The Stroud MP's weekly column.

Stroud the Valleys and Vale really does pride itself on being one of the greenest places in the UK and I know there is much support from local people to help protect the environment and tackle climate change.

I believe that technology and government policy, along with communities working together, will find good solutions and sustain living standards. 

So, I very much welcome the Prime Minister’s ambitious ten-point blueprint to make the UK a world leader in tackling climate change and make us net carbon neutral by 2050.

I don’t have space here to go into all the ten points but it will be a £12 billion investment in 250,000 green jobs matched three times over by private money.

Headlines include having enough offshore wind capacity to power every home by 2030 which will mean 40GW of power – a move that will support up to 60,000 jobs.

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars are also to be banned by 2030 and the government is supporting the advance of nuclear as a clean energy source by developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs.

Other not so well publicised but equally important announcements in the plan include, protecting and restoring our natural environment by planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year.

The moves to encourage cutting-edge technologies and making the City of London the global centre of green finance are also most welcome.

Some of these ambitions will be challenging, yet I know some will claim it is not enough.  I do not however support unsubstantiated claims that tell everyone we face extinction in just a few years if we do not stop economic activity.  This government is clearly committed to tackling climate change and furthering the green agenda while protecting our economy and living standards. 

Lockdown will end in a week’s time and I have already received an assurance from the Prime Minister that Stroud will return to the tier system. This is the best way to allow everyone to get on with their lives while making sure infection rates do not get out of control.

I am pressing ministers to look at a range of changes including for sports and amending the rule of six to allow children under 12 not to be counted as this will help families meet together more easily. Young children do not seem to either get Covid or transmit it, so I think this is a sensible change to the rule and I hope it happens.

News about vaccines continues to cheer us all and it appears a rollout of a vaccination programme initially for the vulnerable and frontline health workers is coming closer. Fingers crossed we may be able to return to normality by the spring.