We are fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful and scenic areas of Britain, now recognised as a World Heritage site for its stunning ancient landscapes, farming and the birth place of conservation.
Having grown up in Wasdale and Eskdale, I appreciate how important our local environment is and the many benefits it affords locals, visitors, tourism, businesses and farming, but it must be protected and preserved for generations to come.
I believe we have to protect the UK's vibrant ecosystem and the natural environment worldwide. Environmental and economic progress are not just compatible: they depend on each other. The Government is committed to being the UK's greenest ever.
Carbon emissions have fallen by 6 percent since 2010 contributing to a 27 per cent reduction since 1990. Britain's share of electricity generated from renewables has doubled since 2009 and Ministers are determined to ensure we become a world leader in the new green economy.
Between 2010 and 2015 Ministers provided £7.5 million to establish 12 Nature Improvement Areas, created 150,000 acres of priority habitats and planted over 11 million trees; they are now committed to planting 11 million more. The National Pollinator Strategy will improve our understanding of the abundance, diversity and role of pollinators over the next three to five years, and identify any additional actions needed to protect them.
Fifty Marine Conservation Zones have been created to help protect our rich marine life, joining the UK's over 500 existing marine protected areas. A new UK Blue Belt of protected sites is now being created in British waters and around the UK's 14 Overseas Territories where there is local support and environmental need.
I appreciate your concern about the future of EU environmental regulation, but let me assure you that it will remain in place until the UK formally leaves the EU. The Government will work with our EU neighbours, environmental organisations and the public to develop the new arrangements. The Secretary of State will shortly launch a consultation that will give environmentalists and others the chance to share their views and ambitions for the future.
I hope the above has reassured you of both this Government's and my own commitment to protect our environment.