Tessa calling for extended dredging of rivers

Tessa and the Flooding Minister on the Somerset LevelsTessa met with Defra ministers in London this week to put forward the case for dredging of the rivers and the adjoining rhynes so the whole water catchment area is considered, rather than just the rivers Parrett and Tone.

Tessa said:

After welcoming the flooding Minister to Somerset last year, it’s great that we have finally succeeded in getting the Government to agree that dredging is the way forward for Somerset.

“We need to look at the whole area. We have water that can’t get to the pumps and the Axe and Brue valleys have also been affected.

“It affects productive land, such as farmers and anyone who grows and sells their own produce, which is celebrated at great local events like Burnham’s food festival.

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Petition: Keep the Bishop in the Bishop’s Palace Campaign

Many people have contacted me about the Church Commissioners’ plan to prevent the new Bishop of Bath and Wells from living in the flat in the Bishop’s Palace.

I am writing to provide an update and to ask for your help by signing my email petition below.

I had hoped that when Sir Tony accepted my invitation to visit Wells last Saturday in order to answer the many questions raised by local people, the Church Commissioners would have made a supreme effort to brief him fully.  However, questions remain as to exactly why the Church Commissioners have come to the conclusion that the flat in the Bishop’s Palace is “not suitable” for the incoming Bishop and his wife – who have not been consulted on the matter.

Towards the end of Saturday’s meeting, there was an overwhelming majority in favour of Dick Acworth’s motion calling for the decision to be reviewed.  Dick’s motion stated: “This meeting believes that the Church Commissioners have made a serious mistake and should reconsider”.  There was one abstention; there were no votes against.  I have written to the Church Commissioners to inform them of the result.  I await their response and will let you know what they say.

Over the last seven days, there have been articles in The Daily Telegraph and The Times, following on from a very helpful article in ‘Country Life’ last Wednesday.  Today, I asked the Prime Minister about the Bishop’s accommodation during our weekly Prime Minister Questions’ session in the House of Commons.  I am pushing for a meeting with the Prime Minister in his capacity as an Ex-Officio Member of the Church Commissioners as he may have some influence on the outcome.

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Tessa Munt MP secures debate on cuts to Somerset Children’s Centres

Tessa-in-the-chamber.jpgLocal MP Tessa Munt has secured permission from the Speaker of the House of Commons for a debate on Somerset Children’s Centres which are under threat from the leadership at Somerset County Council. It will take place during the evening of Monday the 3rd February.

After receiving a considerable number of emails, letters and surgery visits in local towns and villages about this matter, Tessa is extremely concerned about the future of Children’s Centres in Somerset. One of those under threat in her area is Cheddar Children’s Centre.

Some parents and carers have reported that they first heard of planned closures through other parents, that their questions to the County Council have been ignored by the Councillor responsible and that staff have been reportedly “gagged” and are directing all enquiries to County Hall. When a member of Tessa’s team contacted the county council he was directed to the Council website which wasn’t helpful as it has not been updated since 13th November 2013.

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Public Letter: Fracking in Somerset

TessaonMendips.pngToday I have replied to over a thousand constituents on the proposals for Hydraulic Fracturing, known as ‘fracking,’ in our part of Somerset.

It’s no secret that I am opposed to Fracking.  Although fracking has been a fact of life in the UK for decades, the process intended for shale gas extraction is new and untested.  Consequently, there should be an even greater duty to address worries about fracking raised by local residents and the scientific community.  I believe that the greenhouse gases  deposited safely inside shale rock over millions of years should remain there.  We should be saving energy – investing in reducing our needs and in renewable technologies which already exist, not extracting every last bit of fossil fuel.

My chief concerns are the risks posed to our local and global environment; specifically, but not exclusively, climate change, water pollution and the storage, transportation and treatment of waste water.

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