Letter to Mr Wiggin MP

In last week’s Talking Point Bill Wiggin proposed a prize, to be paid for by others, to encourage volunteers to combat flooding. The work of volunteers of all sorts is certainly vital after Government cuts to local authority budgets.

However, your readers should know that Mr Wiggin’s other recent environmental efforts have been directed at trying to roll back the levels of protection we enjoyed in the European Union. In the Parliamentary debate on the Environmental Bill on 26th January, he was alone in proposing two wrecking amendments. They replaced obligations on planning authorities to take account of phosphate levels in rivers and protection of important habitats with discretion to ignore these issues. They followed his interview with the Hereford Times on 4th December[1] arguing that this would make housebuilding easier. In Parliament he claimed to be reversing law “imposed by a Dutch court” although later he admitted that Herefordshire policy followed updated legal advice from Natural England. The way to prevent pollution is to enforce regulations, not to weaken planning law as Mr Wiggin wanted.  

To make amends, Mr Wiggin should question the Government’s decision to leave full implementation of new curbs on exports of plastic waste to developing countries until further debate on the Environment Bill. The new rules, agreed under the Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes, were partly inspired by David Attenborough’s series Blue Planet II showing plastic embedded in marine life. The EU has already strengthened and implemented the rules, but the UK is dawdling.  

[1] https://www.herefordtimes.com/news/18922238.mp-bill-wiggin-proposes-changes-reverse-ban-house-building/

Published by guywilkinson

I am at the further end of a long journey which has taken me through times living abroad in Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius and Brussels as well as a great variety of countries for shorter visits; through a working life in international development, the European institutions, multinational business and latterly in the Church of England as a parish priest, Archdeacon and adviser to the Church nationally on inter religious affairs. For the past five years I have been a vicar again in the Earls Court area. I have chaired the London Faiths Forum, initiated the Near Neighbours programmes. I am a trustee of St Ethelburga Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. I have grown up within the Church of England's parishes, chaplaincies and schools where its heartbeat is and I value it and its contribution to the formation of individuals and communities above all other structures, believing that it represents at its best the incarnational love of God for all people

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