Richmond Park News: 24 March 2023
QUEEN'S GREEN CANOPY PLANTING IN RICHMOND PARK
It was a privilege to be asked to join the Friends of Richmond Park at a ceremony planting the last tree in the new woodland they have planted in honour of the Queen. The Queen's Green Canopy programme began as a celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, and carries on an a memorial to Her Majesty and a tribute to her deep love of the natural world.
The final tree was planted by Sir David Attenborough, ably assisted by a group of young children and fellow Friends of Richmond Park patron Clare Balding, who hosted the event. It was wonderful to share this moment with two beloved public figures whose personal commitment to the Park matches my own. The new wood is at Ham Cross in the park, and I encourage all of my Park-loving constituents to come and take a look.
PRIVATE MEMBERS BILL TO IMPROVE HOME INSULATION
Earlier today, my Private Member's Bill - the Minimum Energy Performance of Building's Bill - was debated in Parliament. My Bill would set out a legally-binding roadmap to upgrade homes and buildings across the UK to at least EPC band C by 2033.
Every home is given an EPC rating when it is rented or sold. This indicates how energy efficient the building is. As well as being better for our environment, homes with a higher EPC are significantly less likely to have damp or mould and are much cheaper to run. Measures that can be installed to increase and EPC rating include external wall and loft insulation, energy efficient doors and windows, heat pumps and solar panels. The benefits of energy efficiency measures are clear. But the Government has routinely failed to introduce a far-reaching scheme to decarbonise and upgrade the UK’s housing stock, which is among the least energy efficient in Europe. This failure to invest in energy efficiency has left households more vulnerable to higher energy prices and has wasted precious time in the race against climate change.
This Bill is just one part of my campaign to get the Government to take meaningful action on energy efficiency. You can read a copy of my Bill here. Ahead of this private member's bill, I met with the team at East Sheen's Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to ask them about their experiences supporting people in substandard and poorly insulated accommodation. During my meeting, I heard how some resident's homes are filled with mould and damp due to ill-fitting windows and doors that cut off ventilation. Apparently many landlords consider this to be the tenant's responsibility to resolve. This leaves them caught between expensive repairs or huge heating bills as they turn up their heating and open the windows to try and clear the damp and mould. It was wonderful to meet the dedicated and committed team at East Sheen's CAB working hard to not only shine a light on the issues many residents are facing but also to solve these problems one case at a time. If you need to speak to someone about an issue with your housing, you can find your local Citizens' Advice Bureau with the link here.
It was a pleasure to welcome three members of the Tony's Chocolonely team to Parliament on Tuesday. Tony's is a Dutch chocolate brand which has its UK headquarters based in Richmond. At the centre of the Tony’s Chocolonely brand is their advocacy on key issues such as child labour, illegal labour and deforestation. I am pleased to support Tony’s in their campaign to make all chocolate 100% slave free, and to call for tougher legislation to strengthen due diligence in supply chains to mitigate against human rights abuses or environmental harms.