This week, Chesham and Amersham MP Dame Cheryl Gillan writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers about the United Nations Climate Change conference, chalk streams and Cheryl’s PMQ last week to champion a Chilterns National Park:

This year has seen the postponement of the Olympics and other international gatherings because of the global pandemic.

COP26 – the United Nations Climate Change conference – was to meet in Glasgow next month, but is now scheduled for November 2021.

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The delay, although disappointing, does mean that MPs like me can keep lobbying on specific and constituency-based issues. Change begins at home. In hosting COP26, the UK has an ideal chance to bring about better protections for some of our own unique habitats. In the case of the Chilterns, that is the chalk streams, which are one of the rarest ecosystems in the world.

This September, I became a founder member of a new all-party parliamentary group on chalk streams, which met online.

Last week, at the ‘virtual’ Conservative Party conference and then Prime Minister’s Questions, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP spoke about a green and sustainable recovery from the coronavirus crisis. I asked the Prime Minister to champion better protection for our chalk streams and also by redesignating the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as a National Park.

If designated, this would be the closest National Park to London and giving it the extra safeguards would preserve the Chilterns as a place of tranquillity, a ‘green lung’ for the capital.

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While there is no word yet on the National Park decision, the Prime Minister did say that the UK is leading the way on protecting biodiversity, habitats and species.

The UK will be co-hosting a Climate Action roundtable and summit with the United Nations on 12th December.

All countries are due to submit new and enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions – setting out what each country will do by 2030 to help limit global warming and achieve net zero emissions.

This will involve boosting renewable energy and investing in green transport.