THIS week has seen a lot of long-awaited announcements, but one that really stood out is the plan to increase the severity of sentences for drivers who cause death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone.

Previously sentences were limited to a maximum of 14 years, but after a long campaign the maximum sentences have now been increased for the worst cases to the equivalent of manslaughter or life in prison.

I became involved in the campaign following the tragic death of James Gilbey, the son of two of my constituents – Major Richard and Mrs Angela Gilbey from Upavon, who I campaigned alongside for these important changes to Government policy.

James was killed in Leeds by two men racing their cars at 90mph in a 40mph zone, for which the drivers received an eight-year sentence with an automatic tariff reduction to four years.

Nothing will bring James back, but a change in the law that puts the worst cases of this crime on a level with manslaughter is a step towards achieving justice for James and his family.

I was proud to deliver one of the other big announcements this week when, after a long summer of hard work, I unveiled the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy. It’s an ambitious strategy which sets out how the UK is leading the world in cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change while driving economic growth.

Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen and national income risen faster and further than any other nation in the G7 – since 1990, emissions are down by 42 per cent while the economy has grown by 67 per cent.

The strategy sets out plans and 50 initiatives to invest more than £2.5 billion to support low carbon innovation from 2015 to 2021, and includes programmes delivering low carbon energy, transport, agriculture and waste. There are already more than 430,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains.

These policies will provide further opportunities right across the country for more jobs, higher earning power and increased productivity. The low carbon economy could grow 11 per cent per year between 2015 and 2030 – faster than the rest of the economy.

It is increasingly clear that if we meet our decarbonisation challenges but also look to build on our positions of strength in finance – or offshore wind or electric vehicles – we can export our expertise, generate jobs and improve productivity right across the country. And that means that while the low carbon challenge is a steep one, the opportunity is far greater.