,

Darren asks for Climate Change debate

Time is increasingly running out to tackle climate change, with the UN stating that there is only 12 years left before the world suffer disastrous levels of damage as a result of it. In light of this and similar advice from the UK’s Climate Change Committee, Darren demanded a main House of Commons debate on climate change.

, , , ,

Darren encourages response to Sims consultation

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones is encouraging residents of Avonmouth and the surrounding area to contribute to an Environment Agency consultation  in relation to Sims Group UK Limited’s application to vary their current environmental permit.

How can you view and comment on the consultation?

You can see the permit application and accompanying documents here or if you don’t have access to the internet you can see a paper copy at Avonmouth Library and Community Centre, 257 Avonmouth Rd, Avonmouth, Bristol BS11 9EN during their opening hours.

You can submit your comments online using the Agency’s Citizen Space portal, by emailing: pscpublicresponse@environment-agency.gov.uk or you can post comments to: Environment Agency Permitting and Support Centre, Land Team, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, Sheffield, S9 4WF.

The Environment Agency must receive your comments by 5pm on 8th February 2019.

Darren said:

“Further to meetings with Sims Group soon after my election in 2017, I’m pleased to see they’re now trying to make investment into their Avonmouth site to reduce noise pollution, make the site cleaner and improve traffic management.

Sims Group UK Ltd currently accepts and shreds metal and end of life vehicles at their site in Avonmouth, Bristol. Because of the type and scale of activities carried out on-site the operator needs to have both planning permission (from the local authority) and an environmental permit (from the Environment Agency) in order to operate. Sims group are now seeking variation to their current permit which has been in place since September 2017. The Environment Agency’s consultation period regarding the permit variation application is now open. I know a number of constituents have been concerned about the site’s operations, in order that this feedback can be formally considered, I strongly urge constituents to submit comments before 8th February 2019″.

 

, , , , ,

Darren receives reply about Sims Hill from Bristol Mayor

Prior to the closure of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) transport consultation, Darren Jones MP shared his comments with WECA. You can view these here.

The submission raised concerns about the potential for a new park and ride site at rare blue-finger allotment land at Sims Hill. Stoke Park within Darren’s constituency could also be impacted.

Darren, MP for Bristol North West, has since received a reply from Bristol City Council Mayor Marvin Rees about this matter.

Darren said:

“Grateful to Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol for his prompt response to calls from me, Kerry McCarthy and Lockleaze Councillors Gill and Estella calling out plans to build a park and ride on important greenbelt land near the M32.

It is great to see Marvin agree it needs to be further North near the M4 junction and making the case for urban agriculture too. It is now over to WECA and Regional Mayor Tim Bowles to consider our concerns and, we hope, amend their plans”.

 

Darren receives reply to animal farming concerns

Darren recently held a House of Commons debate on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and their increase in the UK. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are where large numbers of animals are kept in relatively confined conditions. They can have negative animal health, human health and environmental impacts.

You can watch Darren’s speech and the Government’s reply in his debate here, and read the Government’s written reply to some of Darren’s concerns below that:

, , , , , , , , , ,

Darren responds to West of England Transport Study

As part of the West of England Combined Authority transport study, Darren has fed in comments from the various community meetings he hosted in 2018 on local transport needs.

 

You can read the full letter below and read about all of the work Darren has done on transport by clicking here.

 

Transport Upgrades across Bristol North West

 

I write in response to the ongoing consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan – Technical Evidence Consultation further to our ongoing correspondence regarding the urgent investment needs in transport across North Bristol.

 

As we are both aware, our constituents live in an area that will see continued significant development in the coming years. Additional housing is of course welcomed, but transport infrastructure that is fit for the future is needed at the same time.

 

This is in addition to the transport upgrades required off the back of the removal of the tolls on the Severn Bridge, the potential Bristol Arena site, expanding retail at Cribbs Causeway and the expected investment in Avonmouth following the installation of flood sea defences.

 

M32 Corridor

 

One of the proposals put forward is for a new Park and Ride at the Bristol end of the M32 motorway, adjacent to the current turning route for the Metrobus.

 

This will result in development on unique blue finger soil sites on both sides of the M32 (the Lockleaze side being in my constituency of Bristol North West). This area was rejected for development when the initial Metrobus route was agreed in 2014 for this reason. Further, it was widely believed that a Park & Ride so close to Bristol City Centre would fail to serve its purpose and that a site further North of the proposed site would better suit.

 

I support proposals for an M32 Park & Ride but I do not support the proposed location and will campaign for this to be situated further North into South Gloucestershire.

 

A4018

 

The A4018 is a major road route through my constituency travelling from the Bristol Rugby Club to the White Tree Roundabout (including Wyck Beck Road, Passage Road, Falcondale Road and Westbury Road).

