MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I have been speaking to Government Ministers about important current issues affecting Fylde this week.

Firstly, I have been working closely with councillors, local people and businesses to try to help tackle their concerns about Network Rail’s electrification of our local railways.

The works, which are vital to improve the service, are causing concern, particularly in Treales, because of the need for future bridge alterations which could take several months and cause disruption for local businesses and residents.

Suggestions were put forward to mitigate the effects but, so far, none of them have been accepted.

But a solution has to be found and I will now be raising this issue with Ministers at the Department of Transport as well as looking to meet again with Network Rail.

There’s also The Victoria Hotel which, as regular Express readers will know, is under threat of closure and demolition.

I met with a group of “Save the Vic” campaigners who want to explore a “Community Right to Buy” bid for the hotel, enabled by the new Localism Act, and I’m now seeking further advice on that on their behalf.

I have tabled parliamentary questions and raised this directly with the Minister, Greg Clark, and have been assured of a swift response.

Finally, like many people, I have been studying the independent scientific report on the earth tremors which were linked to shale gas exploration in Fylde.

This study looks into geological and technical issues which confirms that hydraulic fracturing caused two very small tremors felt in and around the Poulton area.

The report, by a panel of independent scientific experts, indicates that they believe that gas exploration should be allowed to continue, on the strict proviso that a number of technical changes, aimed at mitigating any risk of further tremors, are employed.  I believe that this same principle, of robust, independent scientific study, must be applied to all areas of shale gas extraction, delivering a gold standard of regulation, before any final conclusions are drawn.

This report was not, therefore, a green light for drilling to resume. A public consultation is now open and it is very important that interested parties respond.

I have, throughout this process, been representing those views and questions to agencies involved, Cuadrilla Resources, as well as Ministers and the Secretary of State for Energy, to ensure that the people of Fylde’s opinions are heard.

It is vital that MPs make themselves available to get constituent’s views across to the highest level of Government.

I’m in a fortunate position to be able to do so, often in person, and I will continue to fight for Fylde’s interests.

Comments are closed.