Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has dedicated her life to the service of our country. For the past 70 years as our monarch, she has been a constant: advising Prime Ministers and championing our nation and the Commonwealth. In the run-up to the bank holiday, and during, there are many wonderful celebrations planned, including a service at Chichester Cathedral that I will be attending.
I recently visited Stedham Primary where I joined teachers, pupils, parents, and some former pupils for a special tree planting as part of the ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’ campaign. It was wonderful to visit the school again and join in the festivities. There were lots of scones, cakes, and bunting, all of which was reminiscent of when I was at primary school in 1977 celebrating The Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Whilst there, it was a delight to meet John who started at the school during the war in 1940 and was able to share his experiences with the younger generations.
Right across the South Downs, 12,000 trees will be planted to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. These new trees cover 30 different sites and are only possible thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals.
Tree planting has so many benefits and that’s why our landmark Environment Act included the ambition to increase tree canopy and woodland cover to 17.5% of total land area in England by 2050. To do that we’ll be planting 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament.
Many across our district, including young people, are passionate about improving the environment. This was clearly the case when I held my Chichester Climate Competition late last year to mark COP26. I recently visited Chichester High School to congratulate the winner Edelyn Spina. Edelyn’s idea was to use public land, including at schools, to plant trees and then use these sites to educate people on the importance of biodiversity. There are so many fantastic projects ongoing locally to improve our environment on land and sea, and I am hugely grateful to everyone doing their bit – together we can make a massive difference.