 

In my multiple transport consultation meetings with constituents last year, Wyck Beck Road and Falcondale Road were identified as two key problem roads, due to frequent gridlock and associated air pollution.

 

I have long called for a new rail station at Henbury (and its eventual connection to Severn Beach to create the so called Henbury Loop) but have also called for a Park & Ride to reduce car volumes on the A4018 into Bristol. I know that we both agree that creating transport hubs with multi-modal connections is the best approach.

 

However, from the proposals it seems that drivers would need to drive through Henbury or North up the A4018 to park at the Park & Ride before getting the bus or rail connection.

 

These connections will be vital for retail workers at Cribbs Causeway and for into-Bristol flows, but will be absolutely crucial if the Bristol Arena is built at the Brabazon Hanger (due to out of Bristol drivers coming to the area).

 

I therefore continue to support calls for a Park & Ride at Henbury but expect to see:

 

  • A new junction connecting the M5(N) to the Henbury Train Station and Park & Ride, to prevent out of Bristol commuters from driving through Henbury to reach these services; and
  • Road upgrades and new bus lanes along the A4018 so that buses can cut through car congestion to be on time and frequent enough for them to be used by local residents. The Wyke Road part of the A4018, including the adjacent route North to Cribbs Causeway, appears to be wide enough for a new bus route without reducing the number of lanes available to cars.

 

For your information, I have also written to Highways England to seek their advice on point (1) above.

 

GBBN2 (New Bus Networks) and Cycle Routes

This current study seems to fail to set out any proposals for bus route upgrades or new cycle lanes in my constituency.

 

We have key bus route corridors in Bristol North West that can currently hold up buses for the entire city due to traffic congestion in North Bristol and which can lead to long delays and frequent cancellations for knock on routes (for example through Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton).

 

Additionally, many of my constituents will cycle North to Cribbs Causeway or South East to Bristol City Centre for work on often dangerous road networks that have intermittent or no cycle lanes.

 

I assume that proposals for new bus routes will be forthcoming, but I would like reassurance of that alongside a clear commitment to investing in proper cycle lanes too.

 

My various consultation meetings with constituents have all resulted in a clear ask for a super-cycle highway with segregated and maintained cycle lanes between our two major economic areas of Cribbs Causeway and Bristol City Centre. For note, preference has been for these routes to be off of the major roads to reduce the impact of air pollution on cyclists.

 

Missing Areas

 

I understand that this current study is only able to consider certain projects within a certain timeframe, but a number of transport issues in my constituency are notably missing:

 

  • Southmead Hospital Transport Hub

 

The B405 (Southmead Road) is also a problem road, with workers and students commuting to major employers and the University of the West of England in Filton. Residents have concerns that this will increase with the aforementioned developments across the North of Bristol including the potential Bristol Arena. Suggestions had been previously mooted for road upgrades and/or new investment into a Southmead Hospital Transport Hub. Have these now been dropped?

 

  • Avonmouth Industrial Routes

 

I understand that further transport investment can’t be considered for Avonmouth at this stage, instead having to wait for further industrial investment expected after the installation of the flood sea defences. Is that still correct?

 

Regardless, many workers in the Avonmouth / Severnside area have to drive to work or risk their safety by walking or cycling to work. Additionally, industrial traffic continues to use the minor routes along Kingsweston Lane when they should be clearly directed along the Portway and along the existing major road routes.

 

I would like to see travel routes into and around Avonmouth to become more worker friendly and for steps to be taken to properly direct industrial transport.

 

 

  • A38/Gloucester Road

 

The A38/Gloucester Road is clearly a significant challenge, as both a major road route and a busy high street environment. However, significant traffic along this route causes air pollution concerns for many local residents and my constituents have raised questions in my consultation meetings about potential mass transit routes along this road. Please can you set out any proposals you have for this cross-border route.

 

  • RPZ Parking

 

We have started to see significant nuisance parking along the connecting residential roads attached to Stoke Hill and Parrys Lane. Whilst we expect some of this to be student related (and are in ongoing correspondence with Bristol University) we assume that a great deal of this is travel-to-work related. We should therefore do all that we can to encourage park and ride and rail usage from current and proposed sites.

 

I appreciate all of these issues don’t fall under your remit as the regional Mayor, but they do provide the context for many of the requests from my constituents which result in my demands for key transport investment. These investment requests go through the West of England Combined Authority. However, I have naturally copied my colleague Mayor Marvin Rees for his information.

 

I look forward to hearing what plans the West of England Combined Authority have for each of the above issues.

 

Darren Jones MP
Member of Parliament, Bristol North West

Government reply to Darren’s Letter on Blue Belt Initiative

Darren wrote to the Government in order to ask for their views on the Blue Belt Initiative, which aims to achieve establishment of effective Marine Protection Areas around British Overseas Territories. The Government has now replied; you can read Darren’s initial letter below.

