It is very encouraging when MPs raise themes in Parliament on behalf of their communities and so it would be fantastic if some MPs will introduce elements that are not currently listed on the Upcoming business for this week. One subject that has been promoted over the last few weeks is the Anti-Modern Slavery Week which runs from today to Sunday with a specific focus on Anti-Slavery Day on Tuesday 18th October. I received several elements of information from the local Roman Catholic community and they stated that
Modern slavery is happening here and now on our doorsteps in leafy Surrey and Sussex. In fact, the South East of England is the second largest area for slavery crime in the UK after London.
So given that this week is a focus on slavery issues it would be very positive if some of our Sussex MPs and indeed the Surrey MPs will raise this in Parliament on behalf of our community.
Another theme that has been published in the last few days is that here in Sussex and specifically in West Sussex the County Council has referred to the Recycle Week. They have asked people to return walking aids such as crutches, sticks and frames to the Recycling Centres so that they can be reused and recycled. Apparently reusing a refurbished walking aid results in 87% lower carbon emissions on average than providing a new piece of equipment and saves money. The Council goes on to say that Recycling Centres will be able to accept walking aids until the end of Recycling Week on 23 October. While this theme may be specific to West Sussex it would be very useful if the MPs could liaise with their County Council and find out if it applies elsewhere and to promote it from Parliament into the communities.
Last week in Parliament seemed very busy and there has been a number of themes that have emerged during that period which will continue to be debated. One of the elements I spotted was very interesting and it involved most of the East Sussex MPs in a discussion which was formed by Huw Merriman from Bexhill and Battle who opened and closed the debate. The MPs were discussing a response to an e-petition that was signed up significantly last year. The Petition was entitled Ban Water Companies discharging raw sewage into water courses. The content which was relatively short was
Ensure Water companies treat the sewage they are responsible for. Not discharge it into rivers and water courses. After all what goes into the ocean comes back as the fish we eat. – This should be illegal!
A total of 111,428 people signed the petition and the two largest areas in the UK where both in Sussex and indeed next to one another. Most of the constituencies were signed by several hundred people although seven constituencies went over a thousand signatures and three of these where in Sussex. The two largest areas where Chichester along with Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. Along with them two other large areas where Havant which is next to Chichester along with Hastings and Rye. Back on the 15th November a Parliamentary debate took place on the theme of this e-petition but sadly no Sussex MPs took part on that occasion.
The debate last week was opened by Huw Merriman and the other Sussex MPs who took part were Maria Caulfield, Caroline Ansell and Sally-Ann Hart. There were of course many other MPs which including several who took part at the debate last November. However sadly no other Sussex MPs have participated in either of these debates including the MPs who represent the two constituencies that were the largest signatures in the petition. On Wednesday Huw Merriman began with the comment
Let me illustrate why I sought this debate. As of 16 September, on nine out of the 16 days of the month Bexhill’s beach had been issued with a pollution risk warning and signs warning against bathing because of the risk of sewage discharge. On 18 August, a fault at a pumping station at Galley Hill caused a discharge of waste water, and sewage was pumped into the Bexhill coastline. It lasted for two and a half hours, starting at 2.59 pm, and bathers were not warned about what was occurring until early evening. In the settlement of Heathfield, residents at the bottom of the hill are up to their knees in discharge when heavy rain comes. That has led to rat infestations, illness for children and pets and contamination of homes and gardens. Our sewerage system is not fit for purpose
There were a number of other comments but it would clearly be significant if the Government will pick up this subject and resolve the sewage discharge in our nation.