I am proud that this government is absolutely focussed on getting children outdoors and protecting our beautiful green spaces.
We already have a good track record: since 2010 we have decarbonised faster than any G7 economy and as Foreign Secretary I was proud to secure Glasgow as the host for COP26, which took place two years ago.
That was the first time that we brought nature into the heart of the global debate on the environment and there was a momentous agreement to protect 90 per cent of the world’s forests.
But the Prime Minister believes we can go further still – and I couldn’t agree more.
In our 2019 election manifesto the Conservatives included a commitment to set up a new national park and last week Rishi Sunak confirmed that we will fulfil that pledge.
This was something I was happy to prioritise funding for as Chancellor, so there will be a further £15 million to support existing national parks and national landscapes (until recently known as AONBs) such as the Surrey Hills.
I have written before about how important the Surrey Hills are to me personally, as I know they are for people across Surrey.
From walks on the weekend with my family and our Labrador Poppy, to where I trained for my first marathon, the beautiful landscape is home to so many of my most cherished memories.
That is why I persuaded Natural England to hold a consultation on whether to extend the boundaries of our protected areas, the responses to which are currently under review.
I really hope they agree to the proposals.
But if the Surrey Hills became a national park they would have even stronger protections.
There would also be access to more funding to protect biodiversity in the area.
So, although as Chancellor I cannot influence the decision on where the new national park will be, I will be ramping up my campaign in my capacity as a local MP to make Surrey Hills a national park, and I really hope we will be successful.
Do make sure to sign the petition on my website if you agree!