Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards writes her monthly update for January 2021.
Ruth Edwards writes:
‘I’ve always dreaded January, the longest, greyest month of the year, which seems to drag on without end. Not so this year, it’s flown by, with the vaccine rollout gathering pace, progress on tackling flooding in Rushcliffe, freeports and bats!
‘Despite tight supply and the resulting international sabre-rattling, the UK acted early and decisively in securing its vaccine supply. Our vaccine programme is now rocketing along, with almost 9 million people having now had the vaccine and all care home residents having been offered one.
‘In Nottinghamshire, we have 11 vaccination sites up and running and have vaccinated over 75% of our over 80s. All over 70’s should now have been contacted to book their appointment – if you’re thinking, ‘hang on a minute, I’m over 70 and I haven’t got mine’, you can book your appointment at https://www.swiftqueue.co.uk/nottinghamc19vpatient.php or by calling 0115 883 4640.
‘Letters for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will arrive this week, with a booking link for specially protected appointment slots to allow extra social distancing.
‘Despite this great progress, the risk of the virus is still very high. We have more than two and a half times the number of people in our local hospitals than we did at the peak of the first wave in April. As I write this morning all the papers carry the picture of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who is in hospital with coronavirus. We think of him and his family, and all of those in hospital across Nottinghamshire and hope for a swift recovery.
‘Alongside the storm of the pandemic, the country has been battered with the literal storm of Storm Christoph which caused terrible flooding, particularly around Manchester and in North Wales.
‘Here in Rushcliffe we were lucky to escape the worst of the weather and, although we had a few local incidents, the scenes we saw last year as eight villages flooded during Storm Dennis were fortunately not repeated.
‘I want to thank everyone at Nottinghamshire County Council and other agencies who have worked hard to clear ditches and gullies, repair drains and get us ready for bad weather this winter.
‘That’s not to say there isn’t more to do and I am working with the Highways Agency, Severn Trent and the Environment Agency to address the root causes of flooding in villages across the constituency. Tomorrow I meet with the Internal Drainage Board to address the issue of the River Smite bursting its banks at Colston Bassett.
‘I’m delighted that the Government is taking action on cleaning up rivers and watercourses, making it more difficult for water companies to over-pump sewage and phasing it out altogether. Working towards this was one of the commitments I made in my flooding report published last year.
‘Alongside all of this my campaign for a Freeport at East Midlands Airport continues, in the Home Affairs Select Committee we have been investigating online harms on social media platforms and recently took evidence from the major providers and I have become a species champion of the Brown Long-eared Bat. I had my first encounter with one, called Des, over Zoom! I’m looking forward to seeing some in person when restrictions lift.’