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Eric Ollerenshaw column

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP.

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP.

With the recent floods across the country, the whole issue of flood defences and their maintenance has been high on the agenda in Parliament.

I was pleased that the Prime Minister has pledged to look at the existing Treasury rules which govern the spending of flood defences which results in a much higher priority in residential areas compared with that of agricultural or industrial.

This is something I have been raising for some time as it is these rules which have an impact on areas such as Thurnham where, although we now have a commitment that the sea defences will be maintained for another 30 years, this area is still considered less of a financial priority than more densely populated areas.

Obviously I do accept that when considering the maintenance of our sea defences ‘risk to life’ must always be a priority – however I do think that given the rising issue of flood security in the world it is time to put rural areas on a similar footing to urban.

Locally I was delighted to welcome George Osborne to Lancaster Brewery to do a tour and to meet with members of our local business community.

For me this was not only an opportunity to show-case this great local business that has gone from a modest start with four part time staff to now employing 170 people with the developing possibility of a big export market in the USA.

It was also a chance for the Chancellor to meet the 30 or so other businesses from our area who are keen to expand on the assurance of developing but steady growth. I also managed to have a meeting with the Heritage Lottery Fund who were keen for me to advertise that their programme to cover the centenary of the First World War is for a full four years.

Therefore they are keen to get applications in as the next four years develop and the centenaries of the other great landmarks of that conflict arise.

They are not just funding events connected to the start of the war and can be contacted at www.hlf.org.uk.

As always, please contact me if I can be of any help. I represent everyone that lives in Lancaster regardless of how or whether you vote.

 

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