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Richmond Park News: 16 February 2021

SUPPORTING THE CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY BILL


I was very glad to be able to speak in the House of Commons debate on the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill last week. The CEE bill would enshrine in law specific targets for the UK in relation to the Paris Agreement. The bill’s passage would commit us to reducing the UK's share of emissions through direct decarbonisation based on our total carbon footprint. It contains an ambitious timeframe for the UK's path to net zero emissions, along with robust measures to protect and restore the natural world.


I was delighted to support this important Private Members Bill, which brings so many environmental and climate objectives together. It's long past time for us to take a joined-up approach to tackling climate change and environmental degradation. You can see my statement below.




PUSHING FOR TRADE BILL AMENDMENTS

Last week the Government again refused to give Parliament scrutiny over future trade deals. I believe that the British public has the right to be represented in these negotiations. Whether it's safeguarding environmental regulations, protecting human rights or maintaining food standards, we have a duty as representatives of the public to scrutinise and vote on the detail of any trade deal.


It is extraordinary that during these unprecedented times, the government is refusing to engage in parliamentary scrutiny on our trading relations with the EU. This week I joined a cross-party group of MPs writing to Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss, demanding that the Government answer our questions on the state of international trade in Parliament.


As the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on international trade, I will continue the fight to enable Members of Parliament to represent the interests of their constituents and the country on international trade issues. Our British businesses deserve no less.



REMOVING VAT ON REUSABLE PERIOD PRODUCTS


I joined Emma Barnett on BBC Radio Woman's Hour yesterday, and had the opportunity to talk about my campaign to update the tax policy on reusable menstrual products. We can help tackle period poverty (being unable to afford enough menstrual products) by removing VAT on washable period pants. You can see our discussion about it in this clip.


And in this clip you can see me making the environmental case for removing VAT on all reusable menstrual products. Disposable sanitary products create a huge amount of plastic waste and release industrial toxins. We need to encourage sustainable alternatives.


You can see my letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak about removing VAT on reusable period pants, co-signed by 39 other MPs from Labour, the SNP and the Green Party, here.



SMALL BUSINESS SURGERY THIS FRIDAY: COVID-19


Covid-19 and successive lockdowns have posed enormous and constantly-evolving challenges for small businesses in Richmond. I’m committed to providing whatever support and advice I can to help firms navigate these challenging times. This Friday, 19 February, I’ll be hosting a small business surgery from 12-1pm. I hope to provide small business owners with an opportunity to share their experiences and obtain useful information on what they can do to support themselves in the current climate. To register your interest, please email office@saraholney.com



VIRTUAL COFFEE MORNING NEXT WEDNESDAY


My next virtual coffee morning for constituents will be on Wednesday, 24 February, at 10:00. Please sign up here if you would like to join me and some of your fellow residents of Richmond Park for an update on what I am doing as your MP, followed by conversation about local and national topics that interest you.



RICHMOND NEWS


HALF-TERM ACTIVITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES


Activity Station is a local charity that was started in 2014 in Barnes to provide events and activities for people with disabilities who live in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and Wandsworth. They have a programme of half term activities running this week, and continuing interactive online sessions throughout lockdown. You can see everything they are offering on their website.


You can email them at activitystation@outlook.com or call on 07444 881962 for an invitation to join their sessions, which currently include drumming, cooking, music, pottery, singing and drama.

SOLAR ENERGY SCHEME FOR RICHMOND RESIDENTS

Richmond Council has announced that it will be joining the London-wide Solar Together scheme. The scheme gives residents the opportunity to buy high quality solar panels at a discounted rate through a group buying scheme, helping to reduce their carbon footprint while making savings on household bills.

The installation of solar panels will enable households to generate their own clean electricity, significantly reducing both household bills and overall carbon footprint. Installation works will be carried out by a certified technician to ensure residents receive a high quality of work on their homes.


Registration for the Solar Together scheme is now open. The closing date to register is 23 March 2021. Find out more information and register for Solar Together here.



WATCH OUT FOR TOADS CROSSING THE ROAD IN HAM!

Richmond Council is asking residents who travel down Church Road in Ham to keep an eye out for breeding toads, which are due to begin their annual carriageway cross very soon. The toads, which live on Ham Common, are currently breeding and will make the 100m journey from their habitat to pools on the other side of the road to spawn for approximately three weeks.


To ensure the safety of the toads, a small section of Church Road (between Ham Gate Avenue and Latchmere Lane) will be closed from Monday 8 March until Saturday 27 March 2021. Residents in the area have been notified by post of the migration.

Over100,000 toads are helped across roads each year by volunteers across the UK. Low fencing has been installed along the edge of Ham common to enable the toad patrollers to pick them up and help them over the highway. If you travel down Church Road in Ham next month I hope you get a chance to glimpse this amazing sight.


KINGSTON NEWS


BAME RESIDENTS CONCERNED ABOUT THE VACCINE


On 4 March Kingston Council will be discussing BAME residents' concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine in an online session. In partnership with Kingston Race and Equalities Council, the Council will be talking about the importance of vaccination within our communities to keep everyone safe. Questions for the panel can be shared via this Google Form.

This is an important opportunity to tackle questions and concerns about the vaccine and help provide residents with the information they need to make an informed choice. You can watch the event live on YouTube from 6.30pm on 4 March using this link.


LOVE KINGSTON IS NOW KINGSTON CHARITABLE FOUNDATION


Love Kingston, formerly part of Kingston Voluntary Action, recently achieved independent charitable status, establishing the Kingston Charitable Foundation.


The Kingston Charitable Foundation will build on the reputation and heritage of Love Kingston, which has raised funds for 53 organisations over the last eight years.


The Foundation will also be launching an Urgent COVID-19 Appeal and will be awarding three grants of £500 in March to help small charities that are supporting people in need. Charities are invited to apply for these grants by requesting an application form from: grants@kingstoncf.org.uk.



NEW SITES OF IMPORTANCE FOR NATURE CONSERVATION (SINCs) IN KINGSTON

Following an independent review of the borough’s SINCs last year, six additional wildlife areas have been formally recommended to receive SINC status. SINCs are an important part of our wider nature network and help ensure our most important wildlife sites are protected. The proposed new SINCs will bring the total number of sites across the borough to 45. You can read more here.


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