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Karen Bradley MP Column 06.02.23

I would like to start my column by saying that I am honoured and proud to have been reselected as the Conservative candidate for the Staffordshire Moorlands constituency at the next General Election. My team and I, as always, will always do our best to help with the many issues you write to me about and as your local MP, I will continue to be a loud voice for the Moorlands both here and in Parliament.

One of the current issues is the situation at Biddulph High. I am aware of the letter that was sent to parents and can appreciate that both parents and students, together with the community as a whole, are concerned. I will be having a meeting next week with the school and the Trust and will do what I can to help. As your MP, I am involved with many issues concerning Education and schools in the Moorlands and as well as having meetings with parents, headteachers, staff and local Councils, am able to raise your concerns directly with the Education Secretary and other Ministers.

In the UK we are lucky to have so many beautiful waterside spots, and like everyone else, I am keen to see these environments protected. Across the Moorlands, rivers and lakes provide unique habitats for wildlife and places for us to enjoy. That’s why I was delighted to learn that according to the Environment Agency, 90% of our bathing waters in the UK are graded ‘Good or Excellent’ for water quality compared to just 70% in 2010. As a result of the Government’s Environment Act 2021, live information on the impact of storm overflows is publicly available and thanks to heightened monitoring, for the first time, we now have a clearer picture of the quality of our water.

As we are rural and high above sea-level, flooding in the Moorlands is fortunately rare. However, I understand the concerns people have about storm overflows which occur when during periods of high rainfall water companies discharge diluted sewage. While this is hazardous and unpleasant, if storm overflows were immediately banned, sewage would instead end up backing into people’s homes and onto our streets. Therefore, to address this appropriately, in August the Government introduced the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan requiring water companies to deliver their largest ever environmental infrastructure investment. The regulators have also launched the largest ever investigation into water company sewage discharge.

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