmful pesticides (including glyphosate) ; extra protection for Greenbelt AONB and SSSI;  a ban on mineral extraction;  creation of a new Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).  This will be one integrated body to enforce environmental protections, from clean air to litter-free roads; The EPC will enforce the ecocide  law, a new Clean Air Act, which will set new air quality standards for the UK, and a new Sustainable Economy Act, including targets for new soil quality and biodiversity standards.

*  Also see pages 68 onward on ‘Transforming our relationship with animals’ including an end to the Badger cull.

2.    What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?                                                                   

The section on page 21-23 of our Green Party manifesto on  Food, Farming and Forestry  includes  encouraging agroecology and soil protection, and planting 700 million trees and more forestry jobs caring for existing woodlands. We would…

Introduce new support for smallscale family farms and for new entrants to farming. This support, including increased security of tenure for farmers, will help develop sustainable farming methods.  Farmers will be supported to adopt diverse uses for agricultural land and buildings, such as fitting solar panels on farm buildings and planting orchards and other woodland. The incorporation of trees into farming will provide new crops such as fruits and nuts, as well as timber, linking forestry and farming industries. A more densely wooded and hedged farming landscape will provide new habitats for wildlife, and sanctuaries for threatened species.  As a member of the EU we will press for a review of the Common Agricultural Policy, so that it is focussed on supporting UK and other EU farmers as they make the transition to sustainable farming.  Greens are also planning to switch council tax and business rates to the much fairer  Land Value Tax.

3.    What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Locally we have consistently for 3 years argued for the maximum number of Marine Conservation Zones including Goodwin Sands and we have opposed the Port of Dover dredge, we work with the KWT campaign Guardians of the Deep and Goodwin Sands SOS, on the grounds of protecting marine wildlife.  At the top of our facebook page is a photo of our candidate Beccy standing up to Gove on exactly this matter. We have lobbied MMO and DEFRA.  We have worked to organize beach cleans in Dover and Kingsdown and support DealWith It transition Deal and Transition Dover and White Cliffs Countryside Partnership. Nationally our Green manifesto commits to making at least 30% of UK domestic waters into fully protected marine protected areas by 2030. We will also work with British Overseas Territories (BOTs) to increase the ‘blue belt’ protecting BOTs’ waters from commercial extraction, from the current 32% of coverage to 50%.

4.    What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

The new Local Plan (public consultation winter Jan Feb 2020) looks like being volume-developer greenfield unsustainable gobbling up of our countryside and carbon sinks and woodland and wetland, while pushing up house prices and air pollution and road congestion. We held 2 events to say Climate Friendly Regeneration with Green New Deal would be better on 29th October   Our Green report that focuses on Dover is here https://alexandraphillipsmep.com/publication/green-new-deal-green-jobs-greener-south-east

We also have a campaign SEDDD=  Stop Exploitative Developers in Dover District (see fb page) We launched this in July 2019 and were grateful to CPRE’s Hilary Newport and Derek Wanstall who were 2 of our 4 guest speakers. 

Extract from Green Party Dec 2019 manifesto

*Section Restoring Nature and our Countryside  page 57 GREEN MANIFESTO

The amount of farmland, woodland and forest destroyed by development has grown by nearly 60% in recent years, whilst over 10,000 miles of footpaths have been blocked, built over or allowed to fall out of use. Nature is under attack from industrial farming, over fishing, hunting and shooting – with devastating impacts for wildlife species and their habitats, from farmland to the hills to the coast.

It’s time for an approach that recovers, rebuilds, restores, regenerates and reinstates nature and the health of our countryside. We have a plan to transform and reconnect with the countryside, which will:

  • Create a new ‘ecocide’ law to prevent crimes against the natural environment.
  • Amend the National Planning Policy Framework so it no longer imposes centrally set development targets on local councils. We will  allow councils to develop their own planning policies, based on genuine local housing need and their requirement to contribute to the creation of at least 100,000 new council homes a year nationally.
  • Councils will be required to deliver these new homes in a way that preserves local ecology and creates new green spaces.
  • Strengthen Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special  Scientific Interest protections, with development in these areas only being permitted in exceptional circumstances.
  • Ban mineral extraction, road building and military training from all National Parks. We will give local communities a say in National Park governance, though creating new democratically elected positions on National Park boards.
  • Open up car-free access to the National Parks with new cycling, walking and bus links.
  • Encourage applications from communities for new Green Belt,  Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Park designations.
  • Create a new Environmental Protection Commission (EPC). This will be one integrated body to enforce environmental protections, from clean air to litter-free roads.

The EPC will enforce the ecocide  law, a new Clean Air Act, which will set new air quality standards for the UK, and a new Sustainable Economy Act, including targets for new soil quality and biodiversity standards.

  • Develop a soil health monitoring programme for England, to match those in Scotland and Wales, to assess and understand changes in the health of soil over time.
  • Increase funding for the Environment Agency and Natural England, to support the vital work they do to protect our environment.
  • Immediately ban the most harmful pesticides (including glyphosate) and introduce new rigorous tests for pesticides. Only pesticides that pass this test, and demonstrably don’t harm bees, butterflies and other wildlife, will be approved for use in UK.
  • Invest in peatland restoration and  end both the burning of peatlands and use of peat in compost in horticulture. We will advocate an emergency international agreement to conserve and enhance carbon sinks and reservoirs including forests, peat fields and coastal and estuarine areas.
  • Protect our precious water supplies  by enforcing stricter penalties for polluters and for water companies found to be extracting too much water. We will require water companies to invest in water conservation and in capturing water surpluses, to enable transportation
  • across the country.
  • Restore access to the countryside by re-opening lost public rights of way and creating new ones. We will grant to people in England and Wales the same right to roam over all landscapes as people in Scotland currently enjoy. We will protect and enhance access to inland waterways.
  • Invest in ecotourism and associated schemes such as rewilding, habitat recovery and species reintroduction, creating new job opportunities.
  • Introduce new support for smallscale family farms and for new ntrants to farming. This support, including increased security of tenure for farmers, will help develop sustainable farming methods.  Farmers will be supported to adopt diverse uses for agricultural land and buildings, such as fitting solar panels on farm buildings and planting orchards and other woodland. The incorporation of trees into farming will provide new crops such as fruits and nuts, as well as timber, linking forestry and farming industries. A more densely wooded and hedged farming landscape will provide new habitats for wildlife, and sanctuaries for
  • threatened species.
  • As a member of the EU we will press for a review of the Common Agricultural Policy, so that it is focussed on supporting UK and other EU farmers as they make the transition to sustainable farming.
  • Commit to making at least 30% of UK domestic waters into fully protected marine protected areas by 2030. We will also work with British Overseas Territories (BOTs) to increase the ‘blue belt’ protecting BOTs’ waters from commercial extraction, from the current 32% of coverage to 50%.
  • Reintroduce nature into our urban environments, by investing in schemes such as street planting of native trees, compulsory hedgehog holes in all new fencing and bee corridors.
  • Recognise access to diverse nature as a human right and uphold it across society.

Create a Nature GCSE to encourage children to value nature, and to grow a whole new generation of naturalists. We will also introduce an English Climate Emergency Education Act to support schools to teach young people about the urgency, severity and scientific basis of the climate and environmental crises, and to ensure youth voices are heard on climate issues. These policies will integrate closely with those set out in the ‘Green New Deal for food, farming &  forestry’ section of this Manifesto on page 21, reducing the carbon emitted from the use of the UK’s land.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Charlotte Cornell

Labour

charlotte@charlottecornell.com

Charlotte4Dover

Natalie Elphicke

Conservative

charlie@elphicke.com

NatalieElphicke

Simon Dodd

Liberal Democrats

simon.dodd@eastkentcoastlibdems.org.uk

Dodd4Dover

Beccy Sawbridge

Green

greensindandd@yahoo.co.uk

DoverDGreens1

Faversham and Mid Kent

The responses we received are as follows. Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Hannah Perkin, Liberal Democrats

"My children have both been young members of Kent Wildlife trust for a number of years and I think what your organisation does is incredible.

1.    How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to protect and support Britain’s wildlife. We will pass a Nature Act, which will put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory footing. We will also set legally binding natural capital targets, including on biodiversity, clean air and water, and empower the NCC to recommend actions to meet these targets. As well as this, we will reverse the current sharp decline in the rate of woodland creation by aiming to plant a tree for every UK citizen over the next ten years, and protect remaining ancient woodlands. We will also suspend the use of neonicotinoids until proven that their use in agriculture does not harm bees or other pollinators. Locally I am vice chair of the "climate and Biodiversity Committee" a new action Committee established by the Town Council to focus on empowering the people in the area to do what they can to protect our natural environment. This has included Climate surgeries where we have gathered feedback from residents, tree planting initiatives and work on reducing pesticide use as a local authority. The committee also works closely to promote the many amazing volunteer groups within our community.

