Column by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.

Column by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.

There is serious frustration being reported about the protests by campaign groups Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion at UK critical oil refineries. 

People sadly feel this has highlighted again just how out of touch these protesters are.

So far Stroud has thankfully not been seriously affected by fuel shortages caused by the protests but MPs around the country have received panicked messages from their constituents and businesses. 

I am keeping a careful watch on the issues here and speaking to ministers alongside colleagues.   

The campaign groups are not helping advance the tackling of climate change with their actions at refineries and shutting down London streets. 

All they do is cost the taxpayer to police them, precious court time to process extensive arrests and close roads, disrupt fuel supplies and stop people getting to work all in the midst of global energy pressures and a really serious cost-of-living challenge.

The protesters are also few in number but loud in their demands.

I find they offer protest with vague and wrong assertions that capitalism is bad for the environment but few constructive suggestions. 

I see more people getting annoyed with their claims that the United Kingdom is doing nothing to help the planet despite all the progress that we have made as a country. 

A doomsday scenario with very limited foundation is unhelpful.  

I am firmly of the view that science, underpinned by the freedoms our country is built on, will offer the best solutions to tackle climate change. There is ample evidence of this already through the advance of innovation, renewable energy, in particular offshore wind, where big leaps have been made in efficiency and cost. 

We have many fantastic innovative local businesses that are creating solutions and new jobs without constantly being negative. 

Everyone now recognises that the whole world needs to address how it has degraded the natural planet.

The UK is only 1 per cent of global emissions but our Government recognises the challenge and is undertaking ambitious and radical changes to become net carbon neutral by 2050 while leading and encouraging other countries to change too.   

There is understandably a need to take into account current issues such as Europe’s reliance on Russian energy due to the conflict in Ukraine and take a realistic look at ensuring there is a mix of supply during such a crisis. 

This means not cutting off any single source and being honest that renewables cannot do it all in the near to medium future.  

The latest government energy strategy is looking to harness renewable energy, hydrogen and nuclear – something many eco-activists protested about in doomsday terms in the 1980s and 1990s to the detriment of the world’s climate even though nuclear emits no carbon.

We are already seeing how advances in technology are using less of the world’s resources.

I read an article the other day about how we can have economic growth and use fewer raw materials.

Again, it is our freedoms that are driving this efficiency. 

A recent article in the Daily Telegraph cited the smartphone as a good example. It makes calls, is a calculator, a camera, a clock and even a compass.

How many resources were used previously to make these items separately? 

Here I see progress towards a cleaner, less polluted and sustainable world using science and understanding that no government has all the answers. How can gluing yourself to a road outside an oil refinery compete with that?

On a happier point, I hope everyone had a good Easter break.

I know many people enjoyed weekend church services and processions around the district. 

The Easter bank holidays are a wonderful time of year as it is a truly special time for those with faith and a welcoming time for those without. 

I know the Easter holidays are also a source of joy for children and I have met a fair few teachers who have deserved their time off for these weeks too! 

I managed to get away for a few days with my family ahead of a return this week to parliament after recess.

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