place for information on Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley
FLOOD DEFENCES PROVING THEIR WORTH SAYS JESSE
MP Jesse Norman has praised Hereford's new flood defences,
after weeks of heavy rain put them through their paces for
the first time last week. Jesse visited the Yazor Brook
Flood Alleviation Scheme while it was being constructed
last summer. The Scheme diverts flood water from the Yazor
Brook near Credenhill through a series of tunnels, culverts
and chambers down into the Wye.
Jesse said, 'After weeks of rain, and with a flood warning
in operation, the Yazor Brook scheme has really started
to prove its worth. Without it, much of that water would
be in the Merton Meadow car park by now! I vividly recall
carrying sandbags to protect houses on Edgar Street and
Newtown Road during the floods of July 2007, in three feet
of water. If this stops that happening again, and protects
people in their homes and businesses from flood damage,
it will have been a fantastic investment.'
Jesse helps to carry sand bags during the floods of 2007.
Jesse at the Yazor Brook Flood Alleviation Scheme.
JESSE VISITS CANAL TRUST TO SEE LATEST WORKS
Jesse Norman, MP joined his colleague Richard Graham, MP
for Gloucestershire recently to visit the Herefordshire
and Gloucestershire Canal Trust and see its latest canal
excavation work. Both MPs are Vice Presidents and strong
supporters of the Trust. The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire
Canal follows an almost entirely rural course for 34 miles
through the glorious countryside of Gloucestershire and
Herefordshire, linking the two cities of Hereford and Gloucester.
in 1983, the Canal Trust is restoring the Canal as a navigable
waterway. When completed, it is likely to be one of the
most attractive cruising routes in the country, as well
as a significant source of rural regeneration. The Trust
is an almost entirely volunteer-led organisation, with some
1,300 members. Speaking after the visit, Jesse said, 'There
is something very inspiring about seeing an ancient canal
receive new life, especially through the work of so many
deeply engaged volunteers. The Canal Trust is an extraordinary
organisation, and this is a major restoration project which
will have lasting ecological, landscape and economic benefits
for the county.
the work is finished, the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire
canal will, I think be a huge source of local pride and
pleasure, and a significant attraction for tourists visiting
the county. In the meantime, I would encourage all and any
Herefordians to visit the canal, and get involved!'
Jesse Norman, MP with Richard Graham MP, viewing the latest excavation
works by the Canal Trust.
TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL SMUGGLING TRIGGERS DEBATE
MP Jesse Norman has raised the rapidly growing problem of
illegal alcohol and tobacco sales with Ministers in a well
attended debate in the House of Commons. Jesse called the
debate after speaking with local police and Councillors
about recent raids on illegal traders in Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.
The call followed a letter from Jesse to the Home Secretary
raising this issue in December of last year. Since then,
however, further large quantities of illegal tobacco and
alcohol have been seized.
Mercia Police have made clear their concern at what they
see as a growing problem. In his speech, Jesse highlighted
the lack of information about illegal tobacco and alcohol
sales; the lack of tough powers for the Police and HM Revenue
and Customs to close down premises; and the overlapping
remits and confusion between the Revenue, the Home Office
and local trading standards officers. He called for full
cross-departmental co-operation to ensure tough and effective
the debate, Jesse said, 'I have been talking to local police
about this for months. They are very concerned that the
punishments are not strong enough to deter the smugglers,
who defy the law and undercut real, legitimate shopkeepers.
These shops are selling dodgy cigarettes and alcohol illegally,
and without any regard to the age of their customers or
the quality of what is sold. A fake packet of cigarettes
or rolling tobacco could contain virtually anything.
Mercia police routinely raid these shops, seize the illegal
goods and arrest the people they find there, some of whom
are not legally entitled to be in the UK. But a few weeks
later the shops re-open. And the shopkeepers are only the
small fry. The profits they make end up in the hands of
serious organised criminal gangs. That's why we must ensure
that the police have the powers they need to close down
these pirates, and that government as a whole is adopting
a really effective and coordinated approach.'
Jesse Norman MP, speaking out at Westminster against illegal tobacco
and alcohol sales.
JESSE QUESTIONS PRIME MINISTER OVER LOCAL FUNDING
Jesse Norman MP has pressed the Prime Minister personally
over unfair funding of local schools and hospitals, at Prime
Minister's Questions. Jesse produced the first authoritative
study on the underfunding of Herefordshire’s public services
over two years ago, in March 2010.
study, entitled 'The Thin End of the Wedge,' estimated the
true extent of under-funding over the previous five years
at approximately £35 million per year. That total included
education, where the county had the third worst funded schools
in the country, as well as local NHS services and Herefordshire
Councils. The study is available free on www.jesse4hereford.com.
PMQs Jesse highlighted the funding as 'unfair', especially
since local people also earn on average less than in the
UK as a whole. He asked the PM personally to support measures
to change the funding formulas to get a fairer deal for
Herefordians. In response, the Prime Minister pledged that
he was 'looking at the funding formula for schools.'
afterwards Jesse said, 'Herefordians have long been hit
by the double whammy of lower than average income and lower
than average funding for public services like schools and
hospitals. We have had some important wins over the past
two years, especially with the new Enterprise Zone and Rural
Broadband. My longer term goal continues to be to push the
Government towards fairer funding for our county and its
Jesse Norman questions the Prime Minister over local funding.
JESSE QUESTIONS MINISTER ON RED TAPE REVIEW
with Jim Paice at Hereford Cattle Market.
MP Jesse Norman has questioned Jim Paice, the Farming Minister,
on the detail of the MacDonald review, which aims to slash
unnecessary red tape and regulation in the farming industry.
Paice confirmed, in answer to Jesse's Parliamentary Question,
that farmers who already comply with voluntary quality assurance
inspection programmes such as Freedom Food and the Red Tractor
scheme will be subject to a lighter touch DEFRA inspection
regime. This should mean savings for farmers as well as
Farming Regulation Taskforce, chaired by Richard MacDonald,
has made 238 recommendations to reduce the burden of regulation
on the farming industry. DEFRA has agreed to implement 159
of these recommendations immediately, and give consideration
to a further 31. The Food Standards Agency has agreed to
implement a further 17.
afterwards in Parliament, Jesse said, 'I am pleased that
DEFRA will finally recognise the value of voluntary quality
assurance schemes, and I look forward to seeing the details
of how this commitment will work out on the ground. I hope
that the MacDonald review will make a real difference to
farmers, with a government that is listening to them and
trusting their experience.
in Herefordshire are rightly proud of our farmers and food
producers, and this review should help our local rural economy
to thrive and to compete on the world stage.'