2.    What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

The agricultural sector can play a major role in providing public goods and protecting wildlife. Liberal Democrats will continue our long campaign to reform agricultural subsidies – making sure British farming remains competitive and doesn’t lose out in the event of Britain leaving the EU, rebalancing away from direct subsidy and refocusing support towards the public goods that come from effective land management including countryside protection, flood prevention, food production, and climate change mitigation. This would ensure that smaller farms are protected and move support away from large landowners, whilst delivering a more localised agricultural policy.

3.    What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Liberal Democrats will support our precious marine habitats and wildlife. We will protect and restore England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands, including through reform of water management and higher water efficiency standards, and establish a ‘blue belt’ of marine protected areas. Despite reform, the Common Fisheries Policy has failed to deliver the economic or environmental objectives necessary. Hard Brexit and the loss of export markets threatens to further damage the industry, which has long suffered from being used as a bargaining chip by UK governments. Liberal Democrats would work with the industry and other stakeholders to develop a national plan for sustainable fisheries. Plastic pollution is also an ever growing problem. whether this be large single use plastics or microbeads and fibres, our waters are polluted and the Lib Dems have pledged to introduce a Ban on single use non recyclable plastics.

4.    What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Faversham and mid kent suffers with areas of very high air pollution. Air pollution is known to kill 40,000 people per year and can lead to a significant increase in lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. To tackle air quality it is firstly important to properly monitor areas of high traffic so that relevant mitigation can be put into place. It is my personal opinion that the impact on air quality should have a stronger part to play in planning decision making and that road mapping should be made to have a more holistic overview approach.

The Liberal Democrats propose to pass a "clean air act" meaning that people will have a legal right to free air no matter where they live. This is something I feel very passionately about as a member of the "clean air parents network"

We need to get people out of their cars. Locally this means making sure that new development has active transport links to the things people need to use, schools, shops, doctors surgeries etc. It also means that we need to invest in making our roads safer for cyclists and other modes of active transport and further investment in reliable, affordable public transport.

Faversham is at risk of flooding and the liberal Democrats have said in their manifesto that there will be a commitment to improving flood defenses across the UK. We have seen awful flooding in the UK this year and as sea levels are predicted to rise we are running out of time locally to not look into this as a serious and imminent concern.

Housing targets that are imposed from central Government are too high and large developments are popping up all over the constituency. We must empower local authorities to have a say in where house building goes , whether there is adequate infrastructure and whether the housing is as environmentally efficient as possible. The Lib Dems are proposing that all new housing and non domestic buildings are built to zero carbon standard by 2021 and to the more ambitious "passivhaus" standard by 2025. For old buildings lack of insulation is a problem across the constituency. Not only does this mean that people are living in fuel poverty but it also means that we are using too much energy to keep warm and increasing household emissions. The Liberal Democrats have said in our manifesto that we will commit to a programme of free retrofitting for low income housing."

Hannah Temple, Green

"As a member of Kent Wildlife Trust myself I am hugely aligned with your mission and work.

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment? 
  • Create a new ‘ecocide’ law to prevent crimes against the natural environment.
  • Amend the National Planning Policy Framework so it no longer imposes centrally set development targets on local councils. We will allow councils to develop their own planning policies, based on genuine local housing need and their requirement to contribute to the creation of at least 100,000 new council homes a year nationally. Councils will be required to deliver these new homes in a way that preserves local ecology and  creates new green spaces.
  • Strengthen Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest protections, with development in these areas only being permitted in exceptional circumstances.
  • Ban mineral extraction, road building and military training from all National Parks. We will give local communities a say in National Park governance, though creating new democratically elected positions on National Park boards.
  • Open up car-free access to the National Parks with new cycling, walking and bus links.
  • Encourage applications from communities for new Green Belt, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Park designations.
  • Create a new Environmental Protection Commission (EPC). This will be one integrated body to enforce environmental protections, from clean air to litter-free roads. The EPC will enforce the ecocide law, a new Clean Air Act, which will set new air quality standards for the UK, and a new Sustainable Economy Act, including targets fornew soil quality and biodiversity standards.
  • Develop a soil health monitoring programme for England, to match those in Scotland and Wales, to assess and understand changes in the health of soil over time.
     
  • Increase funding for the Environment Agency and Natural England, to support the vital work they do to protect our environment.
  • Immediately ban the most harmful pesticides (including glyphosate) and introduce new rigorous tests for pesticides. Only pesticides that pass this test, and demonstrably don’t harm bees, butterflies and other wildlife, will be approved for use in UK.
  • Invest in peatland restoration and end both the burning of peatlands and  use of peat in compost in horticulture. We will advocate an emergency international agreement to conserve and enhance carbon sinks and reservoirs including forests, peat fields and coastal and estuarine areas.
  • Protect our precious water supplies by enforcing stricter penalties for polluters and for water companies found to be extracting too much water. We will require water companies to invest in water conservation and in capturing water surpluses, to enable transportation across the country.
  • Restore access to the countryside by re-opening lost public rights of way and creating new ones. We will grant to people in England and Wales the same right to roam over all landscapes as people in Scotland currently enjoy. We will protect and enhance access to inland waterways.
  • Invest in ecotourism and associated schemes such as rewilding, habitat recovery and species reintroduction, creating new job opportunities.
  • Launch a public information campaign to educate the public about the biodiversity loss and other Climate Emergency threats we face, and encourage the behaviour change needed in response.
  • Reintroduce nature into our urban environments, by investing in schemes such as street planting of native trees, compulsory hedgehog holes in all new fencing and bee corridors.
  • Recognise access to diverse nature as a human right and uphold it across society.
  • Create a Nature GCSE to encourage children to value nature, and to grow a whole new generation of naturalists. We will also introduce an English Climate Emergency Education Act to support schools to teach young people about the urgency, severity and scientific basis of the climate and environmental crises, and to ensure youth voices are heard on climate issues.
  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?
  • Introduce new support for small-scale family farms and for new entrants to farming. This support, including increased security of tenure for farmers, will help develop sustainable farming methods. Farmers will be supported to adopt diverse uses for agricultural land and buildings, such as fitting solar panels on farm buildings and planting orchards and other woodland. The incorporation of trees into farming will provide new crops such as fruits and nuts, as well as timber, linking forestry and farming industries. A more densely wooded and hedged farming landscape will provide new habitats for wildlife, and sanctuaries for threatened species.
  • As a member of the EU we will press for a  review of the Common Agricultural Policy, so that it is focussed on supporting UK and other EU farmers as they make the transition to sustainable farming.
  • Work with farmers to refocus farm subsidies to help farmers transition to more sustainable, diverse and environmentally friendly forms of land use, including organic farming, agroforestry and mixed farming, and away from intensive livestock farming.
  • Provide farmers with grants to allow replacement of old high-emitting carbon farming machinery with low carbon machinery (including vehicles powered by biofuels rather than fossil fuels). Grants will also be available to enable further improvements to farm buildings and infrastructure, to help farmers in the transition to agroecological farming.
  • Encourage the expansion and replanting of majority of hedgerows lost in the last 50 years through new subsidies, creating new environments for wildlife.
  • Legislate to give farmers greater security of tenure, so that they can invest in sustainable improvements to their land, whilst ending the use of land as a tax shelter and encouraging new entrants into farming
  • Create thousands of new jobs in rural areas, through the shift away from intensive farming towards smaller-scale, more people-focussed food production and land management that respects nature. We will invest in training and skills to help people develop and apply the skills needed in these new jobs.
  • Better connect rural communities through reliable broadband and mobile internet, delivered through councils who understand local connection needs.
  • Plant 700 million new trees and aim for 50% of all farms to be engaged in agroforestry by 2030. We will encourage the planting of more trees in more towns and cities, including apple, nut and other crop trees than can produce food.. The new woodland, when fully grown, will store carbon, provide home-grown timber and create new wildlife-rich environments. We will support farmers to diversify their incomes through new forest management.
  • Maintain a moratorium on production and import of genetically modified (GM) foods, including food from animals fed on GM feed.
  • Establish a Food and Agriculture Research Council to research sustainable and health-promoting methods of food production and distribution. We will also support research into the reduction of methane emissions from livestock and the conservation and development of high quality soils, as the foundation of all that we grow.
  • Support the transition to plant-based diets by phasing in tax on meat and dairy products over the next ten years, to reduce the 5% of the UK’s carbon emissions that come from the methane produced by livestock. The revenues from this part of the Carbon Tax will be recycled back into farming, and will be spent on measures to help farmers transition to more sustainable farming methods.
  • Promote initiatives to reduce food waste, including education programmes and changing the rules to allow food waste to be used for animal feed for pigs and chickens.
  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?
  • Commit to making at least 30% of UK domestic waters into fully protected marine protected areas by 2030.
  • We will also work with British Overseas Territories (BOTs) to increase the ‘blue belt’ protecting BOTs’ waters from commercial extraction, from the current 32% of coverage to 50%.
  • We will press for a review of the Common Fisheries Policy in order to increase its sustainability.
  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?
  • Air quality: Faversham and Mid Kent really suffers with poor air quality, particularly in its towns and busy roads with carbon particulate and nitrogen dioxide pollution regularly surpassing WHO levels
    • The Green Party will introduce a Clean Air Act which will set new air quality standards, enforcable by a new Environmental Protection Commission
    • We will also tackle the root causes of air pollution by halting airport expansion, shifting money earmarked for road expansion to a green, low-carbon public transport revolution and providing companies with grants to allow replacement of old high-emitting carbon equipment with newly developed low carbon equipment.
  • Soil quality: We are in the "Garden of England" and agriculture is one of the biggest sectors in this area. However scientists estimate that we only have 100 harvests left in our soil due to the degrading impacts of intensive industrial farming.
    • Introduce a Sustainable Economy Act, including targets for new soil quality and biodiversity standards.
    • Develop a soil health monitoring programme for England, to match those in Scotland and Wales, to assess and understand changes in the health of soil over time.
  • Flooding: 340,000 properties in Kent are estimated to be at risk of flooding.
    • Deploy environmentally friendly flood management measures to protect communities from flooding. These measures, which include tree planning and soil restoration in upland catchment areas to tackle excess water at source, are cheaper and more effective than the traditional approach of simply covering river banks in concrete. We will change the planning system to prevent building on floodplains, to further reduce the flooding risk communities face."

