News from Westminster

I think we can all say it has been an amazing summer, plenty of outdoor activities, fabulous Norfolk produce and lots of sunshine – however decidedly cooler and wetter now, though the Autumn colours are pretty spectacular. It was great to meet the junior footballers at Mundford Football Club – fund raising is well underway for the new dugout and the youngsters were certainly an enthusiastic lot. I also had the opportunity to work out on some excellent equipment at a new gym in Downham Market – Fitness Space. Opened this summer – the upper levels of the old cinema have been transformed into a boutique style gym offering a member focused workout experience – certainly helped me improve my stamina for Westminster!
Also had the opportunity to visit Local Flavours at the Norfolk Showground. The annual event is designed as a meet and greet for artisan producers from across East Anglia to showcase their food and drink to buyers from major supermarkets and leading department store Fortnum & Mason. This year there was a Dutch flavour with representatives from the Netherlands also in attendance. Exports in the East of England are worth a staggering £1.7billion; comments made by the Dutch delegation referred to the fact that traditional UK brands are extremely popular in the Netherlands and Made in Great Britain is a key selling point. We had great representations from South West Norfolk with Shires Christmas Fruit Cake from Downham Market, vodka from the Fens and White Knight from Beachamwell really illustrating our Great British brands.
It was standing room only in Marham as local residents filled the village hall to discuss with me and Councillor Graham Middleton the proposal for silica quarrying between Marham and Shouldham. This is the second public meeting in the space of a fortnight to discuss the proposal with in excess of 150 residents attending, many having to stand. Considerable concern has been raised about the proposal which if developed could see one of the largest quarrying sites in the UK. The sand in the area is of very good quality for clear glass making, and the proposal is for it to be pumped to an existing operation at Leiziate run by Sibelco. One of the points raised at the meeting is how such an operation sits with the government’s ambitions for the 25 year environment plan, improve recycling and the health and welfare of our nation. Another factor is a genuine concern for the impact this will have on the value of people’s homes in the area. There were some excellent points raised at the meeting and although this is still at the consultation phase and a planning application has still to be submitted, it is evident there is not the local support, so I believe it should not go ahead.
Elizabeth Truss MP
Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk, Chief Secretary to the Treasury

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