As readers will know I’ve been working to secure a rail station for Wellington since becoming the MP. We’ve already had significant Government backing and this week I was delighted that the station has come another step closer to reality with the Chancellor announcing £5 million development funding that will enable the Devon and Somerset Metro group, which I co-chair, to progress the station designs phase for both Wellington and Cullompton. It chimes perfectly with the Governments’ levelling up agenda which I pointed out to the Chancellor had to happen across the southwest as well as in the north.
This week I have been dealing with the issue of storm sewage overflows and I am pleased that through the Environment Bill we have introduced a wide range of measures to reduce the harmful impact of these overflows on our rivers. Storm sewerage overflows were designed for emergency use in time of excessive rainfall but have been relied on far too frequently by water companies to the detriment of our watercourses. Now, thanks to our new legislation a duty will be put on water companies to progressively reduce the adverse impacts of discharges from these overflows. A raft of other measures require overflows to be monitored and reported on so that it will be clear when they are being used so that action to cut down on this can be taken and enforced. Government has also set out in their policy statement to the regulator Ofwat, that water companies will be expected to significantly reduce the use of sewage storm overflows. This is the first time any Government has prioritised this. Full details are on my website. I am also delighted to have set out steps to further protect ancient woodland and announced a charge for single use items which will help cut waste and end our throwaway society.
Finally, I’ve fed in concerns to the Secretary of State for Health regarding the difficulties some have had accessing their vaccine booster and this seems to be improving; and I’ve had meetings with a number of constituents to discuss the A358 upgrade and I urge those worried about the proposed route to feed into the consultation which is open until Monday 22nd November.