Jenny Reeves, Labour

"As you know as part of the manifesto Labour have committed to a wide range of climate change and environmental protection measures under the title of the Green New Deal. I can answer your questions both from a personal perspective and using our policies to hopefully put you and members at ease with the Labour Party approach to the very serious issue of the Climate crisis.

The Labour Party has committed to aiming for a Carbon Zero or Neutral figure by 2030 which is far more ambitious than any other party, we understand that this is not something we can shy away from. The Climate crisis is very real and we have had warnings for years yet it seems that the current Conservative Government seems happy to ignore this and is determined to carry on with Fracking and no real decisive measures on industry to actually reduce the carbon pumped into the atmosphere.

We acknowledge that the majority of the responsibility up until now has been put onto the consumers who may have little choice rather than those creating the problem. Labour will change that.

We have a radical plan to reintroduce a vast network of public transport to the villages and towns who have been cut off and improve the rail networks, by improving public transport you immediately reduce car use and everyday pollution reduces. By ensuring that cycle networks are in place we can encourage those on short journeys to use alternative transport as you often see in mainland Europe. We have become a car culture and Labour acknowledges this needs to change.

We will put farmers, fishers, food producers and workers at the heart of our plans for delivering healthy food locally. This again stops the need for huge carbon footprints caused by importing goods that can be grown in this country. We will support local food networks, expand access to farm holdings allowing those who wish to become sustainable farmers to do so, with the added benefits of union representation for workers.

We will set maximum sustainable yields for all shared fish stocks, redistribute fish quotas along social and environmental criteria and, if people vote after the referendum we offer within 6 months to leave the EU, require the majority of fish caught under a UK quota to be landed in UK ports.

With the additional measures of transforming the industrial industry using funding and the 300,000 green apprenticeships We aim to achieve net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040 , this may seem ambitious but it will be required as part of our effort to stop the climate crisis.

Having travelled pretty much the length and breadth of the constituency it’s almost impossible to say that there is one overarching environmental issue, but I can honestly say there is one cause.

I have heard almost everywhere that public transport unreliability and cuts have forced people to become car reliant, or that roads are too dangerous and there are insufficient cycle routes for people.

It is clear we need a radical shift in attitude and approach to get people out of cars and onto shared transport.

With the Conservatives planning ‘Garden Villages’ where there is little or no public transport this is only likely to get worse.

My daughter is a forester at Belmont House and she relies on public transport and cycling to get to and from work, the roads are dark, dangerous and certainly not designed for cyclists or walkers. 

We must move away from this attitude, and from the responsibility being that of the individual, there is no Planet B"

Helen Whately, Conservative

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

Supporting the natural environment would continue to be a the heart of a Conservative Government’s agenda. We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it. In the last Parliament we published our 25 Year Environment Plan with ambitious targets for habitat restoration and greater biodiversity. We were also the first major economy to pass net zero emissions law – and the Conservative manifesto gives a commitment to help achieve this target by 2050. Leaving the EU is an opportunity for us to improve our environmental standards and do so in a way which is better suited to our country. We have an Environment Bill, ready to go, which sets out plans for a new environmental watchdog and legally binding targets for air quality, waste and resource efficiency, water, and nature.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

Farming and conservation work should work hand in hand, but the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has not always encouraged this. There are huge opportunities for developing a new agricultural policy post Brexit. In the last Parliament, the Conservative Government introduced a landmark Agriculture Bill which set out plans to move support payments to farmers away from direct subsidy towards payments for certain types of public goods. Under this approach, farmers will be rewarded for helping to improve water and air quality, increasing biodiversity, and mitigating climate change, amongst other things. The Conservatives have committed to reintroduce this Bill is re-elected so we can continue the work of developing the new Environmental Land Managements Schemes in England, which will support farmers and nature.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

I’m proud to have a stretch of the beautiful North Kent Coast in my constituency. People are often drawn to the sea and I know in Faversham, the creek and shoreline help to bring tourists into our shops and restaurants. But the sea is also a living environment and needs protecting. In the last Parliament, Conservatives introduced the world-leading ban on microbeads. Since the introduction of the plastic bag charge in 2015, 15.6 billion fewer bags have been handed out to shoppers by our seven largest retailers. But we want to go even further, and if re-elected the Conservatives will introduce a deposit return scheme to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass. We will also establish a new £500 million Blue Planet Fund to help protect our oceans from plastic pollution, warming sea temperatures and overfishing and extend the Blue Belt programme to preserve the maritime environment.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Air quality is big concern for many people, particularly those who live near motorways or roads used by commuters and HGVs. We need investment in infrastructure, particularly roads, to reduce bottlenecks and smarter traffic management with schemes like 20s plenty as well as more support for electric cars to tackle air pollution. We’ve also got to encourage other forms of transport by making it safer to cycle and cheaper to travel by train. But emissions do not just come from transport and we’ve got to make sure more of the energy we use comes from renewal sources. Solar panels have an important role to play in this, but they need to be in the right place. I’ve been campaigning against plans for a huge solar plant at Graveney Marshes, which would cover an area the size of Faversham with industrial size solar panels. The development would destroy an area of precious habitat, driving away wildlife as well as tourists who come to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the marshes.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Hannah Perkin

Liberal Democrats

hannahforfavershamandmidkent@gmail.com

HannahPerkin

Hannah Temple

Green

tim.valentine@greenparty.org.uk

iamhannahtemple

Jenny Reeves

Labour

jenhamlabour@gmail.com

Jmidkent

Helen Whately

Conservative

helen@helenwhately.org.uk

Helen_Whately

Folkestone and Hythe

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Simon Bishop, Liberal Democrats

"As you and your members know, we only have a limited amount of time before we reach a tipping point and so, aside from the dreaded B word of Brexit, the environment has to take centre stage for this election. In regards to your four questions I hope my answers help you and your members decide who to vote for on the 12th December.

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment? 

Where to start?! The Lib Dems have set out a wide range of measures as to how we will do this - too many to mention here, but I have cut and pasted the full details into a PDF document which sets out all the ways we pledge to help the natural environment in the UK and beyond.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery? 

As set out in our manifesto launched earlier today, nature is under threat. Unsustainable farming practices are depleting the soil and, together with air and water pollution, contributing to a rapid decline in the numbers of insects, birds and other animals. One in seven UK species are at risk of extinction. The Liberal Democrats will protect the natural environment and reverse biodiversity loss at the same time as combating climate change. We will support farmers to protect and restore the natural environment alongside their critical roles in producing food, providing employment and promoting tourism, leisure and health and wellbeing. We will introduce a Nature Act to restore the natural environment through setting legally binding near-term and long-term targets for improving water, air, soil and biodiversity, and supported by funding streams of at least £18 billion over five years. The Liberal Democrats would also reduce basic agricultural support payments to the larger recipients and redeploy the savings to support the public goods that come from effective land management, including restoring nature and protecting the countryside, preventing flooding and combating climate change through measures to increase soil carbon and expand native woodland.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Our commitment as the Liberal Democrats is to ensure that sustainability lies at the heart of fisheries policy, rebuilding depleted fish stocks to achieve their former abundance. Fishers, scientists and conservationists should all be at the centre of a decentralised and regionalised fisheries management system. We would also establish a ‘blue belt’ of marine protected areas covering at least 50 per cent of UK waters by 2030, in partnership with UK overseas territories.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Restricting/stopping the development around Princes Parade and the canal in Folkestone and Hythe that is being proposed by the council. As a coastal constituency, I would also work tirelessly to combat single use plastics that, when walking on the beach after a storm, I all too often see littering and blighting our coastline and our wildlife. 

