Open consultation: Opposing fast-track fracking

Last month the UK government proposed changes to planning rules that would allow exploratory drilling for shale gas to be considered “permitted development”, removing the need for fracking companies to apply for planning permission. The consultation on this proposal is open now and closes on: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/permitted-development-for-shale-gas-exploration

I am very much against this and would seek for government to withdraw this proposal on the grounds that it is a misuse of the planning system and is not comparable activity  to the small developments – like  minor extensions, garden sheds or erecting a fence – that are normally considered under permitted development.

There’s no justification for bypassing the locally democratic planning system for this intrusive activity, the consequences of which are not fully understood and so I encourage all to make their voices heard through the public consultation.

fracking ITV Yorkshire
Credit: ITV Yorkshire

A trip to the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Waverley

Today I had an illuminating visit to the AMP in Waverley in a tour with fellow elected members.

Getting a more in in-depth brief on the history, scope and vision of the park was truly eye opening and I am really proud in the knowledge that we have the UK’s premier advanced manufacturing technology park in our town of Rotherham!

It really is a lasting legacy to the region and fantastic use of the former open cast mine site that so easily could have been resigned to one more forlorn South Yorkshire brownfield site were it not the original vision back in 2005.

There are over 40 companies currently on site and the remit is pretty amazing; aerospace and automotive engineering, energy, biomedical engineering, oil and gas, defense, sports and construction to name a few. The site caters from the incubation period with support for start ups and small business right through to established giants of industry such as Boeing and Rolls Royce.

We had a walkaround the shop floor at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, where there was a strictly no photos policy however Cllr Wilson and I were allowed this sneaky shot from up on the walkway.

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Cllr Wilson and Cllr Brookes at the AMRC in Waverley, Rotherham

The latest company to announce arrival was of course supercar manufacturer McLaren, whom are building a £50m chassis factory  on site creating 200 jobs. They’ve committed to  creating apprenticeships immediately also.

Speaking of apprenticeships next we were shown around the AMRC training centre – working home of the 100+ apprentices. It has been said that the governments modern apprenticeship offer is not always substantial and that there is a risk that some apprentices aren’t getting quality placements.

I am glad to say that is definitely not the case here at the AMRC! All the apprentices have robust routes for progression to higher qualifications, including the BEng and are taken seriously and are valued by their sponsoring employers from day 1. Having been shown round the shopfloor and seen the different production cells and machinery as well as classrooms and labs, I came away very impressed by the quality of placement and with the support offer from staff.

 

To finish, I loved this sign made and hung up by the apprentices on the shop floor – British values by Rotherham apprentices:

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British Values by AMRC apprentices – love this!

 

 

RMBC consultation response: Opposed to HS2 Reroute

“Rotherham is not served at all by the proposals, but suffers the devastating impact of the line.”

I was pleased today to read in full Rotherham’s formal response to the HS2 consultation. Our reply from Cllr Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council outlined fully the reasons why RMBC continues to back the Meadowhall option and not support the proposal to amend the route.

This was of course in line with the Council’s resolution of 7th September 2016 which states that:

“This council resolves to:

  • Oppose the intent to re-route HS”.
  • Work with our MPS and other like-minded councils to identify the most beneficial transport infrastructure.”

In the full council meeting of 7th December I had questioned the Leader on progress made since the Council resolution as I wanted to ensure that the concerns of Rother Vale residents were being heard, in particular since the Government updated the Sustainability Statements in November of that year, highlighting detrimental noise and visual impacts on the villages of Thurcroft and Brampton-en-le-Morthen in particular.

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You can view the exchange here: http://rotherham.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/257164

I continue to support residents who do not want this proposal and agree that it is essential that the government re-thinks what they are doing before they cause even more damage to communities.

 

 

 

First blog post

I finally made time to work on my website which I hope people will find useful and interesting! Here I intend to publish many of the photos I take  as I go about Council business as well as daily life. I also will use it to keep residents in Rother Vale ward informed of my work as much as possible.