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Portsmouth MP backs ‘Pompey Street Space’ campaign and wastes no time promoting the plan in Parliament

Backing efforts by local groups and community representatives, Stephen Morgan MP today took action in support of the new Pompey Street Space campaign as part of his ongoing work to tackle the city’s climate emergency

Launching this morning, the Pompey Street Space is a newly formed campaign calling for the council to make our city safe for residents to walk, wheel, shop and cycle whilst keeping 2m apart. Since the lockdown the number of residents walking and cycling has risen hugely. The cleaner air, more audible bird song and peaceful streets have been a revelation for many of how our city could be.

The city MP is encouraging Government through the hybrid-Parliament to ‘lock-in’ the emission reducing practices that the city has adopted amid Covid-19. 

While Mr Morgan has been taking action to promote active travel in the city for some time. Today he threw his weight behind the Pompey Street Space campaign in signing a collective letter to the local authority and raising the community campaign in the House of Commons.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Active travel uptake amid this crisis has increased by up to 125% on some days. This shows that our city is capable of making decisive efforts to change behaviours and in turn, tackle climate change.

Now it is up to government to seize the opportunity and ensure Portsmouth people can continue to use green travel free from fear and with confidence. That means putting an end to the piecemeal approach to transport infrastructure and allowing councils rapid access to new vital funds.

Social, economic and environmental returns to active travel investment will be seen almost immediately. I will continue to take action with others to promote greener travel and look forward to supporting the work of Pompey Street Space to make this vision a reality.”

Active travel – such as walking and cycling – has soared amid the pandemic while traffic has seen around a 60% decline, slashing harmful emissions.

Portsmouth is the fourth most congested city in the UK and one of the worst outside London. Organisations such as the World Health Organisation have deemed current city pollution levels as ‘illegal’, while Friends of the Earth have described them as ‘Dangerous’. This means an increased risk to 11,000 people living the city who have heart and respiratory conditions.

Local climate activist Nick Sebley said:

“Stephen has been a solid ambassador on climate issues since his election and we welcome his support for the Pompey Street Space campaign.

We are presented with a unique opportunity to make our community fitter, healthier and greener. Portsmouth people have shown they have what it takes to be pioneers in addressing the climate emergency, it now falls on government’s shoulders to ensure the continuation of these practices.”

The community-led campaign is calling for the council to take three important steps immediately:

  1. Widen narrow pavements in busy streets so that people can keep two metres apart whilst walking, queuing for shops etc.
  2. Create a comprehensive city-wide network of roads that give priority to cyclists and pedestrians
  3. Create more commuter cycle routes to allow people who usually travel by public transport to get quickly and safely to work by bike.

Mr Morgan added: 

“As we emerge from this crisis, we cannot go head first into another. Climate change poses a real and severe threat to life that disproportionately effects people in our community.

Government has a duty to listen to the calls of trailblazing campaigns, like Pompey Street Space, to create the right conditions in communities that will allow green and active travel to continue to thrive. For that reason I wanted to flag this new initiative from our city to Ministers today.

According to the Government’s own research, at least £6bn of extra funding is required to meet their own targets of doubling cycling by 2025.

If Ministers are serious about active travel, then they need to get serious about investing in communities like Portsmouth”.

Stephen Morgan MP has a long running history of climate change action. He has hosted Brompton along with Keir Starmer in Portsmouth to promote active travel, hosted major public events with expert speakers to share best practice, regularly speaks out at local events, has worked in conjunction with XR and Friends of the Earth and continues to raise issues in Parliament.

 

 

 

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“Job security does not need to be at odds with climate security” says city MP lobbying over plans for Britain’s recovery

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan is urging Government to ensure that Covid-19 does not hinder progress towards tackling the climate emergency.

Writing to the Transport Secretary and submitting a string or parliamentary questions, Stephen Morgan MP has been listening to the views of constituents and local green groups by stressing to Government that support to the transport industry should also help secure targets focusing on reducing emissions.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“As a gateway to the UK from continental Europe, our city has a proud and long association with the maritime sector and wider transport infrastructure for our country. I want to see this tradition continue for the future prosperity of the UK but also for the sake of local jobs and our city’s economy.

