In the first of a new monthly series for London West, DevComms director, Maria Allaway, looks at what the region’s MPs have been focusing on this month.

So far in November, West London MPs have been active on energy, planning battles and engaging with local communities.

It’s been a busy time for Greg Hands (Con, Chelsea and Fulham) in his capacity as the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as a result of the second reading of the Nuclear Energy (Financing Bill) earlier this month, followed by COP 26.

Greg Hands reported that with a government objective to decarbonise the energy sector by 2035, the UK’s electricity supply will be predominantly composed of wind and solar but will need to be complemented by resilient, reliable and low-cost options including large scale nuclear power plants. Nuclear power would also provide the benefit of high skilled, high productivity jobs throughout the UK.

Over in Chipping Barnet, the Planning Inspectorate upheld previous decisions by Barnet Council and Sadiq Khan to refuse planning permission for a development by Hill Residential, which would have delivered c.150 homes on land at Whalebones Park in High Barnet. The campaign against the proposals had been led by Theresa Villiers MP and the Barnet Society.

Elsewhere in her constituency, and in a campaign focussing on parking, Theresa Villiers is calling for the local community to join the fight to “Save our suburban station car parks”. The campaign will seek to persuade TfL to reconsider plans to build over station car parks in Barnet, Enfield and Harrow.

Bob Blackman (Con, Harrow East) has been commenting in a Westminster debate on the number of people living in privately rented accommodation who are in arrears and at risk of losing their homes. This, he said, being one of the impacts of the pandemic.

He added that the key to resolving the situation is the funding programme for housing, particularly affordable housing. He added that these homes should be houses and not “high density flats that are unacceptable for people with families to live in”. On the same subject, Bob Blackman stated that he wants the Government to build 100,000 new homes for social rent, so that people can afford their rent rather than having to rely on benefits. He argued that Right to Buy should be re-introduced so that future occupants have the opportunity to purchase properties at the price that applies when they move in, however long it takes them to be able to afford to do so.

Finally, he welcomed conformation of the £5 billion fund for replacing unsafe cladding.

In the wake of COP26, Richmond Park’s MP, Sarah Olney (Lib Dem), had a clear focus on climate change.

She called for the Government to be more ambitious on its climate change objectives. Critical of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, Sarah Olney stated that ‘climate’ was not mentioned at all. She added that the Government ‘has undermined intercity rail services by cutting Air Passenger Duty for domestic flights, and the promising Green Homes Grant has now been scrapped after a year of mismanagement’.

Turning to nuclear energy, Sarah Olney reiterated the importance of decarbonisation of the energy sector. In light of the Nuclear Energy Bill’s second reading in Parliament, she called for the Government to ‘redouble efforts on renewables’.

Sarah Olney also joined forces with neighbouring constituency MPs Andy Slaughter, David Simmons, John McDonnell and Munira Wilson, local members of the House of Lords Baroness Kramer and Baroness Jones and HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), against the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Her opposition centres on the potential expansion and increase in air travel capacity directly undermining the need to cut emissions.

In his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, PM Boris Johnson, met with local residents associations to discuss a range of issues of local and national importance, including the reform of the planning system, antisocial behaviour and the future of Uxbridge Police Station.

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