River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Westminster Diary - April

April 2015

Driving round the Norfolk countryside, you really appreciate how much the modern road network has to cope with. That is why I have called on Norfolk county Council to conduct a review of the route hierarchy. As I understand, the last one was about 25 years ago and HGVS have considerably changed in size since then. No one doubts the need to move produce and goods around the country but I do feel an overview must take place so the impact on rural villages and towns are fully considered. Southery for example has regular movement of HGVs through the village and I plan to meet with Norfolk County Council Director of Highways Tom McCabe to discuss this further.

A recent announcement by DEFRA means that farmers can now apply for £5 million pounds worth of government funding for new technology. With the first phase of the new Countryside Productivity scheme now open; farmers, foresters and land managers across the country are being invited to apply for the grants.  This includes small grants, worth up to £35,000 per business, and also large grants worth £35,000 - £1million per business. This money can be used to invest in improved infrastructure and ground-breaking new technology, opening up opportunities for our farmers.

Farming is an increasing hi tech industry that I am keen to encourage more people to become involved in and one way is through apprenticeship schemes. In fact the number of apprentices in South West Norfolk has risen by 65 percent since 2010. There are fantastic opportunities not just in the agricultural sector but across the whole of the region like at RAF Marham. The recent announcement by the Prime Minister that £300 million will be invested in Marham is excellent news and will generate up to 1700 new jobs locally. I have asked for a meeting with the Defence Secretary to ensure that local businesses can bid for the work. I also believe much can be offered in terms of apprenticeship and training programmes and this is something I am keen to work with the MOD on developing.

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