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The Conservative Party does not talk enough about its strong record on the environment. As Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, you might expect me to say that. But I find it consistently frustrating that this Conservative Government does not shout from the rooftops about how much progress we’ve made on environmental issues over the past seven years.

Just look at the facts. Since 2010, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are down 18% and our carbon emissions down 19%. In the last year, over a quarter of our electricity came from renewable sources, keeping the UK ahead of target on our renewable energy directives.

Meanwhile, we’ve introduced a five pence charge on plastic bags, decreasing their use by 83% in just two years, started phasing out unabated coal-fired power stations, ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change and will soon introduce laws to ban the sale and manufacture of microbeads. A strong record of action.

But still, the tag sticks that Conservatives don’t care about the environment. It’s infuriating and something I am passionate about changing. The clue is in the name – Conservatives care deeply about ‘conserving’ our natural environment and passing it on in good condition to future generations.

That’s why I am a Bright Blue supporter. The think tank does fantastic work highlighting the positive steps we have already taken on the environment and keeps pressing the Government to go further.

In April, Bright Blue published an excellent report on Conservative voters’ views on the environment. Written by Sam Hall, a real rising star in modern conservative thought, the report surveyed Conservative voters and showed they are just as passionate as any other voters on environmental issues. Very large majorities of Tories want to maintain or strengthen environmental protections after Brexit in areas like water quality and beach cleanliness (96%), air pollution targets (92%) and recycling (90%).

This is great ammunition to remind the Government to keep up the progress on environmental issues. Moreover, as we leave the EU, I want Ministers to look to maintain, and enhance where possible, the UK’s environmental standards. Whether that means reforming farm support payments to better promote our natural environment, or boosting animal welfare standards, the Government should always be looking to do more on environmental matters.

Over the past year, I have been proud to campaign with Bright Blue on the issue of air pollution. This is a problem linked to over 40,000 premature deaths per year, with 40% of local authorities breaking air pollution limits. Working with Bright Blue, I have called for additional funding and powers for councils to tackle toxic air, as well as a diesel scrappage scheme to replace some of the dirtiest diesel vehicles on our roads with electric ones.

The Government has now published its new air quality plan to tackle the problem. I look forward to holding the Government to account on their promises and ensuring toxic emissions are reduced in inner cities as quickly as possible. I’m sure Bright Blue will continue their strong campaigning record in this area.

This is the most important Parliament in decades for our environmental legislation. As we leave the EU and create our own domestic environmental regulations, I want to make the Government commit to the highest possible standards. We need to press the Government to continue its good environmental work and remind Ministers how deeply Conservative voters care about environmental protections. In that task, I know I’ll have a strong ally in Bright Blue.

Neil Parish MP is the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. This is an article from Bright Blue’s latest magazine ‘Capitalism in crisis?