This was the contents of Darren’s letter:

As a signatory of the Blue Belt Charter, I am pleased to hear that the Government is championing an increase in the international target for ocean protection, 30% of the ocean protected by 2030.

But this must be underpinned by strong UK action in its own waters. I am concerned that the Government still has much to do to deliver well managed Marine Protected Areas in the Overseas Territories, as well as in polar and international waters.

It is concerning that the Government has still not delivered ‘well managed Marine Protected Areas’ in the Overseas Territories, according to the Great British Oceans organisation. If the Government is serious about this issue, this must change.

I’m particularly worried about the South Sandwich Islands, which host globally significant wildlife, including around 10% of the world’s penguins. These waters lie within the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands MPA, less than 2% of which are currently fully protected.

I’m sure that you, like me, want to see a healthy global environment survive into the future. Please help make sure that this is the case.

, , , ,

Darren questions government changes to low-emission car incentives.

Darren Jones MP has continued to question the government’s recent decision to remove some financial incentives to purchase plug-in hybrid and electric cars.

Darren Jones MP said:

Back in October, I slammed the government’s decision to reduce, and in some cases remove, the financial incentives to purchase ultra-low emission vehicles.

This seemed reckless and short-sighted at a time when governments across the world know they must act to reduce emissions and the health and environmental impacts of air pollution.

In follow-up, I asked the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he “made an assessment of the potential effect of reducing incentives for plug-in hybrid and electric cars on the number of purchases of those vehicles before taking the decision to reduce those incentives“.

In response, I was advised – “since 2011, the plug-in car grant has provided a discount to the price of over 170,000 cars, and disbursed over £0.7 billion to support the early market for ultra low emission vehicles. Based on internal assessments made before the change to grant rates in October 2018, we expect sales of ultra low emission cars to continue at similar levels in 2019 to those seen in 2018″.

I then asked if the government would publish the data that assessment was based on. I was told “The Government’s internal assessment relies, in part, on commercially sensitive data from manufacturers and cannot be published for that reason”.

I disagree with this conclusion and I would not be at all surprised to see the number of ultra low-emission cars being purchased significantly reduce. I am very clear – the government must support initiatives that aim to reduce emissions wherever possible – not to do so is a dereliction of their environmental responsibilities”.

You can follow Darren’s work on climate change, animal welfare and the environmental protection here.

, , , , ,

Darren plants tree saplings at Oasis Academy Long Cross

As part of his mission to visit every school in Bristol North West, Darren Jones MP has visited Oasis Academy Long Cross in Lawrence Weston to meet staff and students and take part in a tree sapling planting for Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

Five trees were donated to Darren Jones MP thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV.

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:

i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable,

ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life,

iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.

Darren said after the visit:

“I have planted 5 tree saplings – two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel today (30th November) alongside students from Oasis Academy Long Cross in Lawrence Weston. I grew up in Lawrence Weston, and attended the former guise of this school so it is particularly special for me to visit as the local MP. I have chosen to plant my saplings at a local school as I think it’s vital that children and young people get to experience planting and nurturing trees and plants first-hand.

It’s great all four Bristol MPs took part and there will be 20 new hazel, silver birch and rowan trees across the city thanks to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project. As part of my visit, I also got to speak to students, school leaders and teaching staff which is always really inspirational but also worrying as I hear first-hand the impact austerity politics and cuts have had on staff and the services they can deliver. I will continue to call for proper and fair school funding – education can not be done ‘on the cheap'”.

Woodland Trust Chief Executive, Beccy Speight said:

“We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. We all need trees. They are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity. They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, sheltering livestock, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe. I hope the residents of Bristol North West will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

Darren writes to Foreign Secretary on Ocean Protection

The Government has made significant commitments to ocean protection, but has failed to implement strong protections to the oceans around British Overseas Territories. Darren wrote to the Foreign Secretary to ask why this is the case.

, , , ,

MP writes to Avonmouth residents

2500 letters from Darren Jones MP will be delivered to residents across Avonmouth. The letter updates constituents on Darren’s work in the area.

Darren Jones MP said:

” In the course of supporting Avonmouth residents and understanding the concerns raised with me, I have met on-site with many Avonmouth-based businesses (including those that process refuse-derived fuel), Bristol City Council, Environment Agency, Wessex Water, SIMs Metal and the Port. I have also had contact with many residents, the majority of whose concerns related to the fly outbreak which affected large parts of the constituency over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

My letter also details my work to protect the area from flooding and climate change alongside efforts to improve job security and public transport through my North Bristol Transport Plan. You can read more about my work on climate change here“.