Earlier this week, the Prime Minister set out the roadmap for how the current restrictions can start to be relaxed in a managed way. Thanks to the sacrifices made by all of us combined with the tremendous success of the vaccination programme the four step process will enable us to get back to near normal by the middle of June. The Prime Minister has been clear that our top priority is reopening schools to all pupils, which will happen from the 8th March. Research shows that the best place for our young people to learn is in the classroom. In April non-essential retail will spring back into life, closely followed by hospitality. At all stages, the government will be guided by the latest data to assess the impact of the previous steps. There will also be a minimum of five weeks between each step, including four weeks for the data to reflect the changes in restrictions followed by seven days’ notice of the next restrictions to be eased. Reducing the risk of the government having to re-impose measures. So please stick with it Suffolk, the end is in sight.
Last Friday, I spoke, once again, at the Planning Inquiry determining Scottish Power Renewables’ application for huge substations at Friston and the associated cabling corridor from Thorpeness. If approved, the proposal would have a devastating impact on the local area including elements of the AONB. In light of last week’s High Court ruling quashing permission for the Vanguard offshore wind farm in Norfolk because the cumulative impact wasn’t properly considered, I suggested to the inspectorate that a split decision should be recommended. Approving the offshore works as not to unduly delay the wind farm project but with a clear signal that instead of the current spaghetti like cabling that we could end up with in East Suffolk, holding off on an onshore decision until a coordinated proposal is put forward that complies with emerging government policy. I have always been clear that I would like to see the integrated infrastructure located at the brownfield site at Bradwell. I will continue to engage with this application on behalf of concerned constituents.