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Lichfield and Burntwood’s MP has urged the Government not to miss the opportunity to permanently change the way people work when the coronavirus crisis is over.

Michael Fabricant made his comments after quizzing the Prime Minister on the issue in the House of Commons earlier this week.

He asked Boris Johnson if a post-pandemic UK would avoid a “a return to the old normal of pollution and crowded commuter trains”.

The Prime Minister said:

“Out of this tragedy and out of this disaster, of course we hope that some changes and some opportunities will come, and I certainly see a huge opportunity for cleaner, greener transport.

“The UK will continue its mission to be a net-zero nation by 2050 – we know we can do it.

“We’ve committed £2 billion to invest in cleaner transport, with walking and cycling amongst them.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Mr Fabricant added:

“We have all learned to live or work differently during this coronavirus pandemic. 

“People are using transport far less and many are able to use technology to enable remote working from our homes. As a consequence, pollution is greatly reduced. 

“It would be a huge shame if no lessons were learned and, when we finally defeat COVID-19, we return to the same old working practices generating the same pollution as before.

“Walking round Lichfield on my daily exercise, it certainly seems the view of many people I speak to – at a good 2 metre distance – that they welcome the cleaner air and calmer environment the reduction in commuting has given.

“With people learning to work more from home where that is possible, it does also beg the question that if this continues after this coronavirus pandemic has finally burnt itself out, whether HS2 will still be necessary.

“This pandemic may be more successful at decentralising work than all previous attempts by different governments.”

Michael Fabricant MP

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7 Comments

  1. In the 7 weeks we have been in lockdown, and counting, the government and the empty suit that is Gavin Williamson, have made zero provision for educating the 8.7 million children currently not in school.

    This utopia falls flat in every respect if you cannot find a way of returning children to education.

  2. The government has made a commitment to reduce air pollution. This seems the perfect oppertunity to learn something from how these forced circumstances might suggest other alternatives to how we work and travel. Clean air and water are the two basic necessities for healthy living. With ever expanding populations this presents more of a problem.
    I have been in contact with Michael Fabricant over the years in this regard and some of the over developments in his constituency. He has made efforts through the Staffordshire County Council but they maintain they are working within agreed parameters. He has recently both in Parliament and the press been encouraging the government to give this situation more prominence. This is proof positive that he is committed and he has listened. For this he is to be commended.
    We do not know what the future will be. It will be different. People have been demanding the right to get outside. How much better it would be if the air they breath was healthier.

  3. I have tried to gather my thoughts on the concept of working from home and also the benefits to our environment of fewer traffic on our roads and less pollution.
    My two main thrusts are set out below.

    1. Home working:
    House, house, house
    Oh, you are made of stone
    But you are not alone
    -Ly house!

    2: The environment and pollution
    Pollution
    All around
    Sometimes up
    And sometimes down
    But always around.
    Pollution, are you coming to my town?
    Or am I coming to yours?
    We’re on different buses, pollution
    But we’re both using petrol
    Bombs.

    I think that encapsulates my viewpoint on this. Ordinarily I would support our MP and maybe even write to my MP on this issue. But my housemate points out that as an anarchist I am unable to even acknowledge the MP’s right to exist.
    So instead I shall write to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen.

  4. We are going to be doing things differently and increased working from home appears to have many added benefits, both for us as “individuals” and also the wider population and environment.
    I would welcome the opportunity to be based at my house when I return to work and I can see a scenario where a lot of employers would encourage it. I would actively seek a role with flexibility of location.
    It is interesting to read the comment from Philip Also regarding previous attempts to encourage such working behaviours and one can hope that the relevant authorities will also be more welcoming of such a change in working.

  5. Since working from home came in my internet connection has dropped to a crawl and is for ever dropping out. I am assuming it is because I am rural and the next village where the exchange is is much much bigger so they are taking all the band width. Must be to do with home workers as by 10 in the evening it is back to normal.
    If this is to be the norm some thing needs to be done about our 3rd world internet connection

  6. I would like to ask the MP what he proposes or indeed thinks, for the corporate property sector. Hardly on anyone’s mind right now but construction in the cities is continuing, predominantly office space. That sector will presumably collapse along with rentals. What will happen to these huge empty spaces?
    Will home working impact on rail and bus services if commuting declines massively, further isolating rural communities?
    If cities are less attractive, the private property sector will change too and commuter town and cities like Lichfield will be impacted.
    On an individual level it’s a good thing and environmentally too, but it could impact wider society more than perhaps initially thought.
    I’d be genuinely interested in what he thinks on this, not just on HS2.

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