Herald Column: July 30

With foreign holidays looking more and more risky as we see COVID flare-ups in popular holiday destinations Worthing and Adur are open for staycations. The wheel is up, the murals are down and the time is now to explore some of the wonderful attractions Sussex has to offer on our doorstep which we too often take for granted.

From August 3rd the Government’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme will be up and running, offering 50% discounts on meals every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays throughout August, no vouchers required. So far 81 restaurants within a 2-mile radius of Worthing town centre and 17 in Shoreham and you can see who is participating in the scheme on www.tax.service.gov.uk/eat-out-to-help-out/find-a-restaurant

Our hospitality industry, on which many local jobs rely, urgently needs our help and this is just one way to give our local business a kick start after many months of lights out. But do eat and drink responsibly. It might be better to add Eat Out To Help Out Then Work Out to the scheme to comply with the Government’s new anti-obesity crusade as well.

Many constituents have been writing to me in support of the ‘Help our Kelp’ campaign backing the decision by the Sussex IFCA (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority) to ban near-shore trawling across the Bay of Sussex. Aggressive trawling has been a major factor behind the disappearance of seaweed on our beaches which deprive marine wildlife of a vital feeding and breeding environment. Worthing of course used to have a problem with the smell of rotting seaweed washed up on our beaches in the summer, but that was long ago.

Implementing the bylaw will mean new kelp beds can be replanted without the risk of trawlers raking up the seabed and there will be a major environmental benefit for marine life. But most exciting of all kelp apparently absorbs 6 times as much carbon dioxide as trees so it can be a key contributor to combating climate change, and Worthing Council has some interesting plans to harness this.

Constituents have been worried that the by-law has yet to be signed off because of delays within DEFRA. In fact, the Fisheries Minister has yet to receive the bylaw and having spoken to ministers I know they are very supportive of this project. The hold up is in fact with the MMO (Marine Management Organisation – yes too many acronyms!) who are responsible for scrutinising the proposal and I hope that this process is almost complete and can move to the Minister shortly. I will be hovering over her pen to get this finally signed off as soon as it does.