We have some great residents’ associations and special interest groups around the constituency which usually meet during the week and invariably I miss them when I am at Westminster. So I have been using the opportunity of the Easter recess to catch up on some of them.
Last week I was invited to give a talk to the Lancing & Sompting Pastfinders group at a very full Harriet Johnson Centre. I have often visited their exhibitions during the Sompting Festival and I was delighted when they ask me to give a talk on the Archaeology of Sussex, for once an evening off from politics although somehow the A27 crept into questions!
Being Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group it is a great opportunity to combine politics with my first love of archaeology and with a County like Sussex so rich is archaeological superlatives there is much to talk about: the oldest human remains in the UK (Boxgrove), the second largest hillfort (Cissbury), the biggest ever ancient single building found in the UK (Fishbourne), the tallest chalk figure (Wilmington) and the most notorious archaeological hoax (Piltdown Man.) Pastfinders are a great bunch and I hope to get away from Westminster more often to attend one of their fascinating talks.
As a life member of the Southwick Society, now in its 45th year, I attended their AGM this week under the expert leadership of Mary Candy for 13 of them. We were in for a treat as after the formalities of the meeting there was a fascinating short film about the Shoreham to Steyning railway line which I had never seen before. And unlike Southern Rail, running to time and stopping to pick up passengers according to the schedules didn’t appear to be a problem then!
Just before Parliament broke for Easter Peter Bottomley and I met the Chief Executive of Highways England for an update on the A27 and there should be a fuller report on that meeting in the Herald and in my next newsletter together with the subsequent letter we have sent requesting further costing information. I have also posted a new podcast with an update on the WASPI situation (Women Against State Pension Inequality) which you can see on my website www.timloughton and Facebook page @TimLoughtonEWAS
Really good news this week that Environment Secretary Michael Gove is working on proposals to ban live animal exports after Brexit, a subject of particular interest to local people after the demonstrations at Shoreham back in the 1990’s. I have also been lobbying the Government together with many parliamentary colleagues to extend the ‘Blue Belt’ protections on marine life across British Overseas territories building on the great work to date where nearly four million square kilometres of British waters at home and abroad are now subject to Blue Belt protection. I was also pleased to hear this week that Waitrose will soon be banning single use coffee cups – another small contribution to our environment but which adds up to so much more for our planet when others follow take the hint and follow the lead.