Government is currently being lobbied over deals for the aviation and maritime sectors so that these services can weather the Covid-19 storm, there is no reason why any packages of support should be at odds with continued efforts to tackle climate change. The Transport Secretary must ensure that his department’s assistance sits alongside important commitments to cut emissions”.

Stephen Morgan MP is not alone in his calls. The Government’s top climate advisers have also urged a focus on low-carbon work programmes as the economy restarts and people get back to work.

This mirrors the findings of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, who have outlined that fulfilling the UK’s need for low-carbon infrastructure, from electricity networks to cycle lanes, would create jobs in the short term, while government money could also be used to encourage advances in science and innovation that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

Writing to the Transport Secretary based on these important findings, the Portsmouth South representative added:

“In 2018, the transport sector became the biggest contributor to climate change. Government must be the driving force behind enabling a culture and practice change, and in planning Britain’s recovery from Covid-19, it has that opportunity.

I therefore urge you to seize this opportunity that Government has to ensure that climate change is at the heart of your departmental decision-making. There is no reason that sector and job security need to be at odds with tackling climate change.

Many of my constituents expect any government financial assistance to the transport sector to recognise the climate emergency. There is no merit in dealing with a crisis today, by creating one for tomorrow.”

Other major organisations joining the city MP, the Select Committee and the top government advisers calling on Government to take equity stakes include Greenpeace, Flight Free, the IPPR and New Economics Foundation thinktanks, and Tax Justice. The Portsmouth South MP has also vowed to push for investment in active travel solutions as part of thinking on recovery plans for the region.

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Stephen Morgan MP’s action update on Covid-19

As we approach the fast growth part of the virus curve and tragically the UK death toll rises to 53, I have been taking action in parliament to ensure Portsmouth people are as protected as they can be.

As measures are put in place by government there will be a number of economic, social and health implications in our community. Each day I will be working hard to see to it that voices are heard, and issues raised.

Actions I have taken in the House of Commons today include:

  • Putting pressure on government to stop evictions – I today wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government demanding an eviction ban for renters affected by Covid-19. The proposal I made would safeguard more than 20 million people – eight and a half million households – who rent their homes from private, council or housing association landlords, including three million households with children.
  • Working to secure a joined-up volunteer response – Volunteers will help deal with everything from delivering shopping to tackling social isolation. I have reached out to Hive Portsmouth, responsible for coordinating volunteers in our community, to urge them to provide information on their volunteer strategy as we progress.
  • Being a voice for older community members – Following the Health Secretary’s advice for over 70s to isolate, I have taken action to tackle potential loneliness. I have today put pressure on the Culture Secretary to delay the introduction of TV licence fees for over 75s. It is imperative that our older community members have a timely flow of information throughout this crisis.
  • Raising our communities’ issues in parliament – As an MP I have the power to raise concerns immediately through written questions. I have today submitted targeted questions seeking government funding for council tax relief for those affected by Covid-19, applied pressure on how they will combat the stockpiling crisis, what role our armed forces will play and a host of other areas.
  • Being a strong voice for our armed forces – Part of tackling the Covid-19 crisis is safeguarding issues of national importance. Today I worked to ensure that action is taken to combat growing cyber security threats. We cannot afford to have another NHS cyber attack during the Covid-19 crisis.

These are the key actions I have taken today. I will continue to stand up for Portsmouth in the face of Covid-19 and will provide a regular update on actions. We are a resilient community made of tough stuff. Side by side by side we will overcome the Covid-19 crisis.

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After a ‘decade of decline’ Budget brings more disappointment for Portsmouth people

Today (Wednesday 11 March 2020) the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered this Government’s first Budget. Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has slammed the Government’s budget for not ensuring an end to austerity and no real investment for the city.

Mr Morgan unpicked the Chancellor’s fiscal plans and called out the fact Portsmouth and the South East continue to be neglected with no robust plans to redress the inequality caused by Tory austerity.

Mr Morgan said:

“Over the last ten years we have seen a decade of decline. Cuts to public services we all rely on as we pay more, but get less, and infrastructure holding our city and our region back.

In today’s budget I know Portsmouth people were hoping for real investment for the city and an end to austerity.

Instead we saw a political panto in the House of Commons, with soundbites with no serious consideration of the challenges our city faces.

We now risk another five more years of more disappointment for Portsmouth”.

