Columnist: Eric Ollerenshaw MP

Eric Ollerenshaw MP
Eric Ollerenshaw MP

Following on from Conference in Manchester I managed to call in to Lancaster University’s Freshers Fair to see the many clubs and organisations that students can join.

I am always amazed by the sheer variety of what is on offer – from debating and philosophy to sky-diving. Whatever your taste there is definitely something for everyone.

I also met with representatives from the Environment Agency to discuss the Thurnham Flood Defences.

Admittedly the picture is now looking brighter than it did some months back with a guarantee from the Environment Agency that rather than doing a ‘managed realignment’, the defences will be maintained for another 30 years.

But clearly there are still concerns over what will happen then.

Not only is this uncertainty worrying for residents, it also could have a knock-on effect on land and property prices.

Because of this I will be asking a question in Parliament on whether agricultural and industrial land 
valuations need to be increased, given the rising national concern over food security.

For us locally this could mean that the cost benefits of maintaining the sea defences indefinitely outweigh the risks.

At the same time there is perhaps more we could be doing locally through parish and district councils to improve local resilience to flooding both in the short and long-term.

Finally, I had a great time on Sunday over in Galgate where I presented the Fairtrade Declaration to the village.

Although as some of you may know, Lancaster and Morecambe is about to 
celebrate its 10th year 
of being a Fairtrade District, Galgate is the first village within our district to achieve Fairtrade status in its own right.

My congratulations go to the committee and all the volunteers for achieving this, in particular a special mention for the contribution of Ellel St John’s school, both staff and pupils.

Where Galgate leads today, perhaps we will soon see other villages following.