Chelmsford Fortnightly Column

 There is much concern in our national newspapers about knife crime. In Chelmsford and Maldon there were four violent incidents involving knives last year. This is four too many, but it is much less than in many other parts of the UK. Last year 150 additional officers were added to Essex Police and another 240 are coming on board this year. In Chelmsford the police are actively using “Stop and Search” to tackle drug and knife crime. The number of “Stop and Searches” went up from 80 in the last quarter of 2017 to around 500 in the same period last year. This activity has led to the police being able to make significant arrests. A huge congratulations is due to members of Chelmsford police “C shift” team, who have just won the award for the best community police response team in the country. Please do keep reporting crimes and any intelligence into the police. It makes a real difference to their work.

Many Chelmsford constituents have written to me about the environment. I joined Members of Parliament for a recent debate on climate change. In the next thirty years the world will be much more crowded and much warmer. The global population is expected to reach at least 9 billion, and the population of Nigeria is predicted to be larger than that of Europe and the US put together. How much warmer it becomes depends on the action we all take. The science is very clear, mankind cannot continue to pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without causing permanent and irreversible damage to our planet. 

The UK has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent which is more than any other developed country. We have led the world in areas like renewables, which now account for about a third of our energy supply and we have played a leading role in the international negotiations which saw 181 countries commit to work together to fight global warming.  

As a member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee I am taking part in an in-depth inquiry into how best to use new technologies and science to help face this challenge. There are exciting new developments in areas such as the next generation of renewables, carbon capture, energy storage and decarbonisation of heat. Last year my Give up Plastic for Lent campaign helped inspire the government to introduce many new measures to reduce plastic pollution. This year 48 of my colleagues have taken up new Lent Challenges for the environment, including reducing plastics, food miles, and food waste as well arranging community litter picks and trying carbon free commuting. DO join in!

This year International Woman’s Day fell during National Apprenticeship week. On the day it was great to join students from Chelmsford College at the TUI offices in the High Street where they heard about apprenticeship opportunities in the tourism and travel sector. One of the high-flying young female students was investigating how to use an apprenticeship route become a pilot! The impressive apprentices at Teledyne e2V told me how 90% of the world’s cancer scanners contain most crucial components which are made in Chelmsford. I found that there is a very warm lunchtime welcome from the all women team running the new “Abstinence Bar” near the theatre, if you fancy a less boozy evening out then it is worth a visit. It was great to be able to hand over a huge cheque from The National Lottery to Helping Hands Essex to support their work with people overcoming additions and the homeless. I wound up the week with a facing quick-fire questions from the sixth formers from Chelmsford County High School for Girls, they will go far.

As ever please do not hesitate to get in touch at  vicky.ford.mp@parliament.uk