The IFS have said that cuts to funding from the government have led to a 17% fall in councils spending on local services since 2010. This has pushed local government to become reliant on local taxes for revenues, in particular council tax.

The Government’s financial plans also received heavy criticism on their failure to address national issues. No real solutions have been put forward to address the climate crisis through infrastructure projects, austerity has not ended and the NHS is creaking ahead of a potential coronavirus strain.

On the national picture, Mr Morgan said:

“In recent weeks, Government has utterly failed to provide leadership in response to storms, flooding, and the coronavirus outbreak.

Is this the budget that will combat issues of international significance such as Coronavirus, the Social Emergency, and Climate Change?  Regrettably there is no evidence to suggest it will.

It seems yet again Mr Johnson has delivered on nothing but empty promises and left the people of Britain to deal with the consequences.

The city MP has long been lobbying for a fairer funding formula for Hampshire Constabulary, calling out government cuts to city schools, championing the need for proper investment in Portsmouth Naval Base, calling for a solution to the social care crisis and the need for the black hole in Ministry of Defence funding to be addressed. The Budget today made no effort to combat these issues.

 

 

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Keir Starmer joins Stephen Morgan in backing Portsmouth’s green initiatives

Stephen Morgan MP hosted Labour leadership front-runner Keir Starmer in Portsmouth to broadcast the benefits of active travel in tackling climate change.

Joined by senior Brompton representatives, the two parliamentarians spent time at the Cycle Hire Hub at Portsmouth Harbour Station.

The current air pollution crisis in Portsmouth, need for more government investment in active travel infrastructure, and Labour’s plan for a greener future were discussed.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Key to tackling climate change is ensuring people have the tools to make changes to their everyday routine. Active travel is a major part of that.

In Portsmouth we face some of the worst air pollution rates in the country. Children choking on fumes is not what this city deserves.

That is why I support Brompton’s Cycle Hire Hub, which makes green commuting easier and takes polluting vehicles off our roads.

Keir’s support for this initiative coupled with his pledge to put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything Labour does, secure him as the only Labour candidate able to bring radical solutions to the climate problem.”

Keir Starmer MP said:

“The recent extreme weather is further evidence that we are living through a climate emergency.

“It is fantastic that Stephen has shown leadership in Portsmouth on this issue by backing Brompton’s bike scheme, organising community events and leading the charge to declaring a climate emergency in the city.

“If elected Labour leader, I would support a Green New Deal and also a Clean Air Act – to ensure that dangerous levels of air pollution are tackled.”

Julian Scriven, Managing Director of Brompton Bike Hire said:

“Brompton is committed  to changing the way people move around cities. We are delighted that both Stephen Morgan MP and Sir Kier Starmer MP share this vision and are demonstrating a real drive at both a local and national level to promote active travel”.

Stephen Morgan MP has a record of delivery when it comes to tackling climate change. From leading the Labour Group locally in declaring a climate emergency and orchestrating major Portsmouth events to voting in favour of legislation In the House of Commons, he has shown leadership from Portsmouth to parliament.

 Keir Starmer and the city MP were joined by a number of Labour councillors and campaigners for more ambitious action by the council to tackle the climate crisis.

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City MP urges Portsmouth people to photograph and pick up plastic

 

Stephen Morgan MP praises local team behind innovative app and encourages Portsmouth people to take part.

Jetsam, developed by Company of Makers, Maker’s Guild and Hack Pompey, was officially launched last week at the Festival of the Sea. The app aims to up the city’s game in ending single-use plastics in Portsmouth.

Photos of plastic are taken by users of the app to show where most waste is in the city alongside other data, help predict where it will wash up along the city’s shoreline, and prevent further pollution of our environment.

The city MP, who has downloaded the app in support of efforts by others, is calling on more Portsmouth people to get involved, to download the app and help the war against plastic.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Storms Ciara and Dennis battering our shores over recent days have reminded us all of the plastic pollution which blights our oceans and our shoreline.

We are lucky enough in our city to have dedicated teams of beach clean volunteers but the root cause and ultimately the real solution lies with the producers of plastics. That’s why I am continuing to call on the government to stop plastic getting into our seas in the first place and want manufacturers to make sure pointless plastics aren’t produced.

