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Letter: The environment needs our full attention – now

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SIR — In response to Mr Nichols of Highcliffe, ‘Set aside our climate concern’ (Letters, 10th July), I could not disagree more with his letter. We are indeed in an economic emergency, largely of coronavirus’s making.

But the environment deserves our full attention – and right now.

During the height of lockdown it was obvious to me, on walks out, that the lack of commuting cars, holiday planes – and just people – allowed wildlife to thrive robustly and air pollution dropped significantly. Many people spent more time in the garden, making them not only more beautiful and wildlife-friendly but also ‘growing their own’.

As we come out of lockdown, the return of human activity has already had significantly negative effects on our environment, such as the discarded food wrappers strewn all over our New Forest beauty spots and beaches, the motorbikes and sports cars showing off their oversized, earache-inducing exhausts once more along the seafront, and the knife-like vapour trails increasingly carving up the clear blue sky above me once more.

We need to act now and halt the reversal of the environmental gains made during lockdown. And this action will also aid the economic emergency Mr Nichols talks about.

As people begin to return to work and the shops, I trust that businesses will continue and enhance the environmental changes they were making before the pandemic, continue to reduce pollution and packaging waste, develop greener products, replace high-carbon energy sources with lower ones and encourage the purchase of electric and other green energy vehicles.

I trust that residents will continue to ‘grow their own’, increase their recycling, reusing and composting of waste and reduce their household energy use.

And councils are already looking at how new housing can be made greener and how existing housing stock can be improved at less expense to owners.

We only have one world – now is certainly not the time to abandon it.

Hampshire County Council’s climate change strategy has just been published, backed up with research, and strongly encourages sensible and practical environmental action across Hampshire, hand in hand with districts, towns, parishes and individuals.

It’s time to double-down, to reap the benefits of the green economy in financial terms, and for our future – and the future our flora and fauna – in environmental terms.

Cllr Fran Carpenter,

Hampshire County Council – New Milton North, Milford & Hordle

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