Today I was in Lenham for the launch of an exciting new plan to boost biodiversity and natural habitats in Kent and Medway.
Our natural environment is one of the greatest treasures we have in this country - nowhere less so than here in the Garden of England.
We know how important it is from an ecological point of view, for the quality of our air, soil, and rivers, for pollination and germination, and for the capture and storage of CO2 in our environment. But it also sustains so many people’s way of life and wellbeing. It makes people feel connected to where they live, and provides a setting for so many of the wonderful things that we do in our free time.
As an MP I receive campaign emails in their hundreds every week, but the ones I receive more of than any other are always about nature. People locally, and around the UK, are rightly worried about the decline in nature we've seen in the UK in recent years - reversing it is one of the most important things we will ever do.
That's why two years ago the Government passed the Environment Act - one of the most ambitious environmental programmes of any country on earth. It includes legally binding targets to protect the environment, clean up our air and rivers and boost nature.
The main mechanism for nature recovery is through 48 Local Nature Recovery Strategies, covering each and every corner of England. Susan Carey at Kent County Council has been beavering on our local strategy since, and today launched Making Space for Nature in Kent and Medway. Do have a look on the website to see if you can get involved.
It's so exciting to think what's going to be achieved by bringing together people and ideas from across Kent and Medway - all backed by ringfenced Government funding. Together we can be the first generation to leave our natural environment in a better place than we inherited it.