 Saving Nature and the Countryside

A healthy natural environment, where people breathe clean air, drink clean water and enjoy the beauty of the natural world, lies at the heart of the society and the economy Liberal Democrats want to create. Yet nature is under threat: unsustainable farming practices are depleting the soil and, together with air and water pollution, contributing to a rapid decline in the numbers of insects, birds and other animals. One in seven UK species are at risk of extinction.

We will protect the natural environment and reverse biodiversity loss at the same time as combating climate change. We will support farmers to protect and restore the natural environment alongside their critical roles in producing food, providing employment and promoting tourism, leisure and health and wellbeing. We will:

  • Introduce a Nature Act to restore the natural environment through setting legally binding near-term and long-term targets for improving water, air, soil and biodiversity, and supported by funding streams of at least £18 billion over five years.
  • Combat climate change, and benefit nature and people by coordinating the planting of 60 million trees a year and introducing requirements for the greater use of sustainably harvested wood in construction.
  • Invest in large scale restoration of peatlands, heathland, native woodlands, saltmarshes, wetlands and coastal waters, helping to absorb carbon, protect against floods, improve water quality and protect habitats, including through piloting ‘rewilding’ approaches.
  • Reduce basic agricultural support payments to the larger recipients and redeploy the savings to support the public goods that come from effective land management, including restoring nature and protecting the countryside, preventing flooding and combating climate change through measures to increase soil carbon and expand native woodland.
  • Introduce a National Food Strategy, including the use of public procurement policy, to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable and affordable food and cut down on food waste.
  • Support producers by broadening the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and supporting them with access to markets.
  • Significantly increase the amount of accessible green space, including protecting up to a million acres, completing the coastal path, exploring a ‘right to roam’ for waterways and creating a new designation of National Nature Parks.
  • Give the Local Green Space designation the force of law.
  • Protect and restore England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands, including through reform of water management and higher water efficiency standards, and establish a ‘blue belt’ of marine protected areas covering at least 50 per cent of UK waters by 2030, in partnership with UK overseas territories.
  • Create a new ‘British Overseas Ecosystems Fund’ for large-scale environmental restoration projects in the UK Overseas Territories and sovereign bases, home to 94 per cent of our unique wildlife.
  • Establish a £5 billion fund for flood prevention and climate adaptation over the course of the parliament to improve flood defences, and introduce high standards for flood resilience for buildings and infrastructure in flood risk areas.
  • Ensure that sustainability lies at the heart of fisheries policy, rebuilding depleted fish stocks to achieve their former abundance. Fishers, scientists and conservationists should all be at the centre of a decentralised and regionalised fisheries management system. Immigration policy should also be flexible enough to ensure that both the catching and processing sectors have access to the labour they need.
  • Increase the budget for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ensuring that agencies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency are properly funded."

Georgina Treloar, Green

1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

As a district councillor for Hythe, I tabled the motion for Folkestone and Hythe District Council to declare a climate and ecological emergency. I now sit on the climate and ecological emergency cross-party working group which is currently drafting up the plan of how we achieve carbon net zero by 2030 and enact better environmental measures as a council.

I’m personally very committed to tackling the climate and ecological emergency. So much so that I’m doing a part-time PhD in Environmental Social Science at the University of Kent on top of my usual work. My background is in communications; my goal is to become the best possible communicator on climate and ecological issues, because I feel that a big part of tackling the crisis is to get our community on board. I believe that if everyone understands what’s at stake – and what the science is telling us – we can all move together towards a more environmentally sustainable society and economy – and we might just have a chance of tackling this crisis.

My personal views on how we get there are 100% aligned with Green Party policy. The Green Party’s manifesto is the most ambitious on the table. That’s because we, as a party, truly recognise the extent of the crisis – and what’s at stake. Our Green New Deal isn’t just some nice green policies tacked on as an addendum to a ‘business as usual’ approach to policy. It sets out an entire re-working of our society and economy with an ambitious carbon net zero date of 2030 – and puts restoring nature as a top political priority. The scientific reality justifies such a swift and rapid transition to carbon-free future that works with nature and not against it. As an elected Green, I would hold every other party to account on climate and ecological policy; I would be a voice in Westminster that reminded the room of the scientific reality of climate breakdown and ecological collapse.

Please look at the ‘Food, Farming and Forestry’ section of our Green New Deal (pp. 21-24)

And also the ‘Restoring Our Nature and Countryside’ (pp. 57-60)

2. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

The Green New Deal will transform our relationship with the land. It will increase space for nature through the restoration of natural landscapes, habitats and species in urban, suburban and countryside environments.

We want to increase the opportunities for food growing, for greening our landscape and improving our health. Through reforestation, rewilding and regenerative farming, we will reduce carbon emissions and realise the land’s ability to absorb carbon.

The way we produce our food needs to support employment, the ecosystem and improve public health. A ten-year transition to agroecological farming will include the transfer of subsidies to farming methods and food systems that create jobs and restore ecosystem health, including the quality of our soils and rivers.

It will also advance food sovereignty, including by localising food systems and putting control over the resources to produce, distribute and access food in the hands of communities and workers across the food system.

We will also lay down a new natural inheritance to be passed down to future generations, through the creation of community owned and run forests.

The specific policies for how this can be achieved can be found under the Food, Farming and Forestry section of our Green New Deal in the Green Party manifesto: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/Elections/Green%20Party%20Manifesto%202019.pdf

3. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

The Green Party’s marine and coastal policies set out a comprehensive and enlightened vision for restoring our seas and fostering coastal communities that work with nature, not against it. The policies can be found here: https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mc.html

They include measures such as committing to making at least 30% of UK domestic waters into fully protected marine protected areas by 2030. And working with British Overseas Territories (BOTs) to increase the ‘blue belt’ protecting BOTs’ waters from commercial extraction, from the current 32% of coverage to 50%.

Similar to the Green New Deal, a Blue New Deal reimagines our relationship to the sea and brings it back into a sustainable and respectful space. For a coastal community such as Folkestone and Hythe, this is vital. It would bring about positive change to communities where traditional coastal industries are struggling.

4. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Sea level rise and local flooding are the big ones. With Romney Marsh in our district, we need to be clear-headed about what the implications are of sea level rise by the end of the century. The Environment Agency is now planning for a 4 C degree rise in global temperatures – the changes we’ll see at this level of global warming are really quite severe. Sea levels by the end of the century are looking to be 1 meter higher than they are today. Some studies are now saying it’ll be closer to 2 meters. Hythe is also hugely susceptible to rising seas.

Local flooding is also a major concern. Folkestone and Hythe is the district in Kent that’s most susceptible to local flooding. We’re going to see wetter winters and hotter, drier summers with water shortages over the coming decades.

We need to start talking about these things and preparing for a future that looks very different to the one we know now. We also have a moral duty to act in a way that mitigates for climate change. That means transforming our society and economy in a way that stops overstepping the earth’s ability to restore itself. It also means restoring ecosystems at every opportunity; inviting nature back into every corner of our district.

