Last week there was a decisive vote on giving the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow. I abstained as I am still not convinced that this can be achieved without serious environmental damage, not least on air quality, and it is likely to be contested through the courts for years to come. I am also concerned about the impact on Gatwick which could have delivered the project quicker and cheaper and would hopefully have attracted much needed investment to other aspects of the creaking infrastructure in the south-east. We will see what happens.
The following day I caught a train at the crack of dawn down to Worthing for our 11th Annual Adur & Worthing Eco Summit for the EYE (Eco, Young & Engaged) Project hosted by Worthing High School. This was the biggest and best yet with no fewer than 315 pupils from 27 school. As well as the plenary sessions there was a choice of 20 different workshops offering everything from constructing and racing solar powered cars, creating habitats for wildlife, all sorts of wonderful things to do with recycled plastics and keeping beaches clean. As usual I have already been contacted by parents commenting how their children have been badgering tem ever since to be more environmentally friendly so I know it works! One of the projects at the summit was ‘Poll:Nation’ which has been shortlisted for a National Lottery award if you vote for them at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards if you want to do your bit.
I also had a busy few days over the weekend. I started Friday with an early morning catch-up with the Principal of Worthing College to talk about the review of possible link-ups with other colleges. Then it was on to a lively discussion with local members of the Federation of Small Businesses where inevitably Brexit preparations, the state of the town centre and the A27 all weighed large. On to Horsham for a meeting with the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership, our regular meeting between MPs and West Sussex County Council cabinet members before heading back to Lancing for a particularly packed surgery.
Saturday was back to back fun and fairs with an inspiring talk from Olympic skeleton gold medallist Amy Williams at the Shoreham College prize day; an excellent Sompting Festival under the expert management of parish councillors Ann Godley and Paul Mansfield’ ad their team; judging the mad hats at the Kamelia Kids Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and then finishing up at the Fishbourne Roman Palace to celebrate 50 years since Britain’s largest Roman villa was opened to the public where we heard tales of the excavation in the 1960’s from veteran archaeologist Barry Cunliffe. On Sunday I was back in Worthing for the Drumhead Service in Steyne Gardens as part of Armed Forces weekend. As usual it was a moving occasion where despite the intense heat and lack of shade the standard bearers performed faultlessly.