130 Vale Road, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1SP - tom.tugendhat.mp@parliament.uk - 01732 441563

Newspaper Columns

Times of Tonbridge Column - Conservatives and the Environment - 17 July 2019

What did you do at the weekend? Did you chew your way through your nails at Lords? Or hide behind the sofa, too nervous to watch the last deliveries of the Super Over? Did you celebrate the fantastic victory of an amazing England team (and heroic New Zealand runners up) with some of our fantastic beers? A century ago you may have known someone whose work put them at the heart of the action when Tonbridge was at the heart of the cricket ball business. That’s right, our town made the balls that saw us bat to glory, and sometimes defeat, on fields across the country.

That put us on the map but put us in a mess too. The tanneries stank! Across our town the smell of chemicals treating leather must have been overpowering. But we’ve come a long way since then. The Medway once full of tannery outflows now teams with wildlife and fish who - like us - enjoy its clean waters once more.

It’s not just at home that we’ve seen our environment change. We have come a long, long way in just a few years. Our air is cleaner, our energy greener, and for the first time since Victoria sat as Queen and Empress, coal has not been used to power the UK for two weeks on the go. That’s a fantastic reduction in our carbon footprint. And all this under a Conservative Government.

Why are Conservatives so passionate about green energy and the environment, some will ask? Aren’t we all about business and jobs? Well, yes, helping people have a stake in our economic success is essential but the clue is in the name. Conservatives don’t just want to protect the economy, we want to protect our society, starting with our environment. Living in our part of Kent, we know we’re the garden of England and the lungs of London. We know that the countryside isn’t an extra, it’s part of who we are.

It’s also about our world. Looking around we see threats to our energy security all over. Rising demand in China and trouble with Iran make deliveries of fuel hard to guarantee. We need to find ways of generating our own without costing the earth.

That’s not easy, but with hydrogen trains to electric cars – and much more – we’ll get there. Since 2010 Conservatives have invested £92 billion in clean energy putting the UK at the cutting edge of a green industrial revolution so that renewables now generate more than a third of the UK’s electricity.

Your local Conservatives are doing their bit too. Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has declared a climate emergency and giving more powers to strengthen local protection of species, habitats and ecosystems. Your Conservative representatives also defeated a motion that would have increased housebuilding by a fifth in Tonbridge and Malling over 50 years, protecting the environment and biodiversity we all love.

That’s all because as Conservatives, a strong innings is built on green fields, just like the one we saw at Lords.

Georgie Welford