Letter to the Environment Agency about water

Dear Julia

 

         I was disappointed  to read your latest fatalistic email asking me to tell the public how bad things are with possibilities  of both droughts  and floods. The immediate necessity is for you and the water companies to replenish the reservoirs quickly now there is plenty of rain and rivers are often running full. The authorities and companies need to ensure full capacity and plenty of supplies in case there is another dry summer. What action are you taking to put in more reservoir capacity? We cannot keep on accepting more people into the country and building more homes without putting in more water supply.

 

         I also would like an up to date report on the work underway in the Thames basin to contain excess water at times of high rainfall and potential flood. The main burden of flood prevention should rest with the authorities, not with individual householders. Whenever a Council is considering granting planning permission on flood plain I expect your Agency to write in as a Statutory consultee to strongly advise against such construction or to insist on flood control works as part of the development. Older properties were usually built above any autumn flood line.

 

Yours sincerely

 

John Redwood

Reducing housing targets

I publish my question and answer on housing numbers . This implies there will  be more local influence over local plans, but I will  be pressing this matter further as it does not expressly remove top down targets.

 

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (75745):

Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he taking to avoid concentrating new housing investment in areas already facing shortages of services and infrastructure from rapid development. (75745)

Tabled on: 01 November 2022

Answer:
Lucy Frazer:

We are committed to enabling more homes to be built in the right places, and that is why we are taking steps in our Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to get more local plans in place to deliver infrastructure in co-ordination with new homes. To make sure these homes are supported by appropriate infrastructure and services, we are introducing a new Infrastructure Levy to replace Section 106 obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy.

We will also require local authorities to prepare infrastructure delivery strategies to ensure the right balance between delivering homes and infrastructure. This will build on policies we have already enacted in the National Planning Policy Framework, which set an expectation that local plan policies should make sufficient provision for housing, commercial development, infrastructure and community facilities.

The answer was submitted on 09 Nov 2022 at 17:57.

 

 

 

My Visit to Bracknell and Wokingham College for Colleges Week

On Friday 21 October I visited Bracknell and Wokingham College.  I was pleased to visit as the College does important work in equipping young people with the skills they need to find interesting and worthwhile jobs in our community.

I was shown the new care suite and facilities to train people for jobs in health and personal social services, looking after people and treating them when they face medical traumas.

I talked to a group of students about the role of an MP and what was happening with the change of Prime Ministers. The students asked a range of questions about national politics, social care and matters relating to mental health.

I am grateful to the College for the invitation and opportunity to see what they do. I wish them every success in helping more young people realise their dreams for the future.

 

My Letter to the Leader of Wokingham Borough Council regarding the Council’s Waste Disposal Consulation

Please see below my letter to Clive Jones, Leader of Wokingham Borough Council:

 

Dear Clive

I was most disappointed to read the Council’s Consultation document on refuse disposal. There are only two services which all householders and Council taxpayers use and rely on from the Council, the provision of roads and the weekly waste collection. One of the popular things about the services provided by Wokingham in recent years has been the continued provision of a weekly refuse service, combined with substantial recycling of many parts of domestic refuse. I think you would be wise to continue with a weekly waste collection.

What is the cost of providing wheelie bins for all and who pays? If these bins are made of plastic what is the environmental impact of their production?

It may be possible to provide additional recycling facilities, as we all agree the less we put to landfill the better. It is important  not to let large quantities of waste  build up by the side of people’s houses, given the way these can be disrupted by local animals or affected by wind and weather. I would urge you to think again, whilst seeing what more can be done to reuse, recycle or use for energy conversion more of the waste streams coming from our homes.

Will the Council act in accordance with public wishes on weekly collections in response to the consultation?

Yours sincerely

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP, DPhil FCSI

 

Visit to Winnersh Primary School

I am grateful to the staff who hosted me  at Winnersh Primary School  yesterday for a visit. I was made to feel very welcome.  The School prides itself on providing a friendly and positive approach through teamwork and valuing every pupil.

I was asked to talk to the top year group of pupils about my work as an MP. I briefly explained how an MP is elected, how the MP represents the local community in Parliament  and puts its case to the government, and how the MP seeks to explain or criticise government policy to the constituents. I talked in neutral terms  about paying for schools and education, about how people have changed between Labour and Conservative led governments in elections, and about the four parts of the UK given the current topicality of the movement for Scottish independence.

I left plenty of time for questions . I was asked a series of questions¬† about the UK’s progress to net zero, and about single use plastics.

During the course of answering a teacher challenged my statement that the U.K. has cut its carbon emissions more than any  other major economy. I seek to be careful when making factual claims. I have since checked the figures which underwrite the point I was making and are reproduced below for the 30 years from the 1990 carbon dioxide baseline:

Increase or decrease in output of CO2 1990-2020

China    +381%

India¬† ¬† +302%I was pleased there was¬†plenty of time for questions and the children¬†asked me about the UK’s progress to net zero, and about single use plastics.¬†

South Korea  +129%

Brazil  +97.9%

Mexico   +40%

South Africa  +38%

Australia +38%

Canada +19%

Spain  Р7%

Japan  -8%

USA  -10%

France -27%

Russia  -30%

Germany – 37%

UK  -46%

It was also put to me that the UK had a high per capita output of CO2. The figures provided on Worldometer below show that there are 19 countries with more than double the UK’s output per head, and there are many more above the UK including large economies like Germany, Japan and China.

Per capita emissions in tons   USA 15.5, Russia 11.44,Canada 18.58. South Korea 11.85, Saudi Arabia 15.94, Australia 17.1, Taiwan 11.72, Kazakhstan 13.01, UAE  23.37,  Kuwait 25.65, Qatar 37.29,Oman 19.61, Turkmenistan 14, Trinidad 25.38, Estonia 17, Montenegro 25, Luxembourg 17.5, Brunei  18, Bahamas 11,

UK 5.5 tons per capita

 

I hope these figures are useful to  pupils as they study these matters.

