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  • The Rother Alliance

The Time is now - Climate Coalition lobbying meeting report.




On Tuesday 30th June, there was a lobby of MPs online organised by the Climate Coalition a national body bringing together over 140 organisations dedicated to action against climate change.


The Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman kindly agreed to meet local activists. Sadly the Hastings and Rye MP and Rother District Councillor Sally Ann Hart could not find time in her diary to meet on the day.


The Alliance was represented at the lobby with Huw by Cllr Polly Gray and Cllr Sue Prochak. The event was very ably organised and chaired by Barbara Echlin, a Trustee of Rother Environmental Group. There were 25 people present, representing 14 different interest groups in the community. Here are a few of the issues that were discussed. 1. Huw as Chair of the Transport Select Committee said that every future report of the Committee will be taking into consideration the net zero target for carbon, as transport has the biggest carbon footprint. 2. Huw explained that pressure of work caused by Covid 19 had delayed progress on the Environment Bill, but it will be back in the House in September. 3. Huw supports the use of tap water in refillable bottles as opposed to commercial bottled water. 4. Huw said Government has committed £9 billion for retrofitting of home insulation but this is not for owner occupied homes, and the sum has to be confirmed. 5. Under the new agricultural subsidy system, Huw agreed that the payments for ‘public good’ could include provision of new walking and cycling paths across land. 6. Huw was concerned about Government guidance not to use public transport. He wants to see the message getting out that it is OK to use public transport. 7. Huw values local shops during the pandemic, and does not support extending Sunday trading hours for larger shops. 8. Huw wants to see encouragement for walking, cycling and e-scooters. 9. Huw is supportive of making it easier to charge electric vehicles from differing charging points, but envisaged for the future the use of hydrogen-powered vehicles. 10. Huw felt that electrification of all rail lines does not make economic sense. He is in favour of retrofitting diesel engines with hydrogen, and also advocates the introduction of battery technology for electric trains on non-electrified lines. 11. Huw regrets that the HS2 plans have not embraced any innovative green technology. 12. Huw was attracted by the suggestion coming from Netherlands that Government could lend money for wholesale retrofitting of insulation in houses which could cost up to £40,000 each by taking out an additional mortgage on the house at a low rate of interest. 13. Huw said he was committed to nature, the restoration of hedgerows, the planting of trees, as improved nature creates a healthier environment. 13. Huw noted that the idea of a new station at Glyne Gap had been looked at before. 14. Huw is worried that the flood defence contract for Pevensey Bay area is coming to an end. 15. Huw feels at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow next year, the UK can take a lead, and is encouraged by the virtual elimination of coal as an energy fuel. He wants to see Western green technology improved and exported to developing countries. 16. Having taken part in a recent Bexhill Chamber of Commerce meeting, Huw said how disappointed he was in traders’ negative response to the proposed pedestrianisation of Western Road, especially when so many examples across the country, showed increased footfall and trade, making shopping a more pleasant experience.


You can read more on Rother's climate strategy here


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