An important way to address these issues will be planning law. I sit on the planning committee and I’m particularly interested in the planning system. It’s currently not fit for the climate and ecological crisis. Pushing to change it would be a major focus of mine, if I were elected as Folkestone and Hythe’s next MP.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Damian Collins

Conservative

damian@damiancollins.com

DamianCollins

Laura Davison

Labour

laurafdavison@gmail.com

laurafd

Simon Bishop

Liberal Democrats

simon@fhld.uk

SiBishop

Georgina Treloar

Green

georgina@shepwaygreenparty.com

GeorginaTreloar

Gillingham and Rainham

The responses we received are as follows. Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Alan Bullion, Liberal Democrats

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

To respond to the climate emergency the Lib Dem’s would generate 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030 and insulate all low income homes by 2025. Plant 600 million trees a year across the UK. Promote greater use of public transport and electric cars and charging points.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

Besides tree planting, greater financial and other rewards for using environmental friendly measures to protect farmland and prevent land, soils and river pollution. Increased monitoring and enforcement of these measures. Promotion of integrated pest management methods and replacement of pesticides by biological products.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Extend the Blue Belt for marine protection to 50% or more of our seas by 2030, and support measures to stop overfishing with appropriate penalties and legislation on plastics and waste.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Apart from the climate emergency and keeping the Thames and Medway rivers clean, the most important priority is to prevent the Orchards being built on by housing developers and fully protect our prime agricultural land across the constituency and promote greater local and sustainable food production across Kent.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Rehman Chishti

Conservative

raychishti@hotmail.com

Rehman_Chishti

Alan Bullion

Liberal Democrats

alan.bullion@informa.com

alanbullion2

Andy Stamp

Labour

info@andystamp.org

CllrAndyStamp

George Salomon

Green

elections@medway.greenparty.org.uk

medwaygreens

Gravesham

The responses we received are as follows. Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Marna Gilligan, Green

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

We need radical and systemic change to deal with the climate crisis. The Green Party have the most comprehensive plan to tackle this; our Green New Deal is at the heart of all of our policies. We plan on a ten-year transition towards a carbon-neutrality. We would invest £100 billion every year for the next ten years, with the aim to have the UK carbon neutral by 2030.

 

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?
    Our transition to a carbon-neutral society needs to include agriculture; it's never going to be feasible without that. We plan on subsidising farms and farmers to move from polluting and fossil fuel-dependant farming practices towards more ecologically sound agriculture; working to improve soil health, encouraging bio-diversity, and encouraging diversity in farming.

 

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?
    We want to eliminate the single use plastic causing so much damage to our seas and sealife, make 30% of our waters marine protected areas, and review the Common Fisheries Policy with a view to making it more sustainable.

 

What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?
The most pressing issue in Gravesham is the proposed Lower Thames Crossing. We need to rethink all major infrastructure projects with the climate in mind. That means not building new roads, but instead looking at more sustainable ways to move people - and goods - from place to place.

Lauren Sullivan, Labour

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

As a local borough councillor I am proud to say that we passed an emergency resolution committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions in Gravesham by 2030. Labour aims in our green policy to prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change, achieve better air quality and reverse biodiversity

I support moving away from coal and gas power stations to develop renewable energy industries that will produce the high paid skilled jobs of the future.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

Labour pledges to reconfigure funds for farming and fishing to support sustainable practices and encourage smaller traders, local economies and community benefits. We will Initiate a large tree planting programme, working with farmers and foresters to promote biodiversity and better flood prevention. If I am successful in becoming Gravesham’s next MP, I will support local tree planting initiatives and work alongside the National Union Farmers  and others to encourage local land managers in contributing to sustainable practices.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

The introduction of newly designated Marine Conservation Zones are to be welcomed.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Gravesham residents experience of our current traffic congestion problems shows that we need to improve public transport and cycle use to get people out of cars and onto shared transport.  The cost of a season ticket for commuters is prohibitive. Labour has a radical plan to reintroduce a vast network of public transport including bus transport which will benefit our local villages which currently have a minimal bus service and is some areas no Sunday service.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Lauren Sullivan

Labour

info@graveshamlabour.org.uk

drlsullivan

Marna Gilligan

Green

marna.gilligan@gmail.com

GraveshamGP

Ukonu Obasi

Liberal Democrats

graveshamlibdems@sevenoakslibdems.org.uk

ukonu_obasi

Adam Holloway

Conservative

adam@adamholloway.co.uk

graveshamtories

Maidstone and The Weald

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Helen Grant, Conservatives

"1.  How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

The ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan put forward by Conservatives in Government sets out our commitment to supporting and protecting the world's most biodiverse forests, supporting sustainable agriculture, and advocating for zero-deforestation supply chains. Furthermore, on a more macro scale, the Government has introduced a legally binding net zero target to end the UK's contribution to global warming entirely by 2050.

2.    What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

Once we get Brexit done and leave the European Union, we will also leave the Common Agricultural Policy which will allow us to reshape our rural payments system in our own interests. Our new system will offer reward to land managers who produce public goods, and this includes protecting our natural environment.

3.    What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Protecting our oceans is so important and the Conservatives in Government have been leading the way in tackling this problem. We have, for example, created dozens of new Marine conservation zones, which prohibit ocean damaging activity, and are taking action to reduce single use plastic in the UK. We are also playing a leading role internationally in protecting oceans across the world by calling for all countries to work together towards a UN High Seas Treaty.

4.    What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

For me it is flooding in the more rural parts of Maidstone and The Weald such as Yalding, Marden, Collier Street and Hunton. I will continue to raise the concerns of residents with the Environment Agency and the Government to ensure all homes get the flood defences they need. I will also support our farmers to develop natural flood management schemes as a sustainable, long term solution to flood prevention.

Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about air quality in Maidstone which is amongst the worst in the country. To solve this serious issue, we must address our town’s congestions woes and that is why I am working so hard to improve our public transport connections and to make the case for a Southern Relief Road."

James Willis, Liberal Democrats

"1.    How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment? 

We aim to protect nature and biodiversity by:- 

        - protecting hedgerows, woods and bee-friendly plants

        - planting 60 million trees in the UK in the next five years

        - toughening planning laws to protect sites of special and scientific interest and woodlands.

        - brownfield site first development. 

 

2.    What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

The Liberal Democrats want to redirect farm support towards restoring nature, with legally binding targets for water, air, soil and biodiversity.

  • Stop Brexit and provide work force stability .
  • Reduce basic agricultural support payments to the larger recipients and redeploy the savings to support the public goods that come from effective land management, including restoring nature and protecting the countryside, preventing flooding and combating climate change through measures to increase soil carbon and expand native woodland.
  • Introduce a National Food Strategy, including the use of public procurement policy, to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable and affordable food and cut down on food waste.
  • Support producers by broadening the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and supporting them with access to markets.
  • Significantly increase the amount of accessible green space, including protecting up to a million acres, completing the coastal path, exploring a ‘right to roam’ for waterways and creating a new designation of National Nature Parks.
  • Give the Local Green Space designation the force of law.
  • Protect and restore England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands, including through reform of water management and higher water efficiency standards, and establish a ‘blue belt’ of marine protected areas covering at least 50 per cent of UK waters by 2030, in partnership with UK overseas territories.
  • Create a new ‘British Overseas Ecosystems Fund’ for largescale environmental restoration projects in the UK Overseas Territories and sovereign bases, home to 94 per cent of our unique wildlife.
  • Establish a £5 billion fund for flood prevention and climate adaptation over the course of the parliament to improve flood defences, and introduce high standards for flood resilience for buildings and infrastructure in flood risk areas.
  • Ensure that sustainability lies at the heart of fisheries policy, rebuilding depleted fish stocks to achieve their former abundance. Fishers, scientists and conservationists should all be at the centre of a decentralised and regionalised fisheries management system. Immigration policy should also be flexible enough to ensure that both the catching and processing sectors have access to the labour they need.
  • Increase the budget for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ensuring that agencies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency are properly funded

3.    What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

The Liberal Democrats have announced that they would expand the 'Blue Belt' of Marine Protected areas to cover at least 50% of the UK's territorial waters, including overseas territories, by 2030. 

Expanding the network of Marine Protected Areas will mean ensuring better regulation of commercial activities like fishing and protecting biodiversity in key habitats through effective monitoring. 

Liberal Democrats will also protect and restore England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands, through reform of water management and the introduction of higher water efficiency standards. To tackle plastic pollution - a major threat to the marine environment - Liberal Democrats will introduced a Zero-Waste and Resource Efficiency Act, encouraging the transition towards a circular economy in the UK. 

A Liberal Democrat government will take bold steps to safeguard our precious marine environment. This is at the heart of our plan to build a brighter future.  

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, said: 

"Our marine environment is in crisis. Plastic pollution, over-fishing, high volumes of shipping traffic and rising temperatures are just some of the threats to the world's beloved marine species like whales and turtles. Programmes like the BBC's Blue Planet 2 have revealed the scale of the threat across every continent. We must act now to ensure that our global ocean thrives for future generations to enjoy.  

"Working in partnership with UK Overseas Territories, a Liberal Democrat government will continue to expand the 'Blue Belt'. We will aim for marine protected areas to cover 50 percent of our ocean territories by 2030.

"We will put the UK at the heart of global efforts to protect our marine environment."  

4.    What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Maidstone  Lib Dem's on the borough council have set up climate emergency working group and our prioriries are:-

1. Landscape restoration and re-connection, through a ‘Wildwood and Wetland Connect’ initiative, maximising environmental services delivered by woodland and wetland in terms of reduction in flood risk, boosting clean drinking-water resources, improvements in local air quality, lockingup carbon dioxide. 

