Stamford and Bourne MP Gareth Davies discusses sustainable farming
After my last column highlighting the great work going on in Parliament across political parties to champion equality of service and accessibility for people living with disabilities, I am delighted that our local area is set to gain a share of the Government’s new £30m Changing Places fund, writes Stamford and Bourne MP Gareth Davies. Changing Places are accessible toilets which are designed to cater to the needs of people with limited mobility, alongside their families and carers with provisions such as adult-sized changing benches and hoists. Their importance and absence in our area has been raised with me by constituents with disabled children and so I hope this new funding for our district council will result in more changing places facilities being installed in our towns. This will make a huge difference in enabling people and their families to go out and about in the knowledge that specialised facilities are nearby.
There has also been much discussion in Parliament recently about food security given the awful situation in Ukraine and Government support has been extended to the farming community in response to concerns over the growing price of agricultural fertilisers and the potential impact this may have on the domestic food supply. As synthetic fertilisers are made from petroleum by-products, Russia’s invasion has led to a sharp price rise. The Government has responded by launching the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and launching a temporary pause on the use of urea-based fertilisers.
The SFI will pay farmers to sow plants which act as ‘green manures’ by reintroducing nitrogen into the soil to help reduce reliance on synthetic additives. These measures will encourage a move towards sustainable practices, building soil health and reducing erosion.
The greatest danger to our food security comes from the damage inflicted on soils, wildlife, and to the climate so the promotion of sustainable practices will be central to maintaining our food security and increasing resilience in the years to come.
These announcements sit alongside ongoing efforts to protect nature through the new Environment Act which includes new long-term targets covering water, air quality and wildlife diversity.
Commitments have also been made to halve the waste that ends up in landfill and incinerators by 2042 and create over one million acres of new wildlife-rich habitats beyond protected sites.
I am always struck by the fact that whenever I visit one of our local schools, the environment is the number one issue they ask me about and so I am pleased that we are looking to the long-term to make sure that future generations inherit cleaner environment than we did.