The Jetsam app helps raise awareness in our community about the need to drastically cut single-use waste and reminds everyone there’s something each and every one of us can do to clean up our environment. We can’t just forget about plastic once it’s rehidden in the ocean.

I often describe Portsmouth as a place for makers and doers. I want to thank Steve Bomford and team for coming up with this initiative idea and making this app. With Jetsam, people in our city have the opportunity to do their bit, and bring about positive change”.

The free app is available to anyone to download and use on their mobile device.

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‘Government not giving flooding the priority it deserves’ says City MP after Minister cancels meeting about Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has criticised Government after the Minister responsible for tackling flooding cancelled an important meeting about investment in Portsmouth.  The proposed meeting about Southsea sea defence scheme was cancelled with just hours to go.

The parliamentary meeting, orchestrated by Mr Morgan as part of ongoing work alongside the local authority to secure funding for the largest sea defence scheme in the country, was set to take place today with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Portsmouth City Council reps.

Previously Mr Morgan raised concerns over the priority Government is giving to the scheme as the department only offered 15 minutes for the meeting with the city MP, local authority officers and the Environment Agency.

Mr Morgan said:

“This meeting was only agreed after months of being given the run-around by Government and originally being offered a meeting of just 15 minutes. The cancellation at the last minute shows a complete lack of respect for Portsmouth.

There have been three serious coastal defence breaches in our city in the last six years, so it is little wonder the Southsea Sea Defence scheme is probably the biggest of its kind the nation has ever seen. 8,000 properties, 700 businesses and hundreds of livelihoods are depending on its success.

Following events and flooding over the last few days I share concerns that Government is not taking seriously the risk of flooding. Portsmouth has thought through plans for its sea defence scheme.

I will continue to take action so that the local authority gets the support it needs from Government and our city is given priority to protect our communities”.

The city MP has also repeatedly invited the Secretary of State to visit the city to understand the scale of the proposed scheme and need for investment, an invitation declined by the top politician in charge. The government is likely to invest in the scheme that has been developed with public consultation, but a number of important actions remain.

The last few days have reminded us all of the need for adequate funding to local authorities for flooding protection. The Environment Agency’s own analysis has revealed that national funding for this financial year (£815m) falls short of what is needed.

The meeting cancelled by the Government Minister comes amid some of the worst weather experienced in the UK for decades.  Some areas saw a month and a half’s rainfall in 24 hours and gusts of more than 90 miles per hour swept across the country.

The Prime Minister has previously committed to hosting a flood summit bringing together regional partners and stakeholders and local representatives, but to date has failed to deliver on this promise.

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City MP pledges to protect oceans

Stephen Morgan MP, who signed up to Greenpeace’s oceans pledge earlier this month, has now called on Government to support a bold Global Ocean Treaty in a number of cutting parliamentary questions.

The city MP’s parliamentary actions come amid UN discussions in New York surrounding the Global Ocean Treaty.

The continued efforts follow local actions by campaigners which the Portsmouth South representative is supporting.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Overfishing, plastic pollution, and oil drilling are gutting our oceans of life and destroying delicate ecosystems. There is no planet B and we cannot afford for complacency.

Right now, only 1% of the world’s oceans are protected. Scientists say that we need to protect at least 30% by 2030.

It falls at the feet of government to treat this issue with due priority and ensure that appropriate representation is sent to New York for discussions around the Global Ocean Treaty.”

The talks have been described as being on a knife edge – and could result in a weak treaty unable to properly protect marine life.

Mr Morgan added:

I have submitted questions directly to the Government department responsible in a bid to urge a strong UK presence at these international discussions.

To get the ambitious deal our oceans and climate need, we need senior politicians in the negotiating room who can push for a strong treaty.”

Tackling the climate emergency and being a national voice on environmental matters is a priority for the Portsmouth MP. He has been working closely with Friends of the Earth, has orchestrated constituency-based climate events, regularly speaks at climate strikes, has used the Queen’s Speech debate to raise the issue and has made repeated calls on Government to treat climate change as a top priority.

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City MP turns words into action at standing room only climate event in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP this weekend hosted a climate change event at a city venue sharing ideas on how to improve Portsmouth’s approach to tackling the environmental crisis.

The event, which was attended by around 90 people and was standing room only, was orchestrated by Stephen Morgan MP who shared the stage with Oxford City Council’s Cabinet Member for a zero carbon Oxford, Cllr Tom Hayes.