2. Ensure new and existing development integrates the most up-to-date energy efficiency and renewable energy generation technology. This ambitious aim will be achieved through early engagement with planners, developers, housing providers and other stakeholders. 

3. To introduce cleaner and more resilient infrastructure - ensuring that drinking water, power and broadband supply networks and waste water disposal is resilient to severe weather impacts such as flash flooding and heatwave. 

4. To make the borough the friendliest place in the country for driving and marketing electric or hybrid vehicles and Maidstone a national leader on EV technology and by expanding ‘pollution busting’ street tree coverage and other natural and technological air conditioning innovations.

Please see attachment for more detail...

MBC leading on biodiversity and tackling climate change

Maidstone Borough Council is leading the way on environmental action through its Biodiversity and Climate Change Working Group. The new task force is already delivering innovation and practical, measurable actions to achieve adaptation and resilience to climate change impacts for local communities and the natural world.

This week, MBC held its first working group meeting, which has been set-up following a Policy and Resources Committee meeting held in July, and after the Council declared its recognition of global climate and biodiversity emergencies in April 2019 with cross-party support.

When it met, the group focused on identifying meaningful action to address climate change and ecological decline and common ground for deliverable projects and ideas to take forward together.

Key action areas were agreed at the meeting including:

  1. Landscape restoration and re-connection, through a ‘Wildwood and Wetland Connect’ initiative, maximising environmental services delivered by woodland and wetland in terms of reduction in flood risk, boosting clean drinking-water resources, improvements in local air quality, lockingup carbon dioxide.
  2. Ensure new and existing development integrates the most up-to-date energy efficiency and renewable energy generation technology. This ambitious aim will be achieved through early engagement with planners, developers, housing providers and other stakeholders.
  3. To introduce cleaner and more resilient infrastructure - ensuring that drinking water, power and broadband supply networks and waste water disposal is resilient to severe weather impacts such as flash flooding and heatwave.
  4. To make the borough the friendliest place in the country for driving and marketing electric or hybrid vehicles and Maidstone a national leader on EV technology and by expanding ‘pollution busting’ street tree coverage and other natural and technological air conditioning innovations.

Recognising the size of challenge ahead and the need to put Maidstone residents at the forefront of this work, the group will request ideas from the public, parishes, community groups, businesses and other stakeholders to help understand the climate and ecological challenges facing everyone from across the borough – and come up with practical solutions. It also agreed that expert witnesses will be interviewed to identify initiatives that could be implemented in and around Maidstone.

Cllr Tony Harwood, Chair of the Working Group said: “MBC is pleased to be moving this project ahead with a cross-party working group and to be evidencing real community leadership on the two greatest challenges facing mankind: the accelerating collapse in biodiversity – the variety of life on earth - and man-made climate change. We fully understand that this is a huge local, national and international challenge and are not suggesting we can change things overnight but working together we are absolutely determined to take the tough and effective action needed to make our local communities and environment cleaner and more resilient.

“As a working group we are excited at the prospect of making a positive difference to the lives of people who live and work in the Borough and making our part of Kent more wildlife friendly. We would welcome ideas from our residents (of all ages and of all cultures), parishes, community groups, businesses and other partners.”

Maidstone Borough Council formally declared a climate change and biodiversity emergency in April 2019 and proposed a target for carbon neutrality by 2030. It is also supporting and urging even more ambition from Kent County Council’s emerging Energy and Low Emissions Strategy as well as the existing Kent Environment Strategy."

Stuart Jeffery, Green

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

Climate change and the wider environmental crisis are the most challenging issues humanity has ever faced. We have promised the most decisive action to tackle this, with a radical change to the way we live, how we travel and how we keep warm, over the next ten years. We will put £100bn a year into tackling the crisis, insulating homes, decarbonizing energy, transforming transport and putting communities at the heart of our lives. There is only a short time to act.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

We are proposing a  ten-year transition to agroecological farming will include the transfer of subsidies to farming methods and food systems that create jobs and restore ecosystem health. We will support farmers to replace old fossil fuel machinery, to expand hedgerows, promote smaller scale farming, significantly reduce pesticides and herbicides, and introduce ecologically sustainable methods to reduce flooding.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Our proposal on the environment and climate change will reduce the UK’s impact on the seas, however much of the impacts are wider than the UK. Acidification will be reduced through decarbonisation, action on plastics coupled with better waste management and a move towards zero waste will reduce the amount of plastic entering the seas. We are calling for a review of the Common Fisheries Policy to put sustainability at its heart and stop overfishing.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

The most pressing issues in Maidstone and The Weald are environmental. The congestion in Maidstone and the associated air pollution needs to be tackled through our radical transport policy to reduce traffic. Our farmland needs protection from developers who want to build executive homes on the farm land rather than much needed affordable and social housing close to town centres, jobs and transport links. Finally, flooding will continue to be a problem unless climate change is tackled and ecological flood defences are put into place.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

James Willis

Liberal Democrats

james@maidstonelibdems.org.uk

JamesWillisLD

Stuart Jeffrey

Green

stuart.jeffery@greenparty.org.uk

stuartjeffery

Dan Wilkinson

Labour

danwilko2009@hotmail.co.uk

 

Helen Grant

Conservative

helengrant@helengrant.org

HelenGrantMP

North Thanet

The responses we received are as follows. Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Coral Jones, Labour

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

The Labour plan is to cut  the substantial majority of our emissions by 2030 and set standards for environmental quality.

There will be a huge programme of tree planting, and habitat protection for wild life.

Labour will create apprenticeships for jobs in a green economy.

I would lobby for Thanet to become one of the new national parks proposed in the manifesto to celebrate our wonderful coast.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

A Labour government will aim to produce all our food sustainably and to support land management that takes the environment seriously.

We should get to net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

We need to cut the waste that gets into our seas, especially plastic waste that kills fish and animals and contaminates our food.

We’ll regulate fish quotas to make sure we don’t deplete stocks and put species in danger.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

We need to stop cutting down mature trees, plant more and protect our green spaces.

We’re not making enough use of our capacity to produce green energy from wind wave and solar.

We’ll train people for new green jobs to exploit all this potential.

But most all we need to stop concreting over Thanet!

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Angie Curwen

Liberal Democrats

thanet.chair@eastkentcoastlibdems.org.uk

AngieCurwen1

Coral Jones

Labour

 

drcoral4NThanet

Rob Edwards

Green

 

 

Sir Roger Gale

Conservative

suzy@galemail.com

SirRogerGale

Rochester and Strood

No candidates have responded.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Kelly Tolhurst

Conservative

kelly@kelly4rochesterandstrood.com

KellyTolhurst

Graham Colley

Liberal Democrats

grahamDColley@btinternet.com

GrahamColley

Teresa Murray

Labour

teresamurraytm@aol.com

 

Sonia Hyner

Green

Elections@medway.greenparty.org.uk

 

greensonia4RS

 

Sevenoaks

The responses we received are as follows. Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Gareth Willis, Liberal Democrats

Firstly can I thank you and the Kent Wildlife trust for the excellent work you do. I am a regular user of your open spaces and highly value them.

As you can see from the manifestos of the main parties the Lib Dems have the most Climate friendly proposals. £100b to achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2030 and promoting green technologies are key pillars of our proposals.

I believe that Remaining in the EU is fundamental to protecting farmland and the seas. Issues such as plastic in the seas, soil degradation, biodiversity require multi-governmental approaches. Cooperation across all EU countries is the only way to ensure environmental security across the continent. I am deeply concerned that our environment will be a major casualty of Brexit.

In the local area the key problem is traffic congestion and poor air quality. Cycles lanes, electric vehicles and urban greening will all be key strategies. These aspects have been neglected over the years by our government at a local and national level and will be key priorities for a Lib Dem government.

Paul Wharton, Green Party

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

The Green Party would create a new ‘ecocide’ law to prevent crimes against the natural environment.  We would also set up a new Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) – one integrated body to enforce environmental protections, from clean air to litter-free roads. The greatest threat to the environment comes from global heating, and we are proposing a Green New Deal over a ten-year period that would address its causes by drastically reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

We will give new support to small-scale family farms and to new entrants to farming. This support, including greater security of tenure, will help develop sustainable agriculture. Farmers will be encouraged to adopt diverse uses for their land, such as fitting solar panels on buildings and planting orchards. The incorporation of trees into farming will provide new crops such as fruits and nuts, as well as timber, linking forestry and farming industries. A more densely wooded and hedged landscape will provide new habitats for wildlife, and sanctuaries for threatened species.

