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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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Arb Association Meets Julie Girling Member of European Parliament for the South West of England and Gibraltar

Last Updated:  30/11/2016

(CEO Stewart Wardrop, SW MEP Julie Girling, Senior Technical Officer Simon Richmond)

South West MEP Visits Arb Association HQ
As part of the Associations renewed determination to raise the profile of our industry and its professionals we were pleased to welcome South West England and Gibraltar MEP Julie Girling to The Malthouse on Friday 25th November.

A productive and positive meeting found much common ground between Julie and the vision of the AA.
As the lead rapporteur on air quality within the European Parliament, Julie has been heading a campaign to combat air pollution within the EU, which causes about 400,000 premature deaths a year.
 In a major milestone for the campaign, MEPs voted in favour of new national caps on pollutants last week.

Mrs Girling said the vote was ‘a step in the right direction. It is not a perfect solution, but it will go a long way to make important health improvements for our citizens’

‘The UK should be a leader in the fight to tackle bad air quality. I hope, post-brexit, that the UK continues to work with its European partners on issues such as this. With our national health system, we bear the economic consequences of bad air quality directly and we should not allow the progress made in recent years to slip.’

New clean air targets covering the period of 2020-2030 will be released by the EU early next year. It’s hoped that the new agreement will reduce the health impacts of bad air quality by around 50% by 2030.
The positive benefits of trees in relation to air pollution, specifically in urban areas, mean that they will no doubt be an important part of this new commitment. Large urban trees are excellent filters for urban pollutants and can absorb up to 150kg of CO2 per year, sequestering carbon and mitigating some of the effects of climate change.

Further to these efforts Julie is involved in new plant health legislation going through European parliament. The current basic legislation needs amending to address the increased risks of invasive pests and diseases entering the EU as a result of trade and climate change. The new legislation will have a greater focus on prevention and risk targeting and its hoped it will be introduced in early 2017.

Julie was pleased to learn of the Associations campaign to increase awareness of Biosecurity and the methods for preventing and managing pests and diseases, along with the collaboration with Forestry Commission and their ongoing ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign.

Julie also offered to assist with any specific arb related projects or enquiries of a European nature especially given her environmental brief within the EU parliament.

The support of environmentally aware and passionate politicians like Julie will be invaluable to us in the coming months, as we continue to alert the public to the importance of the sustainable management of trees by competent and conscientious professionals.
Find out more about Julie Girling

Follow Julie on Twitter @juliegirling

Air quality: MEPs back new national caps on pollutants

AA Biosecurity Position Statement:

Forestry Commission Biosecurity Guidance: