Backing our farmers and fishermen has been a top priority for me over the past four years. Whether through promoting a “buy local” approach, working to shorten supply chains, improving funding opportunities or talking up regenerative agriculture and the fishing sectors, I have stood up for our rural and coastal communities to ensure they have a strong voice in Westminster.
With my support, we have published national food security reports and developed the Environmental Land Management scheme to support food producers and protect the environment. I have lobbied hard to improve the work of the Rural Payments Agency and enhance DEFRA’s engagement and understanding of the agricultural and fishing communities. I instigated the creation of the UK’s first new local fisheries school at Noss-on-Dart with South Devon College, as well as forming Parliament’s first group focussing on shellfish.
Without our farmers and fishermen, we have no food. So, we must protect, support and promote them to ensure we have good quality local food available at all levels, from high streets and supermarkets to schools, hospitals and public organisations.
Beyond these sectors, I have been working hard to protect our environment by demanding action from water companies. We now have the most stringent rules and laws to help protect our waterways and coastline, to reduce sewage and upgrade our infrastructure. I have held open meetings in towns across South Devon for residents to speak to South West Water, and I have successfully pushed for over £20m to be invested into our infrastructure to reduce spills and to clean up our waterways.
Working with our farmers and fishermen, holding our water companies to account and protecting our environment are all ways in which I am locally helping to tackle climate change. Each in their own way are helping to provide a Devon approach to ensure we continue to reduce our carbon footprint and remain a global leader in tackling climate change.