We would also develop a soil-health monitoring programme for England, like those in Scotland and Wales, to assess changes in the health of soil over time. The most harmful pesticides would be immediately banned, and there would be rigorous new tests for others.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

We would make at least 30% of UK domestic waters into marine protected areas by 2030. Our Green New Deal addresses the causes of global heating, which threatens coral reefs and other marine life. But we would also ban the production of single-use plastics for packaging and invest in research and development into alternatives. We would extend the successful tax on plastic bags to cover plastic bottles, single-use plastics and microplastics, and introduce plastic-bottle deposit schemes.

4.    What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Clean air, especially round schools. We favour 20mph limits and more opportunities to walk, cycle or use public transport.

Protecting and enhancing our green spaces, with better planning and regulation.

Addressing the climate crisis with measures such as better insulation, greater use of electric vehicles, and improved public transport.

Seamus McCauley, Labour

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

Of all the parties standing in Sevenoaks, only Labour has published a manifesto dedicated solely to the environment, and only Labour has published a manifesto dedicated to our region in the south east. We have clearly-costed, regionally-targeted plans for environmental restoration here. 

Labour's Plan for Nature

Labour's Manifesto for the South East

We plan to create ten new national parks and plant two billion trees. We will make £19bn of our green transformation fund available for green projects in the south east. And our plans to move urgently to a low-carbon economy, improve public transport, accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and to promote walking and cycling is the only credible plan at this election to tackle the climate emergency and protect our natural environment. 

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

Even the Tories acknowledge that if nothing changes this country has 30-40 harvests left to us. Michael Gove, at the time Environment Secretary, admitted as much only two years ago. But the Tories aren't planning to do anything about it - they don't even show up the climate and nature debates either at national level or here in Sevenoaks. Our environmental manifesto promises instead a move away from the intensive farming that will render our soil unviable within a generation and instead "embed and enhance in policy the responsibility for farmers to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds and animals during the breeding season, and encourage the growth of wildflowers."

 

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

We'll introduce Marine Conservation Zones via public discussion, and create a single, simple system of "national marine park" designation to cut through the miasma of red tape that currently enmeshes this issue,

 

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

Protecting the green belt from unsustainable over-development. At the national level, the Conservative government pretend to respect the green belt but then imposed housebuilding targets on 93%-greenbelt Sevenoaks which could only have been met by paving it over. The attempts of even our Tory-led local council to reject those targets led to the local plan being thrown out, so the Tories in Westminster are clearly deadly serious about totally ignoring local objections to building on the greenbelt, no matter who raises them.

Air quality is many areas of the country has been found to be illegally low, and ours is particularly problematic at the junction by Bat and Ball station, and in the centre of Sevenoaks. Our plans to support car scrappage and replacement with electric fleets, restore 3000 bus routes and support cycling and walking will go a long way to improving our local air quality.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Seamus McCauley

Labour

sevenoakslabour@icloud.com

seamusmccauley

Gareth Willis

Liberal Democrats

willis01732@gmail.com

SevenoaksLibDem

Paul Wharton

Green

press@sevenoaks.greenparty.org.uk

 

Laura Trott

Conservative

office@sevenoaksconservatives.org

 

Sittingbourne and Sheppey

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Ben Martin, Liberal Democrats

Locally I have been pushing for improvements to biodiversity, through the planning system and through the way Swale’s parks and green spaces are managed, when attending the planning committee as a substitute in the past few weeks, I asked if the proposed new bus shelters for a development could have green roofs to offer habitat for bees and other insects in our urban areas.  As a party we are committed to putting the environment and tackling climate change at the heart of government policy, banning fracking, reintroducing subsides for green energy, setting up a new green investment bank and ensuring there is no net increase in runways. We would increase UK forest cover by planting an additional 60 million trees a year to act as nature carbon sinks, while restoring peatlands and other natural carbon sinks, which will result in increased habitat for wildlife. Liberal Democrats will bring forward a Nature Act, modelled on the Climate Change Act, setting targets for the restoration of nature, improving biodiversity, reducing air pollution and cleaning up our rivers. Establish an Office of Environmental Protection to scrutinise and enforce environmental standards on government and hold them to account on meeting the targets on restoring the natural environment and cutting emissions. Reform farming subsidies on a public money for public goods approach – rewarding farmers for contributing to the restoration of nature, improving biodiversity and farming in a nature friendly way, while growing the food we need. Ensure the UK’s high environmental and animal welfare standards are maintained in the future trade deals within the EU. At Lib Dem Conference back in September I spoke on the environment motion calling for the biodiversity crisis to be treated as seriously as the climate crisis. – I will continue to be an advocate for protecting and improving biodiversity.

Reform farming subsidies on a public money for public goods approach – rewarding farmers for contributing to the restoration of nature, improving biodiversity and farming in a nature friendly way, while growing the food we need

Our Nature Act, modelled on the Climate Change Act, setting targets for the restoration of nature, improving biodiversity, reducing air pollution and cleaning up our rivers, combined with action on plastics would help us to clean up our costal waters and seas.

Given the diverse nature of Swale Borough and the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Constituency, with sites of special scientific interest, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and multiple nature reserves, for me the most pressing issue is to protect and enhance the natural environment we have, and to ensure new developments provide wildlife corridors, and benefits for wildlife. We have some of the most beautiful natural spaces anywhere, and I believe we can utilise them to help improve the economy of the area whilst also protecting them.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Gordon Henderson

Conservative

vote4gordonhenderson@gmail.com

 

Clive Johnson

Labour

contact@sittingbourneandsheppeylabour.co.uk

clivjoh

Sam Collins

Green

tim.valentine@greenparty.org.uk

SwaleGreens

Ben Martin

Liberal Democrats

BenJMartinLibDem@gmail.com

BenMartin_LD

South Thanet

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Becky Wing, Green Party

The recently released Green Party manifesto puts 'people and places' at the heart of its policies which means we are the only party truly taking issues to do with the natural environment, faming, our seas and rivers as well as key environmental issues seriously. I would like to focus on the issues for my own constituency, within which I live and work. During the recent local elections I was one of the 3 Green Councillors who was elected to Thanet District Council and we have already begun to have an effect. Just being present means the 2 main parties now have the climate emergency and environment as key issues, but we need them to deliver on. We have serious issues relating to flooding in our lower areas; Sandwich, Margate and around the Watsum River. We also have one of the lowest tree coverages and other habitats in the country, something we should be deeply disturbed by. In addition, our local plan includes the building of a further 17,100 home, much on farm land or on our green areas, despite the fact we have some of the most dense town in Kent. We have a number of protected marine environment and an SSSI all of which we need to protect.

We need a national and local government response to this as well as community involvement; the seeds of which we have already established especially in Ramsgate. Funding must be moved away from 'propping up' big business to focussing on the environment and people; ensuring we protect what we have and expand the habitats we have. We need to reduce the use of cars and improve cycling and walking routes, We need a planning process that protects the environment and not the developer, we need to address seriously carbon emissions and promote the Preston-Model to encourage shopping local to support communities and reduce car use. We need to increase funding from central government to areas of poverty like Thanet so they can use the local environmental assets they have to generate income without compromising the environment. We nee to reduce the consumption of meat through positive campaigns such as 'meat free Monday's' to help end intensive farming techniques and we need to stop ASAP the live trade export from the Port of Ramsgate. As for fox hunting and other such cruel sports we need to ensure legislation is tighten up and that the police have the resources and staff to enforce.

Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Labour

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

Labour has the most ambitious climate plans ever put forward by any major UK political party.

We want to cut the substantial majority of our carbon emissions by 2030.

We will introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill, with new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection.

Our Plan for Nature will set legally binding targets to drive the restoration of species and habitats and launch an ambitious programme of tree planting, with both forestry and native woodland species.

We will create 10 new National Parks alongside a revised system of protected area designations, which will guard existing wildlife sites and join up important habitats, while also ensuring more people can enjoy living closer to nature.

We will establish a new environmental tribunal to ensure that administrative decisions are consistent with environmental and nature-recovery obligations.

We will train people in the skills we need to tackle the climate crisis. 870,000 climate apprenticeships will offer training to school leavers and people looking to change jobs mid-career, creating the engineers, technicians and construction workers we need to transition to a green economy.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

A Labour government will maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but redirect them to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production.

We aim to achieve net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Waste, in particular plastic waste, pollutes our seas, killing wildlife and contaminating our food. We will make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal, encouraging more sustainable design and manufacturing.

We will set maximum sustainable yields for all shared fish stocks and redistribute fish quotas according to both social and environmental criteria.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

If we fail to tackle the climate crisis, large parts of South Thanet will be under water. Beyond this, our coastline is endangered by pollution and our precious green spaces are threatened by overbuilding. We have huge potential for the use of green energy like solar, wind and wave, yet we are not making the most of these great resources.

