There's never a dull moment in Parliament, but this week was particularly eventful in the Commons. It's all change, with Tony Blair's last week at Prime Minister's Questions and I'm looking forward to Gordon Brown's first PMQs next week to see how he handles it. Even so, I haven't let it stop me from cracking on with raising local issues directly with Ministers and I've been out and about in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields as ever.
Meeting with Aviation Minister
I met with Gillian Merron this week to discuss the Heathrow consultation due in the Autumn. The Minister cannot confirm when the exact dates for the consultation will be - it will be "later in the year" still. However, she did confirm that the government believes there are "workable options" for expanding Heathrow that could meet environmental criteria. I have already asked for this environmental data from Ministers, but the same week they were telling me it wasn’t available, they were giving it to BAA. I've now put in a Freedom of Information request to the Minister to force her to give me whatever information and results they have given to BAA. I've already had confirmed by the Department for Transport that no noise monitoring took place in either Putney or any part of Wandsworth to feed into the government's assessment of what expanding Heathrow would mean for noise. It's unacceptable that no effort has been made to find out how noisy our area already is. If you're as concerned as I am about the damage to our quality of life Heathrow expansion will mean for us locally then help me by joining my campaign and email me on email@example.com.
Rowing Clubs and Thames Water
I organised for Thames Water and local rowing and sailing clubs to meet up in Parliament so that we could discuss problems of untreated sewage being dumped into the Thames through overflow pipes when heavy rainfall happens. There will now be a massive project, Tideway, that will provide much more sewage capacity in the longer term - it will be finished in 2020. I wanted to make sure that Thames Water could hear directly from local river users about concerns and to try to get some agreement about what we can do in the meantime to improve the situation. There will be improvements to a sewage treatment plant further up river which should help out local downstream river life in Putney, and also we discussed getting the Environment Agency to provide more real-time data to the rowing clubs when overflows are measured as dumping lots of sewage. I'll now be working on that to make sure it happens.
Meeting with Inspector Martin
Putney's top policeman is Inspector Kevan Martin - I see him at least once a month to discuss local crime and policing issues, and generally we see one another even more than that. We've had quite a few problems with what people might call anti-social behaviour in some parts of Roehampton. In fact, its often much worse. Following some constituents coming to my surgery on Saturday to quite rightly complain about drug dealing in their block of flats, I went over to see for myself and could see exactly what they were talking about. That's why I'm so determined to do what I can to get more police for our area and for Inspector Martin's team. We really need them but perversely we have fewer than than a decade ago. Roehampton is getting a new Sergeant leading the Safer Neighbourhood Team, Sgt Salmon and I'll work with him and his team to tackle these issues.
If you need my help as MP or want to get in touch with me then email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, write to me at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA, or give me a call on 0208 944 0378 if you'd like to come along to one of my weekly MP surgeries.
You can also keep up with my activities on my website at: www.justinegreening.co.uk.
Justine Greening MP
June 29, 2007