MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

This week Lancashire County Council are to make a decision over plans for two shale gas exploration sites at Roseacre Wood and Westby-with-Plumpton.

I have always said that I feel it is imperative that decisions over shale gas sites are made by locally-elected representatives who can make judgements based on specific factors which are relevant to those areas.

I know there are many arguments for and against these sites which councillors have heard in recent days, weeks and months and, while I have no powers over planning, I have ensured I am well-versed on all the debates.

In Parliament, I have raised concerns surrounding regulation and recently voted in favour of a moratorium on shale gas exploration until certain issues are resolved. I believe a number of the groups making representations to the council used comments I have made in the House of Commons in their evidence and I told them I was happy for them to do so.

However, these planning decisions are not mine to take and, as I have said from the outset, I will support whatever judgement the development control committee makes on these matters.

This week is Armed Forces Week on the Fylde coast and locally we have an historic relationship with the services via Weeton Barracks and the RAF presence at BAE Systems in Warton.

As a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme I have gleaned an insight into the important, and often dangerous, roles our service-people carry out at home and abroad.

It is fitting that there are a large number of events for young and old this week which celebrate the past achievements of our armed forces and recognise the work they do today.

On Friday, I met with Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden to discuss issues surrounding Blackpool Airport.

While we may sit on opposing benches in Parliament, when it comes to the airport we are of one mind and that is to ensure that commercial flights return to Squires Gate at the earliest possible opportunity.

Prior to that meeting, I was invited to break-ground on the new McCarthy and Stone assisted living development on St Annes Promenade.

This site has been derelict for many years so it was a pleasure to see building work commencing and be shown the plans for a high-quality residential development in such a prominent location.

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