Happy New Year to all of my constituents.
At the end of 2015 I have been pleased to report some outcomes of important cases.
The first is that Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities’ government funding has been confirmed until 2020, with no cuts to their budget.
IFCA carries out marine conservation in the Bay and protects against illegal activity to prevent cockling disasters in the future.
I met with Dr Stephen Atkins, CEO of North Western IFCA, before the comprehensive spending review and he expressed his concerns regarding cuts to their funding and the uncertainly they were facing.
I then met with the Minister. George Eustice MP. to express the concerns of IFCA and to ensure their funding was not cut.
I am pleased to report the Minister has now written to me to confirm, as a result of my lobbying, all of the IFCAs will have their funding protected for the next five years. This will protect jobs and also protect our Bay for the duration of this Parliament.
I have also received an official response from the Planning Minister following the petition I presented to Parliament against building on Greenbelt 4 in Hest Bank and Bolton-le-Sands.
In his response Brandon Lewis MP said: “Guidance was issued last year to remind local authorities they must have due regard to national policies, such as Green Belt policy, which indicate development should be restricted and which may restrain an authority’s ability to meet its housing need.”
He also said: “When any Green Belt review has been completed and the local plan revised, the draft plan is submitted for formal examination by a planning inspector.
“The inspector, who exercises independent judgement in the name of the Secretary of State, will consider the plan in the light of legal requirements and whatever policy requirements in the framework are material.
“A plan will be found sound only if it is properly prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy in the framework.”