Looking after our environment is one of the most important issues of this generation. The Wealden countryside is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and I want to make sure that we pass on a healthy and clean environment to our children.
🌲 Ashdown Forest 🌲
The Ashdown Forest is the jewel of Wealden countryside and it is my privilege to represent it in Parliament. Looking after the Forest and ensuring we maintain a healthy, clean and vibrant heathland is of critical importance. I work closely with the Ashdown Forest Conservators, the Ashdown Forest Rangers and the CEO of the Ashdown Forest on ways how to best look after this treasured piece of our countryside and helping it thrive.
🌳 New Environment Plan 🌳
The Environment Secretary set out ambitious plans to treble tree-planting rates in England, restore at least 35,000 hectares of degraded peatlands and set a new world-leading target on species abundance for 2030, aimed at halting the decline of species. We are putting our wildlife and natural environment at the heart of our green recovery, boosting biodiversity and creating thousands of new jobs as we accelerate towards net zero by 2050 and build back better and greener.
🎣Completion of Eridge Stream habitat project 🎣
I secured a £20,000 grant from the Environment Agency to improve fish spewing opportunities in the Eridge Stream. Tonnes of High Weald ironstone gravel as well as wood were introduced to the stream to form new spawning sites for trout and other fish and change the stream to a more favourable habitat of fast-flowing ripples.
💦 Kiln Wood natural flood management project 💦
It was great to meet with representatives from the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency to see the natural flood management interventions at Kiln Wood. As part of the Natural Flood Management project, 30 structures such as leaky dam structures, banktop diverters, brash barriers and gully stuffing work have been utilised and strategically placed to slow, store and filter water in the channel and in small floodplain areas during high flows.
♻️ Making Wealden litter-free ♻️
I am supporting “Do the right thing!”, a campaign launched by Wealden District Council to help address the noticeable increase in litter across the district. I'm pleased that as part of this campaign, additional new general waste and dog waste bins have been installed across the area and that Highways England are working on multi-agency response to prevent people from throwing rubbish from their cars.
I have previously volunteered with Brighter Crowborough group who help pick up litter and help keep Wealden clean and seen first-hand the extent of littering and the damage it can do. I am grateful to all the volunteers who dedicate their free time in order to pick up litter and help keep our streets, woodlands and waterways clean.
I am pleased to have awarded Neil Kerridge, otherwise known as “One bloke with a litter picker” with the Wealden Hero Award for his fantastic efforts making Wealden litter-free.He dedicates his free time remove litter from the roadside along the area's main roads and has also recently expanded his work to straightening and cleaning road signs, which inspired others to do the same all over East Sussex.
♻️ Supporting the Forest Row Recycling project ♻️
After speaking to the Waste Recycling Action Group (WRAG), which has an overwhelming support in the community, I held a virtual meeting with the leader of the East Sussex County Council and WRAG representatives, to discuss the future of the Recycling Centre in Forest Row. I have previously campaigned against the closure of the recycling centre in Forest Row and backed the project. I am keen to help local residents in their quest to reopen the centre as community asset. The Forest Row Recycling Centre would be a great place for Wealden residents to dispose and repurpose their waste safely and considerately.
🚐 Zero Carbon vans made in Lower Dicker 🚐
I'm supporting Wealden-based engineering company JLC Group who make fully electric vehicles that are made locally on-site in Lower Dicker near Hailsham. The vans are designed for city couriers, airports, seaports, local authorities, distribution centres or warehouses. The vehicles are assembled on-site in Lower Dicker near Hailsham, providing jobs and experience to young apprentices from local colleges.
🚌 Zero Carbon Bus project from Wadhurst 🚌
I am supporting the Zero Carbon Tour of the UK’s first fully electric coach launched by Wealden-born company, Planet Mark, founded by a Wadhurst resident Steve Malkin.
Buses are a key public transport system and it is vital that we work towards making them cleaner and greener. I led on the environmental aspect of bus transport during my time as Transport Minister and launched 263 new low emission buses and a £48 million investment into new green vehicles and infrastructure in 2019. We need to empower individuals, communities and businesses to go green and I am proud that a Wealden-born company is leading this zero carbon initiative.