August 2019: News from your local MP
Look out for our report on growth of clean energy
Your Voice in Parliament
WE’VE had some great wins in Westminster this past month. We won an important vote to keep Parliament up and running over the Brexit period in October. The idea that Boris Johnson could close Parliament and take Britain out of the EU without a deal in some autocratic fashion has now largely been ruled out, which is good!
On climate change, we’ve now legislated for net zero carbon emissions which is great. But we now need to work on the detail, much of which will come from the clean growth inquiry that I started, and led, on the Science and Technology Select Committee. We’ll be publishing that report in late August.
And whilst recycling and waste processing is an important part of the green economy, we’ve now got too many processing sites, too close together and too close to residents. Bundles of waste are processed in Avonmouth, not just from Bristol but also other parts of the country. We’ve gone from processing around 40,000 bundles to over 200,000 in the past five years. During periods of hot weather, this has resulted in large numbers of flies in the area, which is frustrating and unwelcome for residents and other businesses. I’ve therefore written to the Environment Secretary to ask for additional powers for the Environment Agency to deal with the cumulative impact of high levels of waste processing sites.
Your Champion in Bristol
It’s been a busy month with some important progress. I’m delighted that the 270 former employees of Avara Avlon Pharmaceuticals Services Ltd based at the Avlon (former ICI) site, many of whom are my constituents, will now get their full contractual redundancy package. Following the news that Avara had gone into administration, I first raised concerns about the closure of the site and entitlements of staff with government back in March. Since then, I’ve written to the Minister for BEIS, AstraZeneca (the former owner who sold the site to Avara for £1) and Avara as well as met with Unite the Union reps and former employees. I raised the injustice workers were facing in Parliament in early July and sought an Adjournment Debate with the Minister on four separate occasions with each being turned down. I’ve also been working with The Times to bring this story to light - it was the subject of several reports in July. I am therefore delighted after months of work, much of it led by former employees and Unite, AstraZeneca have pledged to honour their former employee’s contractual redundancy entitlements with a £12m package.
In other good news, we’ve also seen the Wellbeing Programme at Southmead Hospital win a national NHS Parliamentary Award following my nomination earlier this year. I got to join the North Bristol NHS Trust team at the awards ceremony and was delighted to have played a small part in getting these hard-working NHS staff the recognition they deserve.
I’ve had news that YTL, the company aiming to build Bristol’s new arena, will be applying for planning consent in early September. I’m looking into booking some form of tour or meeting for me to attend with constituents to hear more. Keep an eye on my social media website for dates. Whilst I am not opposed to the new arena, I will only support it if it comes with adequate transport investment. There must also be assurances that the site can’t be accessed from residential streets in Brentry, Southmead, Horfield and Lockleaze to avoid rat running, increased air pollution and congestion. I’ve also now met with the new Conservative leader of South Gloucester Council to discuss transport issues. We discussed commuter traffic, how best to deal with housing developments in North Bristol and better communication between his council and Bristol’s City Council.
Back in late June, I took my Powered by You street stalls to Westbury and Henleaze high streets, thanks to all of you who stopped by and shared your views on local and national priorities.
As always, if you have any questions or need my help just drop me an e-mail, call, write to me or message me on my Facebook page. To chat in person, pop along to one of my coffee mornings or pub politics events or ask me during my Wednesday night Facebook Live Q&As from 19:30 (not during August). All the details can be found on my website at www.darren-jones.co.uk.
You can also find me on Facebook at fb.com/darrenjonesmp, on Twitter at @darrenpjones or sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.darren-jones.co.uk/sign-up.
Darren Jones MP
Member of Parliament,
Bristol North West