Alameda Middle School Visit to Parliament
Posted Thursday, 11 September 2014 at 13:37
It was a real pleasure to welcome Alameda Middle School to Parliament yesterday. I hope they all enjoyed the tour despite getting stuck in traffic on the way down the M1.
Our question and answer session was lively, fun and challenging for me! The youngsters asked some very probing and intelligent questions.
It’s always great to see kids coming to Parliament to learn more about our democracy, how it works and what I do as their MP.
Millions Announced for Investment in Bedfordshire's Transport Infrastructure
Posted Monday, 7 July 2014 at 10:51
I was delighted to support Bedfordshire’s bid for funding from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership for investment in, among other things in the area, dualling the remaining parts of the A421 between Milton Keynes and Bedford.
Such infrastructure spending is vital to keep Mid-Bedfordshire moving when we have ever increasing numbers of cars on our roads, with more to come as we welcome further residential developments in the years ahead.
This government is putting our economy back on track by reducing waste and inefficiency in the public finances while investing more in the infrastructure we so badly need. We are currently seeing levels of spending on infrastructure not seen since the Victorian age and it’s important that Mid-Bedfordshire gets its fair share of that.
I want all my constituents to know that, while this latest investment will enable the construction of thousands of new homes in the area, I will continue to fight for all developments to be sustainable and in keeping with the character of the area. This is not a green light for developers to build whatever, wherever they like.
Cranfield Turbine Application Rejected
Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 10:38
I was delighted to hear yesterday evening that the wind turbine application near Cranfield has been rejected.
This proposal for a wind farm had nothing to do with providing green energy and was all about a corporate landowner milking government subsidies while blighting a picturesque landscape.
It was a real pleasure to support the local community as they rose up, almost as one, against the application and I would like to say a special thank you to Councillor Sue Clark.
It just goes to show, the localism agenda isn’t dead and people power can still save communities when they act together!
Saturday's Rally Against Cranfield Turbines
Posted Tuesday, 24 June 2014 at 11:32
On Saturday, I attended a rally in Cranfield to add my support to local residents as they turned out to object to the proposed six turbine wind farm that FCC are planning to erect around this strong community and beautiful village.
When I arrived there were twenty or so cars at the proposed meeting place and, I have to say, my heart did sink a little.
Yet as Councillor Sue Clark and I walked out to the demonstration point we could hardly believe our eyes because, looking up the road, we saw hundreds of residents pouring towards us - far more than we could ever have hoped for.
Sue and her team had arranged for an airship to fly at the exact height and location of one of the turbines. This was a shock to many as the developer, FCC, in their planning PR and literature had depicted the turbines to be much smaller and further away than they actually are. The strength of feeling against the turbines is huge as it would totally blight and destroy the local environment for thousands of people.
On Saturday, Cranfield residents did what they do best, they united as a community against a monstrous proposal which has no foundation in green policy but is rooted in a desire by a big business to benefit from government subsidies. This is demonstrated by the fact that the turbines are not proposed to be in an area that would benefit from wind, but which is determined by geographical location and cost.
I cannot help but add at this point that the Liberal Democrats are 100% in support of wind turbine technology and would support this proposal.
If you feel you could support a demonstration on the day this proposal will be debated at Central Beds Council, please watch this space for further information.
Let's hope that along with other inappropriate developments proposed to alter forever our green haven of Mid Beds, we can also defeat this one.
Anti-Turbine Demonstration in Cranfield on Saturday
Posted Thursday, 19 June 2014 at 13:22
This Saturday I will attend a rally in Cranfield to oppose a planning application for the construction of a wind farm in the nearby area.
The planning application is for six turbines to be placed around the perimeter of the former land-fill site south-east of Cranfield. Their positioning has been chosen entirely according to the geography on the ground and not where they will be able to catch the most wind.
From 10:30am on Saturday an airship will be flown at turbine height, 300ft, to demonstrate the powerfully negative visual impact this project will have on Cranfield and surrounding villages in this beautiful part of the English countryside.
I’m happy to support local people in the fight to protect their villages from having these turbines imposed upon them. Wind farms are an overly-subsidised, inefficient form of generating power at the best of time. Putting one on this location aims to serve only the needs of the corporate landowner and not local people, the national grid or the taxpayer.
Anyone interested in joining us should gather on Wood End Road/ 200 yards from Lodge Road junction, Cranfield, near ‘The Kennels’. It will be clearly signed. Please bring placards and posters. Parking is available at Cranfield Court, Wood End Road. Refreshments will be available afterwards.
Ampthill Literary Festival on 5th July
Posted Monday, 16 June 2014 at 15:56
On Saturday 5th July I will be at the Ampthill Literary Festival alongside the BBC’s Gavin Esler and Brian Clemens, writer of both The Avengers and The Professionals
The event runs from 10:30am-5pm and tickets can be bought from Waitrose in Amphtill or online at www.amplitfest.eventbrite.co.uk
There are three workshops (£5.00 each and can be purchased separate to the main event): Amy Sparkes (Craft and storytelling - for children aged 3-6), Natasha Desborough (fiction writing - for young writers and those who want to write for the teen market), and Judi Sutherland (poetry - for all ages).
There will also be cream teas, coffee, wine, a book stall and author signings. I hope to see many of you there!
Statement on Rookery Pit
Posted Friday, 30 May 2014 at 13:05
The new proposal to build a gas-fired power station in Rookery Pit will receive the same scrutiny and analysis as did Covanta and, quite possibly, the same opposition.
