17 MAY 2019

East Suffolk Extra Column - 17th May 2019

"The Environment Agency published a draft strategy on future flooding and coastal management, trying to take a long term view on the impact of climate change. One of their headline grabbing points was the threat to coastal communities. I'm reminded of my first speech in Parliament where I said that I would be fighting hard to change policies at my department which seemed content for parts of my constituency simply to wash away in the sea. I still am. Our local council has already approved a Shoreline Management Plan which sets out how this area will respond to coastal erosion. I will continue to support this approach.

I recently met a group of small business owners at a roundtable chaired by the Federation of Small Business to discuss local issues which mattered to them, which varied by business. The common theme was workforce supply and skills. Starting your own business takes courage. The government is there to help, particularly through its low interest loans supported by a business mentor. To find out more, check the gov.uk website.

In Westminster, while we are progressing animal welfare with some new legislation, understandably many farmers and landowners are concerned with what is happening on shooting general licences leading to a lack of predator control with some horrific impact on livestock, other wild birds and the threat to crops. Natural England, as the licensing authority, was legally challenged on their approach to general licences and have revoked them, replacing them though many constituents believe in an unsatisfactory way. I'm pleased that the decision on these issues is now back in the control of Ministers. We have sought detailed evidence to help us put forward licences which are fit for purpose and legally robust.

Finally, good luck to all the students starting their GCSEs this week."

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