MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I recently met with the managing director of Westinghouse Springfields to discuss proposals for the company to build the UK’s first Small Modular Reactor (SMR), which could make Fylde a global centre for a new British nuclear industry.

In his Autumn Statement in November, the Chancellor revealed that at least £250m will be spent by 2020 on an ambitious programme to position the UK as a global leader in innovative nuclear technologies. He announced a competition to identify the best value design of SMRs and paved the way towards building one of the world’s first mini-reactors in the UK in the 2020s.

Obviously Westinghouse is keen to position itself at the centre of this new industry and the company has since announced it is ready to manufacture Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR) fuel at Springfields, should its proposal get the go ahead.

That would secure the future of the site and safeguard highly-skilled and well-paid jobs in Fylde and the wider UK – something I am told no other SMR technology provider currently offers.

I have made it clear to all concerned that it is vital that SMR technology is produced and licensed in the UK, rather than being bought off the shelf from other countries, and that Britain benefits from the employment and expertise that go along with the Government’s investment.

On Friday, I met with farmers to discuss issues with flooding in Fylde during the extreme weather conditions experienced over the Christmas period.

It came the day after I had met with the Flooding Minister, Rory Stewart MP, to discuss funding for a capital project to help drainage at Dock Bridge in east Lytham.

I am hopeful that project will soon be signed off and believe it will help bring to an end the flooding issues which have blighted rural Fylde for years, while increasing protection for homes in Lytham.

On Friday afternoon, I met with Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to discuss progress on a new M55 Lytham St Annes Link Road.

It has been some time since I helped secure the £2m Government funding which I had hoped would kick-start this project and I was keen to find out what progress had been made on complicated negotiations between public and private organisations to get the scheme up and running.

I again made it clear to all present how important this road is to Fylde and my determination that construction start as soon as possible.

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