George Osborne must commit to the Swansea Tidal Lagoon

The Chancellor explicitly mentioned the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in his Autumn Statement in 2014. I'm asking him now, 18 months later, to recommit to our Swansea Lagoon in the Budget next week. If he doesn't people will naturally think he is playing games and that his 'review' will simply kick the project into the long grass.
 
The latest research shows that methane leakage during fracking is 8% and so fracking is two and a half times worse than coal in terms of climate change, the Chancellor must use the Budget to promote green energy like Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon instead of fracking which is worse than coal for climate change.
 
80% of fossil fuels cannot be used if our the world is to keep temperature increases below 2% as agreed in the Paris Climate Change Conference. Meanwhile if nuclear energy provided 15% of world energy then uranium supplies would be exhausted within 10 years.
 
The Chancellor must use the Budget to invest in sustainable power and Swansea's Tidal Lagoon is the first page in a new chapter of wave energy that could make Britain a world leader.

Diesel Bill Second Reading

Today my Air Quality in Urban Centres Bill receives its Second Reading. The Bill has the support of MPs from all parties, the British Lung Foundation, the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. 

Last week a report from the Royal Colleges revealed that there are 40,000 premature deaths caused annually by air pollution in the UK.

The Air Quality Bill will save thousands of lives and billions of pounds every year. Our cities are pumping out belches of diesel clouds which threaten the lives of families, in particular young children and unborn babies. The Bill gives local authorities the power to give residents a breath of fresh air by extending low emissions zones, tram systems, pedestrianisation and cycle-lanes, and even to ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from urban centres.

Motor manufacturers like Volkswagen, caught black-handed cheating emissions tests need to clean up their act as the Bill brings in tough new tests on diesel-burning cars.

The future is electric and hydrogen powered transport, and the Government needs to provide a national network to top up both electric and LPG vehicles.

My Bill means that the Environment Agency will be able to step in when a pollution cloud has hit an area, so that windows, doors and even roads can be closed, and if necessary local people evacuated until it is safe to return.

There are already too many children missing school because of asthma attacks, caused by big diesel cars lying idly at their gates. Every parent’s first duty is to their child, and my Bill will protect clean air to ensure healthy and happy families.

In his budget, George Osborne needs to ensure we invest in a greener, cleaner future in our cities, so that our children can have a happier healthier future. My Bill aims to take the ‘die’ and ‘ill’ out of dies-ill.

 

Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Air pollution causes tens of thousands of early deaths every year, increases the risk of lung cancer and impairs child lung development. Geraint Davies’ Bill further highlights these unacceptable dangers to the nation’s lung health. Immediate action must be taken by the government.”


The real issue is 'in' or 'out', not candyfloss negotiations

There are overwhelming reasons for the UK to stay in the EU. Our membership secures 25,000 jobs in Swansea bay alone, and the EU helps to clean up our environment, while protecting water and air quality. The Prime Minister’s negotiation risks being a distraction from the central issue that Europe continues to shape our future, whether we are in it or not. The issue is whether we want to be in the driving seat, if we stay in, or a passenger if we leave.
On Tuesday I challenged the Minister of Europe when asking: “Does the Minister agree that the central issue is that if, whether we are in or out, we want lasting influence over the social, environmental and economic future of Europe, we need to stay in? This candyfloss negotiation—it is not possible to ratify it legally in a treaty, but it is welcome—may be sweet to taste, but appears much bigger than it in fact is and will not have a lasting impact unless we stay in the Union to see it through.”

Climate change means we need flood protection sooner, not later.

Before becoming an MP, my role through the Environment Agency was to provide flood defences across Wales. We must adopt a more creative approach to land use management and storage, so that water is held upstream and prevented from overflowing into our sewers by rainwater capture off roofs.
 
 
It's not good enough that the government simply reacts to flooding events, when the world has accepted that we will see another 2 degrees rise in temperature by 2020. This inevitably means more flooding.
 
 
In Parliament I asked Lizz Truss, the Environment Secretary, whether she accepts the facts about climate change. I said: “Does the Secretary of State not accept what is happening with climate change? Once-in-200-year events have now become once-in-100-years events, and it was accepted at the Paris conference that another 2 degrees would probably be added to world temperatures. There is surely no excuse for not investing more and more—even more than we planned to invest following the 2007 Pitt review. Will the Secretary of State urge the Government to invest even more than is proposed under the current agreement?”
 
 
The Environment Secretary responded by saying that the Government is “reviewing our national resilience and looking at our climate change models. Climate change is currently built into our six-year plan.” Following my point, she also said, “we clearly need to look at [climate change] again in the light of recent events.”
 
 
Climate change means we need flood protection sooner, not later.

In Parliament I warned the Prime Minister that our local environment is at risk from the US-EU trade deal, TTIP.

I said: "Britain is taking great leadership in environmental policy in Europe and beyond. Will the Prime Minister use the Paris conference to press the EU to ensure that imperatives on climate change from that conference are fully integrated into the US-EU free trade agreement, so that companies do not fine Governments when they pass legislation to meet stronger emissions targets?"

The Prime Minister replied saying that is was “an important point” that would need to be “properly dealt with”. The PM also affirmed the importance of implementing the agreements made at the Paris conference in the UK and EU.

As it stands our environmental standards are at risk. In Swansea it is important that our beaches and rivers are kept safe from fracking companies and others who will use the provisions of TTIP as it puts profits before public and environmental interests, I am glad I put this issue squarely on the Prime Minister’s radar.

 

Over 500 people contacted me concerned that TTIP will put too much power in the hands of companies, I am committed to ensuring that my constituents are properly respected and the agreement is changed.

Last year I led a Parliamentary debate in which dozens of MPs contributed, calling for greater scrutiny of TTIP. It is important that the Prime Minister is properly engaged with this important agreement that could undermine our environment. The needs of our environment must be genetically edited into the EU-US free trade agreement, so that greater trade occurs alongside our environmental surroundings.

Investment rules governing multinationals simply cannot trump agreements about our environment made at the Paris climate change conference. I will continue to press the government on the US-EU trade deal.