"Happy New Year!
In 2018 we commemorate two totemic events - 100 years since the end of the Great War and of women getting the vote. As the first women to ever be elected to Parliament in Suffolk – I'm incredibly proud that a statue of Suffragist, Millicent Fawcett, who was born and raised in Aldeburgh – and part of the great Garrett family – will be erected in Parliament square this year. The first statue there of a woman.
I hope 2018 will also a big year for improving our road infrastructure. Late last year I added my support to the business case being developed by Suffolk County Council for the Suffolk Energy Gateway, the new road to by-pass the four villages along the A12. We now await the final decision from the Department of Transport. I also welcome the fact that the A14 has been marked as a potential expressway in the Strategic Road Network Report which should help us sort out some of the congestion points along the route.
Talking of roads - ahead of the phase 2 closure of Woods Lane which started on Monday, Bloor Homes committed to extended working hours on site, which should help reduce the length of the closure. Following a public consultation Bloor have agreed to extend their working hours to 730am – 8pm Monday – Friday and 730am – 4pm on Saturday and Sunday from the normal working hours of the Phase 1 closure. The response to the consultation did not support 24-hour working due to the impact on residents in the immediate vicinity. I'm pleased Bloor have listened to our concerns and although I recognise any closure will be incredibly frustrating for local residents, I'm confident from this extension in hours that the works will be completed more quickly.
Finally, the Secretary of State for the Environment and my departmental colleague, Michael Gove, last week set out our plans for the way farming subsidies will work post Brexit. The policy is designed to create certainty for famers over the medium term with guaranteed EU level subsidies until 2022. Our future plans will also see farmers rewarded for providing 'public goods' such as planting woodland, boosting wildlife, improving water quality and recreating wildflower meadows – all part of our policy to make sure our environment is even better protected as we leave the EU."
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