If elected, I will campaign against coastal pollution and overbuilding and maximise green energy in South Thanet. If Labour forms the next government, I will make sure that my constituency benefits from our Green Industrial Revolution. Central to this will be building a sustainable and thriving economy that creates jobs and apprenticeships and helps us fight the climate emergency.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Craig Mackinlay

Conservative

craig@craigmackinlay.com

cmackinlay

Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt

Labour

rebecca.souththanet@gmail.com

RGordon_Nesbitt

Becky Wing

Green

beckywing@btinternet.com

 

Martyn Pennington

Liberal Democrats

martyn.alfa@gmail.com

 

Tonbridge and Malling

The responses we received are as follows. Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Tom Tugendhat, Conservative

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

We are passionate about saving the environment and very aware of the current challenges and crises that face it. That is why the Conservative’s Environment Bill will guarantee that we will protect and restore our natural environment, setting up an independent Office for Environmental Protection, introducing legal targets for air quality, continue to support the Great Northumberland Forest with an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament and create new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, among other things.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

We rely on our fantastic farmers and once we have left the European Union we will be able to create more suitable laws to ensure that land managers are supported in contributing to nature’s recovery. We rely on farmers to protect our land, and it is only right that they are assisted with that.

  1. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

It is vital that our seas are protected from plastic pollution and that we are able to fish, without over fishing. That is why I am delighted that the Conversative Government banned microplastics and has gone some way to banning other plastics we all too often find in our oceans, too. After we leave the European Union we will take back full control of fishing waters, there will be a legal commitment to fish sustainably and a legal requirement for a plan to achieve maximum sustainable yield for each stock.

  1. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful places, with fields and fields of countryside, woodland and wildlife, but many of the most pressing environmental issues nationwide also affect Tonbridge and Malling, including the human impact on our wildlife and our carbon footprint. We need to leave our local environment as we found it and I am pleased the Conservative policies will allow us to do this, cutting down our carbon emissions and using renewable energy.

April Clark, Green

1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

Responding to the climate crisis must be at the heart of every decision we make, as we have only a short time left to act. The Green Party has laid out a bold plan in our original Green New Deal, committing to decarbonising by 2030 and investing £100bn a year to achieve this. Measures including insulating homes, fundamentally changing our energy provisions, halting road building and instead investing in free, efficient public transport are intended to have significant impact and quickly.

2. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

The way we produce our food needs to support employment, the ecosystem and improve public health. A ten-year transition to agroecological farming will include the transfer of subsidies to farming methods and food systems that create jobs and restore ecosystem health, including the quality of our soils and rivers. It will also advance food sovereignty, including by localising food systems and putting control over the resources to produce, distribute and access food in the hands of communities and workers across the food system.

3. What will you do to ensure we protect and revive our seas?

Our Green New Deal to tackle the climate crisis will certainly help protect and revive our seas. For example, the amount of plastic that ends up in the sea from the UK will be drastically reduced by measures such as banning the production of single-use plastics for use in packaging and investing in research and development into alternatives to plastic. We will also extend the successful tax on plastic bags to cover plastic bottles, single-use plastics and microplastics, and extend plastic bottle deposit schemes. We are calling for a review of the Common Fisheries Policy to put sustainability at its heart and stop overfishing.

4. What do you believe are the most pressing environmental issues in your constituency and how will you address them?

In Tonbridge and Malling, some of the most pressing environmental issues include:

  • Brexit – this would mean job losses, the end of freedom of movement and less protections for the environment. In our part of Kent it would also mean chaos caused by Operation Brock which would heave a knock-on impact on air quality and pollution.
  • Building on Green Belt – we have a local plan under review right now that provides for significant building on green belt land, while sites for thousands of homes on brownfield land have been overlooked. We need to build the right kind of homes in the right place, for the benefit of our community and our natural environment, not private developers.

Transport – many people in Tonbridge and Malling rely on the rail network to commute to work, and the current privatised franchise model is badly broken. In addition, our wholly inadequate and very expensive buses are letting down rural residents, students and those on low incomes. Without a joined-up approach to public transport, we cannot expect people to make the changes they need to on a personal level to help fight climate change and improve air quality

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Tom Tugendhat

Conservative

tom@tomtugendhat.org.uk

TomTugendhat

Richard Morris

Liberal Democrats

 

morris_libdem

Dylan Jones

Labour

TonbridgeKent.Labour@gmail.com

DylanAlexJones

April Clark

Green

april.clark@greenparty.org.uk

VoteGreenApril

Tunbridge Wells

The responses we received are as follows.  Some candidates did not reply.  Please encourage them to do so by emailing or tweeting them with the 4 questions above, mentioning Kent Wildlife Trust (@KentWildlife).

Antonio Weiss, Labour

You have - hopefully! - seen that this is an enormous focus area for the Labour Party. I'd like to do justice to the boldness and radicalism of our approach, so I thought I'd share with you - from my briefings as your future MP - some key policies we will enact as a Labour government to address the crisis in the natural environment.

A Green Industrial Revolution

Environment

  • Review and improve protected area designations.
  • Introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill.
  • Maintain and continuously improve existing EU standards of environmental regulation.
  • Introduce a new Clean Air Act.
  • £5.6bn to improve flood defences, prioritising North West England, Yorkshire and East Midlands.
  • Set legally binding targets to drive the restoration of species and habitats.
  • Start a programme of tree planting, with both forestry and native woodland species.
  • Fully fund the Environment Agency and other frontline environment agencies.
  • Create new national parks alongside a revised system of other protected area designations.
  • Establish a new environmental tribunal to ensure that administrative decisions are consistent with environmental and nature-recovery obligations.

Land

  • Maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but repurpose them to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production.
  • Invest in more county farms.

Food

  • Introduce A Right to Food.
  • Halve food bank usage within a year and remove the need for them altogether in three years.
  • Establish a National Food Commission and review the Allotments Act.
  • Re-establish an Agricultural Wages Board in England.
  • Set maximum sustainable yields for all shared fish stocks, redistribute fish quotas along social and environmental criteria.
  • If people vote to leave the EU, require the majority of fish caught under a UK quota to be landed in UK ports.
  • Aim to achieve net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040.

Waste

  • Make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal.
  • Reintroduce bottle-return schemes.
  • Invest in three new recyclable steel plants in areas with a proud history of steel manufacturing.

Animal welfare

  • Introduce an animal welfare commissioner.
  • Prohibit the sale of snares and glue traps.
  • End the badger cull.
  • Ban the keeping of primates as pets.
  • Work internationally to end commercial whaling.
  • Ban the importation of hunting trophies of threatened species.

Boost police funding by £4.5m to tackle rural and wildlife crime.

The candidates we have details for are:

Name

Party

Email

Twitter Handle

Ben Chapelard

Liberal Democrats

benchapelard@hotmail.co.uk ·

BenChapelard

Antonio Weiss

Labour

TWLabour@outlook.com

antonioeweiss

Greg Clark

Conservative

greg@gregclark.org

 GregClarkTW

The Lobbying Act

In the run up to the 2019 UK General Election, all non-political organisations are required to take particular notice of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 (the Lobbying Act), which became law on 30th January 2014.  It changed the established rules relating to activities undertaken by non-party campaigners (including charities), which could reasonably be regarded as being intended to influence the outcome of national elections in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland (including the UK General Election).

The Act aims to ensure that between 13th December 2018 and 12th December 2019, expenditure intended to influence the voting decisions of the general public is kept within reasonable limits and is reported openly, clearly and concisely.  All organisations intending to spend more than £20K in England, or more than £10K in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, on a specified set of ‘regulated activities’ must register with the Electoral Commission and report all their regulated campaigning expenditure to them.

The Wildlife Trusts, including Kent Wildlife Trust, do not intend to register with the Electoral Commission, as during the restricted period, we have been focusing (and will continue to focus) our efforts on influencing the policies that will be adopted and promoted by the political parties and individual candidates, rather than on influencing the way in which the public votes at the election.  We are politically impartial: we do not support one candidate or another,  or one party over the next.  We will champion the natural environment – on land and at sea – and will be working to gain support for our views from politicians from right across the political spectrum.

We will be promoting our views directly to our members and committed supporters, to journalists and the media, and to the politicians and political parties themselves, highlighting legislation and policies that will help nature to recover, as we have done for many years.  We will aim to ensure that anything that we communicate directly to the general public (on our web site, in leaflets and posters, at events, through social media or in paid advertising) is factual, balanced and entirely independent of influence by those standing for election or those helping them to do so.  We will continue to respond to government consultations and to contribute to public debates that are not directly related to the General Election, as you would expect.  And we will continue our work to increase everyone’s awareness and understanding of the natural world, and why it is a vital part of all our lives.