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** Vicky Ford InTouch September 2019
The summer recess provided the opportunity to consider what has been accomplished in Chelmsford, set priorities for the time ahead and meet many local organisations. The return to Parliament was frenetic. Thank you to everyone who filled out my summer survey, your feedback is really appreciated.
On infrastructure, the £218 million we have secured for our second railway station and bypass is the largest housing related infrastructure grant in the country and new trains will arriving in coming months. People in Chelmsford have waited long enough for this station so I would like to see it built as quickly as possible.
I was with Essex County Council at the front of the queue to meet the Transport Secretary regarding the Army and Navy. The closure of the flyover is making travel around the city extremely challenging and I know many people are facing very frustrating delays. However, work to develop a long term replacement is being accelerated and the County Council is activating a raft of measures to reduce congestion in the interim.
It has been reassuring to see many more police out and about in Chelmsford. Over 360 additional officers have now been added to Essex Police. I met experts from Safer Places who told me about their work helping victims of domestic violence. The new Domestic Abuse bill will provide much greater protections to victims. I also caught up with the excellent Open Road team who are experts in helping those with serious addictions to turn their lives around.
Regarding our local NHS, the medical school at Anglia Ruskin University has been a huge success and this month we welcome to Chelmsford another 100 students training to become doctors. 300 new nurses are also arriving at our hospitals which will be a significant help.
Earlier this year I led a campaign with Essex MPs for fairer funding for schools. An additional £14 bn will now be invested over next three years. In Chelmsford 16 Primary and 6 Secondary schools will benefit directly. The additional funding for special needs and further education is especially welcome. Many congratulations to all year 7 pupils starting their term at new schools and especially the trail blazers at the new Beaulieu School.
I have worked with MP colleagues to draw up a manifesto for the environment and a very detailed select committee report on reducing emissions. It has been good to see some of our recommendations being implemented already with new protections for oceans and biodiversity as well as greater investment in electric car charging networks. I hope we may see more of these in Chelmsford.
This week we heard the exceptionally good news that the UK is to be nominated to host the next global conference for Climate Change. The “COP26” conference will be held in 2020 in Glasgow. This is a unique opportunity to bring together policy makers from all over the world and work together to take the necessary steps needed to address the huge challenges we face. Thank you to everyone for signing our petition to help make this happen.
Any a further thank you to everyone who sponsored my “Give up Plastic for Lent” to establish waste recycling in some of the world’s poorest countries. A whopping £8.8 million has been has now been raised and the project is expanding to two further countries.
Brexit remains the top item in Westminster with a very divided parliament. The Prime Minister has made it very clear that he wishes to agree a deal with the EU by the end of October. I have been doing all I can to help assist, including attending lengthy meetings with British and Irish politicians and stakeholders. I have not supported the Bill to extend the timetable for Brexit as I believe that removing the deadline could make agreeing a deal even more difficult.
It was great to spend more time in Chelmsford over the Summer break, including meeting many local charities and organisations, my first canoe trip on the river and holding Supermarket Surgeries at both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s where many customers commented on the helpfulness of the staff and Morrisons where the staff told me about their work to help community organisations.
Don't forget it's Chelmsford Heritage Open Days until September 22nd. They have an agenda packed full of fascinating things to do.
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