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MP Jo Churchill on attending COP26 . . . and some more local duties

This month we mark two important events. The first of which is the COP26 climate talks taking place in Glasgow, which I attended this week in my role as a DEFRA minister.

At the talks our aim is to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action.

At COP I had some excellent discussions, ranging from moving towards a sustainable fashion industry to improving inclusivity and listening to indigenous voices in climate science and innovation.

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds
Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds

It was truly a remarkable experience to speak to individuals from across the globe about how climate change affects them and all of us. The discussions I had emphasised the importance of this summit, to ensure we leave the world in a better state for our children and grandchildren.

Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. A key part of achieving this will be driven by countries making commitments to accelerate the phase-out of coal, curtail deforestation, speed up the switch to electric and alternative fuel vehicles and encourage investment in renewables. Ultimately our end goal for COP26 is to accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

The second landmark event this month is the centenary of the Poppy Appeal. For 100 years the Royal British Legion has been helping serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

Last Friday I was honoured to meet Jill Gladwell at the launch of the Stowmarket Poppy Appeal.

Jill represents the very best of Suffolk, raising thousands for the Royal British Legion for over 80 years and was recently thanked by Prince Charles for her service.

I will be paying my respects to our Armed Forces at remembrance services across the constituency this weekend. From my involvement with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and with serving and veteran personnel throughout the constituency, I know how dedicated and committed they are. Over the past 18 months, when this country faced the pandemic, our Armed Forces continued to serve of our society. They helped to deliver PPE and testing kits across the country and are supporting the NHS in delivering vital care to our communities. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their hard work and dedication in serving our nation. They truly are the best of British and we should never forget, that they and their forbears are the reason we live in a free and prosperous nation.

When writing this article, I was reminded of all of the other heroes in our community who have stepped forward to help during the pandemic. We are currently seeing an increase in coronavirus cases in Suffolk and it is right that the Government has given us extra support to help tackle the rise by designating us an enhanced response area. The additional help includes extending opening hours at vaccination centres and creating pop-up vaccination clinics within communities.

If you haven’t yet had your Covid vaccine or flu jab, please consider getting one to protect yourself and others.

We must continue to support one and other as we move into winter. Our communities have shone throughout the pandemic, with neighbours checking in on one another and offering help to the elderly and more vulnerable in our neighbourhoods to ensure they have everything they need.

I know here in Suffolk we have a number of heroes helping others and supporting their community. Often as I meet people across the constituency I can see the good nature and kindness of individuals from all walks of life – something we should continue to celebrate.

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