Evendons Lane

A tanker stuck in a sink hole on Evendons Lane is  very disruptive to local travel and to the local school. I have written to the  company  to urge them to take more rapid action to remove their vehicle so the road can be repaired as quickly as possible. They are well aware of the need to sort the problem out but claim it will take time as they need to get a crane in. The sooner the better.

How to pay more tax if you wish

Three constituents have written to me saying they do not want a tax cut as they think their incomes are good and should be taxed more.

The great news is the government has a system that allows anyone who wishes to pay extra voluntary tax to do so. Log onto the gov.uk website to make extra payments

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/voluntary payments-donations-to-government

Wokingham Borough want to price shoppers out of Wokingham town centre

Wokingham Councillors have asked me to bring this to attention. I agree with them that the last thing we need are big parking charge rises when we need to get inflation down and help people on stretched budgets. We need to promote Wokingham shops, not price people out of them. I have been told:

 

Breaking News – Wokingham’s LibDem¬† /Lab / Ind Coalition propose to double parking charges, to charge on Sundays and in the evenings!

This image, copied from the agenda for the Council’s Executive Meeting later this month shows that the price of one hour of parking will increase by 62.5%, massively ahead of inflation.

For years officers at WBC asked the Conservative councillors to increase parking charges across the borough.

We repeatedly resisted this for two reasons.
1) We always wanted to promote businesses and didn’t want to prevent residents from enjoying our towns, supporting local businesses or from living their daily lives.
2) The justification was not strong enough as the cost of running our car parks had not dramatically changed.

Parking charge timings are also set to change, with the money hungry coalition proposing implementing charges until 10pm, a change from the current 6pm stop time.
Anyone used to going out for dinner at the weekend, parking and not needing a ticket after 6pm, is therefore likely to be caught out and fined through until 10pm.

The coalition has also proposed to start charging on Sundays. Again, Conservative councillors repeatedly resisted this.

In a time when the cost of living is significantly increasing, when many businesses are still struggling to regain their footfall and customers post-pandemic, the LAST THING our council should be doing right now is increasing the price of parking.

It will discourage people from shopping local, further impact already struggling businesses, increase the cost of living in our community and penalise those who work in our towns or use our car parks as part of their commute.

Wokingham Borough Conservatives will fight against this disgraceful and unjustified daylight robbery of our community.
We will keep members updated to ensure you can sign the petition and give your support to fight this.

 

Energy Prices Support Package

I have received the letter below from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy outlining support for businesses, charities & public sector organisations (such as schools and hospitals) against rising energy prices. Further information can be found on the following weblink: Energy Prices Support Package

Please note that this weblink is regarding support for non-domestic customers only. I will publish the link to updated support for households once it becomes available:

Dear Members,

ENERGY PRICES SUPPORT PACKAGE

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 8 September, the Government is today publishing further details of the support we are offering to people and businesses in the face of soaring energy prices. This package of unprecedented assistance for the whole UK provides the certainty families and business owners need to help them manage their energy bills.

Details of the Energy Price Guarantee for domestic consumers and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for business and non-domestic properties are available on gov.uk. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will set out more details of the costs of the Government’s support as part of his fiscal statement on 23 September.

We have designed the schemes to be simple for energy consumers. Families and eligible businesses do not have to take action or apply for support, energy suppliers will automatically apply the appropriate reduction via their energy bill. Households will receive an equivalent level of financial support wherever they are in the UK. The same is true for businesses across the UK too.

The Energy Price Guarantee for Great Britain will ensure that a typical household pays an average £2,500 a year for their energy, from 1 October 2022 for the next two years. On average usage, a household will save £1,000 a year. This is in addition to the already announced £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme for households across the UK. The most vulnerable UK households will also continue to receive £1,200 of support. For consumers in England, Scotland and Wales who pay for their energy through a monthly, quarterly or other regular bill, the Energy Price Guarantee will be applied when their bill is calculated. The Guarantee limits the amount the bill payer can be charged per unit of gas or electricity, so the exact bill amount will continue to be influenced by how much energy is used.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide protections for all businesses, voluntary sector and public sector organisations in Great Britain which face excessively high energy bills over the winter period, whether they are on existing fixed price contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, signing new fixed price contracts, variable or deemed tariffs or flexible purchase contracts To administer support, the Government has set a Supported Wholesale Price ‚Äď expected to be ¬£211 per MWh for electricity and ¬£75 per MWh for gas, less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter ‚Äď‚ÄĮwhich is a discounted price per unit of gas and electricity.. Suppliers will pass the reduction in the wholesale price through to their customers.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will run initially for 6 months covering energy use from 1 October 2022 until 31 March 2023. We will publish a review of the scheme after 3 months. This review will consider how best to offer further support to customers who are the most vulnerable to energy price increases. These are likely to be those who are least able to adjust, for example by reducing energy usage or increasing energy efficiency.

As the Prime Minister said on 8 September, the Government is bringing forward emergency legislation to underpin the delivery of our support package. We will introduce a Bill immediately after Parliamentary Recess. It will include measures for the GB Energy Price Guarantee for domestic consumers and Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses and non-domestic properties so all of GB receives equivalent support; and enable the delivery of comparable schemes in Northern Ireland. It will provide powers to enable low carbon generators to move onto fixed prices to end the situation where electricity prices are set by the marginal price of gas ensuring consumers pay a fair price for their energy.

With every good wish,

Jacob Rees Mogg