We are all willing to do our bit for the environment but the plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 raises significant logistical problems. Policies that may work for London which is over 600 square miles and has 73 MPs are a lot more difficult to implement in Gainsborough which is nearly 500 square miles and only has one MP. Rural lines were stripped away by Dr Beeching. If you want to take a bus it would take you an hour to get to the nearest town going around about ten villages. If I want to walk to the nearest town it’s a four-hour round trip, so we do rely on the internal combustion engine.
Frankly, an electrical charging point in West Lindsey is about as rare as an oasis in a desert. At the moment, London has 57 charging points per 100,000 residents, while the whole of the East Midlands has just 20 per 100,000 inhabitants. I’ve heard from constituents that it is often difficult to register with operators of particular charging points when they are travelling around the country.
There has been a drastic increase in the number of hybrid vehicles which are able to work both on a petrol or diesel basis while charging their electric batteries, but full electric vehicles will require a massive increase in charging points. There’s also the increase in demand on our power supply moving to zero emissions vehicles would require. I do welcome the Government’s plans to investigate new nuclear power plants to provide clean, safe energy, but these are notorious for the time lag between initiation and operation.
We understand that it requires effort to protect our environment, not just on a local scale but also on a global scale. The benefits aren’t just in ecological terms: the better use we make of resources and the more we reduce our consumption the better off we are economically. We’ve all learnt to deal pretty well with the plastic bag charge in shops, for example. It usually means we make a better effort to bring our own long-lasting bags, and the plastic bags that are still available are now better quality for consumers as well.
I had hoped that the review of Lincolnshire’s tier status would result in downgrading to a less restrictive level. I pointed out to ministers that our infection rate in Tier 3 West Lindsey was lower than some parts of London that are in Tier 2. While we have seen the infection rate increase here in West Lindsey, the start of the rollout of the vaccine has already begun at Lincoln County Hospital. It gives us hope for a better 2021 than the year we are now finishing.