The Beane and Mimram Rivers Partnership Catchment Plans….

February 21, 2013

I am pleased to see that the Beane and Mimram Rivers Partnership have recently launched their Catchment Management Plan, details for which can be found at http://www.beaneandmimrampartnership.org.uk/ . As it says on its website, the Beane and Mimram Rivers Partnership is a group of organisations, hosted by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, which have joined forces in order to improve the two chalk streams for people and for wildlife. The Catchment Management Plans for the Rivers Beane and Mimram respectively have been developed in conjunction with the recommendations of DEFRA and the Environment Agency in order to adhere to the UK’s obligations under the European Water Directive.

The plans focus on improving four main aspects of the Beane and Mimram. These include enhancing water flow and quality, enriching people’s appreciation of the two rivers and recording the rivers’ status and ecological health. I have long championed the preservation of our local chalk streams and take a keen interest in initiatives which might help to ensure their continued existence. I will be keenly following the progress of these catchment plans and I wish those involved much success following all their hard work.

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Briefing on Water Resources in the South East

February 18, 2013

The Group Water Resources in the South East organised a conference on Friday to give a briefing on their work towards water resource planning, which they have been carrying out over the last couple of years. My researcher Catharine attended the conference. The event which was held in the Church House Conference Centre, Deans Yard, London, was extremely well planned and provided a good overview of what this work has entailed. WRSE are a group of the six south-eastern water companies plus DEFRA, the Environment Agency and Ofwat, set up in 1996 which jointly look ways of planning for future water demands in the South East whilst ensuring that environmental and consumer concerns are properly taken into consideration too.

Many key stakeholders were represented at the event and the morning’s programme which was chaired by Howard Davidson, Regional Director of the Environment Agency included a detailed overview of the Regional Optimisation Modelling Process which the University College of London and Halcrow created in conjunction with WRSE to provide for contingencies in the event of the changing climate, water shortages and possible drought situations, in coordination with the Water Resource Management Plans which water companies in the UK are obliged to produce every five years and the Strategic Plans required to be produced every 25 years.

In the discussion which looked at the modelling process, a number of scenarios were factored into the process and a range of regional and strategic options arose which satisfy in part, these scenarios. Chiefly these factors included reducing demand, increasing supply of water by new transfers (between water companies) and increasing supply with the use of groundwater. It was emphasised that that this work not only meets the Government’s key policy priorities found in the Water Resources Planning Guidelines but it will also inform respective water company Water Resource Management Plans.

The morning also involved the Environment Agency and Affinity Water (as an individual water company) giving their perspectives on the modelling work carried out and there were opportunities for questions and answers to be put to respective members of the WRSE group so that stakeholders could gain answers to some of their more direct concerns. As many will know, I have long campaigned for the plight of our over abstracted rivers and streams in the constituency and I think that the work which WRSE carries out is invaluable in seeking to address this. The morning’s briefing was very informative and the Group’s full report on the Regional Optimisation Model has been published today on the WRSE website: http://wrse.org.uk/.


The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry…

February 8, 2013

Like many of my constituents I am sure, I have been appalled to hear about the conditions which NHS patients were exposed to when treated by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust at Stafford Hospital between 2005-2009. In the House yesterday the Prime Minister made a statement following the publication by the chair of the Inquiry Robert Francis QC’s latest report; the catalogue of disasters which led to unacceptable levels of care at the hands of the Mid Staffs. NHS Trust with unforgiveable consequences for many simply defies belief.

The report which was published yesterday made 35 pages of recommendations and these show repeated and crippling shortcomings in the care provided by the Mid Staffs NHS Trust during 2005-2009. To say that there are some lessons to be learnt is an understatement; there are many many lessons to be learnt and it is deeply regrettable that these lessons should be learnt because of another’s patient’s dreadful experience. I can only hope that with the help of the report and the start of the new initiatives mentioned by David Cameron in his speech, radical change will be brought to bear not only in the Mid Staffs NHS Trust but also across the board in other NHS Trusts as well, so that people receive the best hospital experience they can. David Cameron referred to a facility going forward where patients will be able to provide feedback about the hospitals they have been treated at, he also referred to greater transparency and accountability for those providing care and I was pleased to see that he has asked the Care Quality Commission to appoint a Chief Inspector of Hospitals.

We should certainly be mindful that it would not have been possible to gather so much useful evidence for the report were it not for the contributions to the Inquiry of those families whose relations had suffered as a consequence of their NHS treatment in Staffordshire. These bereaved relatives have played a fundamental role in unearthing the truth and we can but hope that as a result of their determined assistance in the Inquiry, such tragedies at the hands of the NHS, are not allowed to be repeated in the future.

To see Sir Francis Robert QC’s report visit: http://www.midstaffspublicinquiry.com/report