Mr Morgan said:

“Local authorities are on the front line when it comes to tackling the climate emergency. With time running out and crisis point already reached, addressing this issue will remain a top priority for me.

Oxford are trailblazers when it comes to going green at local authority level. The reason I hosted Cllr Hayes here is so that we in Portsmouth can capture what works and help replicate it.

Today was the first of a series of events and ideas I’m planning in 2020 that will help spread change in our city. Success is built upon shared ideas and learning from others, I will lead from the front when it comes to making the changes our communities need.”

The city MP’s work comes at a crucial time. Portsmouth City Council is ranked as one of the lowest for recycling rates, is in the midst of an air pollution crisis described as ‘dangerous’ by the British Heart Foundation and has a low Friends of the Earth Green rating.

The city MP said:

“Portsmouth City Council can do better. Rather than simply highlighting their failings, I will create opportunities for improvement.

Oxford has a commendable record of encouraging green business models, introducing the world’s first Zero Emission Zone from 2020 and has proliferated the use of electric vehicles by introducing widespread charging points. These are changes made at local authority level that we can match.

Portsmouth people are makers and doers, I have every faith that in the future we can be a flagship green city leading from the front. I will do everything in my power to reach that goal.”

Stephen Morgan is no stranger to climate change action. He has consistently voted in favour of legislation in parliament, lead the Labour group to declaring an emergency locally, has spoken out in Queens Speech debates, hosted roundtable meetings in Portsmouth, launched a tree planting scheme and taken countless other measures.

 

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“Portsmouth needs to do more to tackle climate emergency “ – states city MP

Friends of the Earth have produced detailed, local authority specific data for the ranking of councils across Britain on their record of tackling climate change.

Portsmouth has finished low down in the bottom quarter with just a 60% rating, putting it amongst some of the nation’s lowest-scoring. The data release coincides with national media coverage this week outlining how Portsmouth clean air charging zone is being scaled back.

Considering recent developments on the clean air zone, Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth is in the midst of an air pollution crisis that has been described by experts as ‘dangerous’. The fact that the centre of Portsmouth could become a chargeable clean air zone – rather than the whole of Portsea Island – is the manifestation of the Council Leader’s indifference to the matter.

We know as a result the 11,000 people in this city who live with heart conditions are at greater risk of stroke and heart attack and our children’s lung capacity is heavily reduced. We need a radical overhaul of the way we tackle air pollution, not this lack-lustre tokenistic gesture.”

City MP, Stephen Morgan has for some time been speaking out against the ‘reactionary’ approach taken by the city council to datel in tackling climate change locally and has cited the air pollution crisis as a testament to the current council administration’s indifference to the issue.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

The reason that the council is performing so poorly when it comes to tackling climate change is simple. The current administration is not taking the issue seriously enough.

The Lib Dems are presiding over an avoidable air pollution crisis, which has been allowed to reach highly dangerous levels and meant the Council Leader has subsequently gone to beg at the feet of Government for help.

We have some of the worst recycling rates, which is again one of the lowest in the country at 24%. There has been a failure to take any action over implementing a cycle hire scheme. We have some of the lowest tree coverage in the country. Our city really does deserve much better.

Climate Change is not something that you can shirk or avoid. These helpful findings from Friends of the Earth remind us again that the administration’s ‘dog ate my homework’ approach is not the bold attitude we need to address the biggest issue our city and our planet has ever faced. This report must now act as a wakeup call to the Council Leader to do better.”

In March Portsmouth Labour worked with community activists to force the council to declare a climate emergency. Since then, Labour councillors have been working hard to push the council into action.

The city MP added:

“It was the Labour Group, under my leadership, who pioneered the movement locally to declare a climate emergency. It was Labour who tabled the motion nationally to declare the same in Parliament.

Local authorities have an important and often over-looked role in cutting carbon emissions and solving the climate crisis. But they can’t do it all themselves, which is why I am pushing for more powers and finance alongside government action.

Since joining the shadow front benches, I have been visiting local authorities leading the charge when it comes to climate change to formulate party policy on best practice. In seeing these trailblazers, it made was apparent that Portsmouth must do so much more.

I will continue to put pressure on the government and council to place the climate emergency at the front of all decision making. Change starts at home”.