It was good to welcome the Police Minister, Nick Hurd to Chelmsford. He came to meet the Chief Constable of Essex Police and to hear from police officers and staff as part of the Front Line Review. This is a very detailed piece of work looking at the pressures police face across the country. It makes clear recommendations about the need to continue increasing both the total number of police officers and to improve the support and equipment we give them. Another 74 new officers have just completed their training in Essex, so it was good to tell the minister about the local plans to increase the force. Officers told us of their experiences in recent anti-drugs gangs operations which led to the arrest of over 50 people across Essex. They also took the minister on a patrol through the City Centre.
Good news about our local NHS – the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group which is responsible for planning our local health services including GP services has received a “Good” rating in a recent inspection. Broomfield, Basildon and Southend Hospitals have recently completed recruiting 300 new nurses. Well done to all and welcome to our new nurses!
I am delighted that Essex County Council has announced that all of Chelmsford’s libraries will remain open. They are a vital part of our local communities. I have always been a massive supporter of local libraries and was very opposed to any suggestions of potential closures. Thank you to all those who worked so hard to campaign for our libraries, especially to Springfield and Galleywood Parish Councils and Anthony McQuiggan and Susan Sullivan who chaired the Parish Councils through much of this period.
Many people in Chelmsford care about the environment both locally and across the world. Over the past two years in Westminster I have been working with a group of MPs to set up the Conservative Environment Network. This has grown and grown. Last week we launched a detailed manifesto covering a wide range of different policy areas, from energy production to wildlife protection. The UK is the first major economy in the world to commit to end greenhouse gas emissions, “Net Zero” by 2050. Over the next few years we need to see the real policies that will make a difference. I look forward to making sure our next Prime Minister keeps up the focus on the environment.
At a recent rail conference in Chelmsford it was made clear that the project for our second railway station is now considered a strategic priority for the entire Great Eastern Mail Line, all the way from Liverpool Street to Norwich. The station will include a vital passing loop which will bring capacity for additional trains along the line. The funding bid is being reviewed by the Government.
I am very honoured to have been asked to join the board of Anglia Ruskin University which has been doing an exceptional job in Chelmsford. The state-of-the-art new Medical School opened last September and is already training 100 students to become doctors. It specialises in training GPs and metal health doctors which are so much needed in our area. This has been so successful that in the House of Commons I have been asking ministers to increase the number of doctor training posts. Anglia Ruskin University is also the third largest provider of degree apprenticeships in the country. The board member role is unpaid.