• Better Broadband in Okehampton/Tackling Climate Change

    Okehampton Times
    25 June 2019

    I recently visited Okehampton Business Centre for the launch of an Airband mast that will improve access to superfast broadband for nearby businesses and residential properties. More than 95% of UK premises now have access to superfast broadband and, although local coverage here in Central Devon has improved significantly during the past few years, there is still a lot more to do to improve connectivity in the most rural areas. I was also pleased to join the Google Digital Garage high street tour in Okehampton last week. The initiative provides free digital skills training to local businesses, helping them make the most of the digital economy. Having a strong online and social media presence can make a big difference for small businesses and hopefully some in Okehampton and the surrounding area will have benefited.

    The UK has an excellent record on reducing our carbon footprint (we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 25% between 2010 and 2018 and last year renewable electricity generation provided 33% of the nation’s energy compared to 6% in 2009) but much more needs to be done if we are to properly protect our planet for future generations. I am therefore very proud that the UK will be the first major economy in the world to legislate to end its contribution towards global warming by achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is an ambitious target but the future of our planet is too important not to try. Critics say that the impact would be minimal if countries like the USA and China do not follow suit, but efforts to tackle global problems has always begun with a handful of countries leading the way.

    For more from Mel follow him on twitter @MelJStride or visit