The plans have not yet been submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council. The press release today is just an expression of intent and they haven’t yet held any of the public exhibitions. I will make sure that local people know about these exhibitions and can go along to investigate the plans for themselves.
It is not for me to decide on planning matters as that is the responsibility of the council. But it is my responsibility to represent local people and if those affected by the plans ask me to oppose them then I will do so, with the same degree of vigorous opposition I have deployed in the past against Covanta, NIRAH, the shambolic Eco town proposal and every other inappropriate planning development suggested for the area - all of which ignored in a spectacular manner the needs, wishes or environmental considerations of local people.
Bring Back our Girls
Posted Wednesday, 14 May 2014 at 10:10
Having already signed the appropriate Early Day Motions, it was an honour yesterday to join with other British female MPs from all parties to show our support for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls.
Every female MP serving in a free democracy anywhere in the world has a moral obligation to speak out on behalf of the kidnapped schoolgirls.
News and developments are moving fast - it falls upon all of us to pray for a safe and happy ending.
Posted Tuesday, 6 May 2014 at 09:22
This morning I shall lead a debate on cyberstalking in Westminster Hall. Cyberstalking occurs when someone becomes obsessively fixated with another and pursues them using electronic means that cause distress or fear in the victim.
As we have moved into an age of electronic information and communication, stalkers have found new, more effective and efficient means to perpetrate their malicious acts. A report last year of victims that had contacted the National Stalking Helpline found that some form of technology was used by their stalker in over 70% of cases.
Perceived anonymity is one factor that can lead to toxic disinhibition, by removing a capable guardian, accountability and shame. Threats conducted under the shroud of anonymity can lead to increased fear in the victim.
We need to ensure that there are sufficient education and training programmes around the issue of cyberstalking. People at all levels and all areas of the justice system must be aware about just how skilful these cyberstalkers can be, and how far and significant the impact can be. This is not a simple undertaking, but it is very important.
It is also important people become aware that, due to legislative changes that received royal ascent last year, there is help available to the victims of cyberstalking in the form of legal action and prosecution. The only way cyberstalking can be reduced is if victims make use of the legislative changes available and effective prosecutions occur. Only then will we see bullies, faced with a deterrent, think twice about their pervasive behaviour.
Posted Tuesday, 29 April 2014 at 13:57
The good economic news keeps on coming. Today we learnt that the economy grew another 0.8% in the past three months but everyone I speak to in Westminster knows that there is more to be done securing the recovery for everybody, but most especially our young people.
That’s why it was so heartening to read the latest figures showing workplaces employing apprentices in Mid-Bedfordshire. These show consistent growth since 2010, from 220, to 260 in 2011/2012 and now to 370 in 2012/2013.
Such access to workplace training is key to a rewarding and substantive career for many youngsters and the increase has been made possible by government reforms incentivising businesses to see the rewards they can reap by investing in a young person’s future.
So much of politics is about preserving what is good about society for the future generations and protecting them from the selfishness of our own. This is what drives government efforts to bring down our deficit and debt, why I call for more home building so our grandchildren will be able to afford somewhere to live and why more apprenticeships are so important in providing good jobs into the future.
Cranfield Residents: Object Now!
Posted Wednesday, 16 April 2014 at 13:18
The plan to install six wind turbines near the villages of Cranfield, Marston, Brogborough and Lidlington has now been filed and it is vital that residents object, here, now.
I’m convinced that in fifty years time our grandchildren will look at these turbines and laugh at our foolishness in allowing such monsters of inefficiency to blight their landscape.
My objections to the forcing of wind turbines on communities I represent are legion, but it comes down to the principle that the benefits gained are dwarfed by the distress caused. These things cause serious disturbances in their local areas.
Many kinds of background noise are filtered out by the brain but that is not the case with turbines. The non-repetitive nature of the noise, due to changes in the strength of the wind, means that people can’t ‘zone out’ the noise in the same way. It is constantly present.
Studies are ongoing into the potential dangers this causes to the health of people living nearby, but having a horror film soundtrack playing in the background of your life is hardly conducive to relaxation and wellbeing!
The location of the turbines has been determined not by finding the most efficient place for them to catch prevailing winds but entirely for the convenience of the landowners. They are being placed around the edge of a former landfill site so that the company can maximise revenue from land that they cannot otherwise use.
What is so frustrating about this case is that local people thought they had reclaimed the landscape after the closure of the landfill site. It is fantastic to see dog walkers and cyclists and parents with young children out enjoying such a great area, especially now that Spring has arrived.
If communities want to host a wind farm nearby then of course they should be allowed to do so. But given the lack of such willing victims I believe the government should be focused on investing in new nuclear technology, complemented by some renewables such as solar and off-shore wind.
At a recent public meeting I was pleased to attend it was clear that the community in Cranfield and the surrounding villages is almost unanimous in saying that they do not want these turbines near their homes. I support this entirely, having stood at the last election on a manifesto committed to the localism agenda.
Everyone who objects to this planning proposal for six turbines needs to lodge their objections before the end of the consultation. After that point it will be too late. Visit this website as soon as you can to register your objections to this ludicrous plan.
Posted Monday, 14 April 2014 at 16:10
If you want to download something to read over Easter, The Four Streets is on offer via Kindle for under a pound for a limited time...