12 JUN 2018

Coastal Scene Column - 8th June 2018

"It was great to be back in Suffolk last week as I attended the Suffolk Show. Unfortunately, I have been in hospital recently. I had an ear infection which turned into something quite serious, leading to an operation. I am still getting treatment from district nurses as I continue my recovery but it was great to get back out and about at the show and speak to so many people, including meeting representatives of the National Farmers Union.

Regular readers will remember that I have written before about the potential impact on our local communities of the proposed energy projects on the Suffolk coast including impacts on the countryside and disruption to local residents. I completely understand the concern from those that live in Leiston and villages nearby in regard to the proposals for electricity substations for the wind farms and interconnector cables. In addition to Sizewell C, the cumulative impact of these additional projects is substantial and will need to be very carefully assessed and it is important that relevant and robust mitigation measures are put in place. I met the Energy Secretary, Greg Clark in March to discuss this and I am in the process of setting up a meeting, including our local councillors, with Ministers and officials from the department in order to share the concerns of residents.

It is World Environment Day this week. I am really proud to be Environment Minister when we are making good progress on improving our environment – air quality, better water, nature and tackling global issues too. I am always grateful to those who volunteer (it is Volunteers' Week too) and pick up litter and plastic. We continue to bring new laws into effect which make it easier to reduce these problems and make it easier for councils to take appropriate action. I have a particular passion for reducing unnecessary use of plastic and I am pleased that businesses are responding to the calls of government and consumers to improve.

Finally, I wanted to draw reader's attention to the National Rural Crime Survey which is asking people that live or work in rural communities to feedback their experiences of rural crime. This is an issue that often comes up when I conduct my constituency tours – and so it is important that people respond. The survey will then help provide a picture of what has improved, what challenges remain and what more the police can do to support the most isolated parts of Suffolk. The survey is open until this Sunday, 10th June. You can have your say here - http://www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net/research/internal/2018survey/"

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