From the London Stock Exchange to the Swaffham Sheep Fair, it has been an exciting and varied month. I’ve loved getting out, meeting constituents and exploring the best of South West Norfolk. Here is my roundup for May.
Meetings and Events
Rail Summit The Ely Area Taskforce held its third rail summit in Ely to discuss the progress so far and hear from the members involved about upgrading Ely junction and the surrounding roads / level crossings.
I was joined by other regional MPs- George Freeman, Jo Churchill and Sir Henry Bellingham. Along with local Councillors, East Cambs Council, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council and Mayor Palmer.
We learnt that rail design will be ready early 2019 but it was disappointing to hear there has been a delay on delivering the 8 car trains- we will work with James Palmer to push this forward.
I made it very clear to Network Rail that we will keep the pressure on them so this project can progress.
Roads I met Tom McCabe from Norfolk County Council to look at the traffic black spots in the area.
Concerns have been raised about various locations that are causing safety fears. We went to Bridge Street, Thetford, and discussed pedestrian crossing and speeding vehicles around Thetford Grammar School.
Nuns Bridges in Thetford was another focus- HGVs are try to navigate the roads once they realise no HGVs are allowed across bridges. This has led to damage to property and is contributing to traffic disruption.
Afterwards we travelled to Mundford to investigate and view speeding along the A1065- and again, pedestrian crossings solutions were discussed.
I want to see action in these places and will continue to work with the Council in ensuring changes can be made.
Swaffham Sheep Fair Such a fab day out at the Swaffham Sheep Fair!The farmers market showcased some impressive and delicious local produce, which I had the pleasure of trying out. Great to see native breeds back in our market towns.
Swaffham is starting a trend to get more lamb on our plates across the country.
The charity sheep auction was great fun- reminiscent of the sheep trading and wool industry that put Swaffham on the map. Top auctioneer Fabian Eagle got the crowds entertained with his patter. I struggled to control my wayward sheep.
In the afternoon I suited up to wave the flag at Swaffham Raceway. Monaco GP here I come!
Thetford Power Station I saw first hand high tech energy at work converting poultry litter to energy at Thetford Power Station. The biomass plant, operated by Energy Power Resources Limited (EPRL) annually uses a million tonnes of animal waste and biproducts – this generates enough electricity to power 83,000 households, as well as producing 80,000 tonnes of fertiliser sold under the branding of Fibrophos and P-Grow.
It was great to meet staff and hear about EPRL’s apprenticeship programme – currently 40 employees on site, many working in the highly skilled engineering and maintenance sections.
Downham Tandoori The Tiffin Cup is an annual competition for restaurants and I stopped by Downham Tandoori to celebrate their shortlisting. I also sampled their John Major curry eaten by the man himself. It's got mushrooms in!
Federation of Small Business I spoke at the Federation of Small Business #FSBConnect event, held in Stow Bardolph near Downham. Great to talk to small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups in the constituency- South West Norfolk is doing really exciting things.
Numeracy Day 16th May marked the UK’s first Numeracy Day- and to celebrate the importance of numeracy, financial literacy and maths skills, I opened the London Stock Exchange with the National Numeracy Team.
Better maths skills can lead to an earnings increase of more than 10% and boosts productivity, quality of life and the economy. That’s why we have launched initiatives to match the best in the world, like- Maths Schools, Maths Mastery, the Maths Pupil Premium and we are embedding maths across all major strands of technical education, including traineeships, apprenticeships and future T levels.
We must continue encouraging young people to study this vital subject.
Institute of Technology Fantastic news that West Suffolk College has progressed through to stage 2 of their application for an Eastern Institute of Technology.
IoTs will enable businesses and education and training providers delivering together provision in technical disciplines, particularly STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).
I will continue to support this important plan.
Farming Forum Farmers from across South West Norfolk joined me at Denver Windmill, nr Downham Market for a question and answer session about the future of agricultural policy in England post BrexitTopics discussed included: Food production, environmental protection, direct Payments, future trade arrangements, wildlife and renewable projects.
I will collate the discussion and raise the points with Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt. Hon Michael Gove MP.
After the meeting many farmers stayed to enjoy the fantastic Fish and Chip Friday at the Windmill- along with a sample of the award winning Norfolk Ale and a gin in the Blackstone Engine Bar!
I also met farmers in Tilney St Lawrence to discuss post Brexit farming plans, their current agricultural business and future proposals.
KLFM Radio It was great to be in the KLFM show live from RAF Marham for Local Radio Day- happy they played my Whitney request!
Arrival of 617 squadron in June One of my first campaigns for SWN was to lobby for the long term future of RAF Marham so it is great the F-35 joint strike fighter will be based at RAF Marham – in the coming weeks the squadron will arrive. Work is continuing on the futuristic and world class facilities and I can’t wait to see the jets take off!