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Labour's Victoria Groulef is calling for environmental charities and experts to be involved in discussions about how Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) will be tackled locally over the coming year.

For the past two years woodland near Pangbourne has been sprayed aerially from helicopters to eradicate the non-native OPM. A copse - which has special scientific interest status due to its rare butterfly and moth population – was also sprayed.
 
The Forestry Commission has come under extensive criticism from environmental experts and charities who have said that the pesticide used has had a damaging impact on the local environment.
 
Many experts have claimed that spot spraying rather than aerial spraying would be just as effective at eradicating OPM but would be less damaging to the wider environment.
 
Over the past two years Victoria, the parliamentary candidate in Reading West, has been calling for greater transparency on how OPM is tackled as well as calling for greater public consultation and information.
 
Victoria said: "It is at this time of year the Forestry Commission starts to examine if they will repeat the spraying in the spring. This takes into account the number of male Oak Processionary Moths found in pheromone traps towards the end of the previous summer.
 
"I am calling on the Forestry commission to take into consideration the research and views of environmental charities and their experts.  Ideally some of the experts should be invited to sit on the OPM panel which makes recommendations on what action should take place to eradicate this non-native pest.
 
“If they do plan to spray again next year, now would also be a good time to have a series of public meetings so that local people can be informed of the rationale behind any decision."

Ends.

Charities & Experts Need To Have Their Say On Damaging Moth Spraying, says Labour's Victoria Groulef

Labour's Victoria Groulef is calling for environmental charities and experts to be involved in discussions about how Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) will be tackled locally over the coming year.

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Labour’s Chair of General Election Strategy and Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander MP, joined the campaign trail in Rochester and Strood to show his support for Naushabah Khan on November 4th.

Douglas Alexander went to Rochester East and spoke to local residents about their concerns.

Earlier in the day, Dan Jarvis MP, decorated military veteran and Labour Shadow Minister for Justice, visited servicemen and women living around Brompton Barracks.

Dan is also writing to them, setting out Labour’s promises for our brave Armed Forces and why he’s supporting Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate, Naushabah Khan.

Naushabah has her own personal connection to the army – her family first came to the area to work in the Chatham Dockyard and her mum works in a civilian role in the barracks. Her mum was recently given an award for hard work, dedication and exemplary service by the Corps of Royal Engineers.

Rochester and Strood has a rich military history, with the Chatham Dockyard at one point the biggest employer in Medway and Naushabah is keen to recognise that. That’s why she promised last week to back Labour’s plans to enshrine the Military Covenant in the NHS Constitution.


Dan Jarvis MP, Shadow Minister for Justice, is to write the following letter to servicemen and women living around Brompton Barracks:
 
I am writing to you because I hope we share an interest in supporting our Armed Forces and their families and those veterans who have bravely served our country.

I spent 15 years in the British Army before I become a Labour MP, serving in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in other conflicts around the world. I'm deeply proud of our Armed Forces and I know that Naushabah Khan – Labour's Candidate in the by-election here in Rochester and Strood – shares that pride, not least because her mother works for the MoD in Brompton.

Naushabah is committed to standing up for our Armed Forces and I know if she's elected she will work tirelessly to make sure your voice is heard in Parliament. She was born and brought up in Rochester, too, so she knows the important role the Royal Engineers have played – and continue to play – in the area.

She understands the incredible contribution that our Armed Forces make to our country, and the importance of making sure they have the equipment and resources they need to defend us from the threats we face in the modern world. That’s why Labour will make sure the next Defence and Security Review that will be strategically led and financially responsible. And we will ensure an open and inclusive debate on defence and security issues in advance of it, to ensure that your voice is heard.

Naushabah recognises the importance of supporting our Armed Forces families; the service charities and the Royal British Legion, who all make such an important contribution.

Labour believes that servicemen and women should be treated with the respect their service deserves, and that's why we will change the law so that for the first time ever it would be a specific criminal offence to attack members of our Armed Forces. Naushabah is a strong supporter of our Veterans, those who have served our country in the past. Many veterans prosper after leaving the services, but we all know there are some who struggle to make the transition to civilian life. We must do everything we can to support those people. That’s why Labour will introduce a Veterans Interview Programme to help service leavers get in to work. And we will create a Veterans Register to ensure our veterans receive proper support on leaving service.

Over the next few weeks you're going to hear a lot about the different candidates in the forthcoming by-election. I want you to know that Naushabah Khan is a very impressive young woman. If she is elected, she will stand up for those who serve, for those who have served, and she will stand up for you.

Naushabah would be a brilliant champion for the people of Rochester and Strood and I hope you will consider giving her the opportunity to serve you in Parliament.

Thank you for reading this letter.

Best wishes,

Dan Jarvis MP

DOUGLAS ALEXANDER AND ARMY VETERAN DAN JARVIS MP SUPPORT NAUSHABAH'S CAMPAIGN

Labour’s Chair of General Election Strategy and Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander MP, joined the campaign trail in Rochester and Strood to show his support for Naushabah Khan on November...

Proposals by the Labour Party to give local areas more control over their bus routes and the power to set fares have been welcomed by Sarah Owen.

The proposals, set out by Labour leader Ed Miliband, would give county councils similar powers to regulate bus services as those in place in London.

Sarah Owen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Hastings & Rye, has been campaigning to rescue at risk rural services from the axe and says the proposals are a positive move.

Sarah said: "This is precisely what we need to help protect our local bus services.

“For the thousands of bus users in Hastings & Rye, and particularly those who supported our Don't Stop our Bus campaign to save 99 routes across East Sussex, this could turn around the cycle of dwindling bus services, cuts and constant fare increases.

"In the future, we, as an area, would have a direct say over what bus routes we need and we can ensure they are properly integrated with other public transport."

Announcing the policy Ed Miliband said: "Labour will legislate so that counties can set fares, decide routes, and integrate bus services with trams, trains and the wider public transport network.

“Bus services and public transport should be the arteries that keep our regional economics moving, our roads less clogged with cars, and working people travelling to where businesses need them. We will put the public interest back on our buses."

At present most regions have a strong in-built bias towards heavily deregulated bus provision which prevents them from delivering integrated public transport plans that would allow Oyster card-style ticketing and joined up networks with rail services. It also prevents them combining a transport plan with a growth strategy.

Labour’s plan would allow county regions which come together in combined authorities to use a simple and swift procedure for getting greater control over local bus services - setting routes and fares, introducing smarter ticketing, and integrating those services with wider public transport and growth plans.

This will mean that rather than different private companies or Whitehall taking decisions about public transport, local areas would be put in the driving seat. Similar models exist successfully in many other countries, including Denmark, and local areas already franchise for some other services in a similar way, for example the Tyne and Wear Metro.

ENDS


Sarah Owen Welcomes Plan For Local Control Over Bus Services

Proposals by the Labour Party to give local areas more control over their bus routes and the power to set fares have been welcomed by Sarah Owen.

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