Focus Article September 2018

I do hope you have had a good summer and have been able to take advantage of the sun.  I was pleased to see that the hose pipe ban was not put in place after all. The Parliamentary Recess gives me the opportunity to travel around the constituency and this is when I really discover the issues affecting constituents. 

Virgin Trains have now confirmed to me that the reason they have not increased the number of direct Poulton to London trains is because the platform is not long enough for their 9 and 11 car Pendolino trains to stop.  I am told the trains cannot use selective door opening technology as the station and some of the trains are not fitted with the equipment required.  I am incensed at this as the platform length has only recently been reduced – clearly a short-sighted and ill-researched decision which disadvantages my constituents.  I am making robust representations to Network Rail seeking the reinstatement of the platform.  

The rail services in general from Poulton to Preston and beyond are running better now after the works and I will be keeping a close eye on this.  I know many of you were badly affected by the change in timetables and works in general. I have been highlighting this to Network Rail and I will be continuing to talk to all rail operators about services in the future.  Northern has announced details of the additional compensation which will be offered to season ticket holders. Passengers who commute on certain routes will be able to claim compensation up to the equivalent of a month’s travel, which is over and above the existing delay repay scheme.  Full details of how passengers can claim this compensation can be found at www.northernrailway.co.uk/compensation.  Additionally, Northern’s Customer Support Team can be reached between 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday to Friday by calling 03332 220 126 or emailing Compmay18@northernrailway.co.uk

As you know I have been raising concerns about the Blue Badge Scheme in Lancashire.  I welcome the Government’s recent decision to extend the Blue Badge Scheme to those with hidden disabilities.  I know this will make life that little bit easier for those with autism and mental health conditions and their families and/or carers. Please see link below for more information.  www.gov.uk/government/news/people-with-hidden-disabilities-to-benefit-f…

Slow broadband speeds especially in rural areas has been a concern to many.  I have been dealing with many cases but overall the situation seems to be improving.  Rural businesses rely on the internet to enable them to grow and prosper. With this in mind, I am asking Lancashire County Council to step in and help in areas that BT consider are commercially unviable.

I have recently written to the Environment Agency and Natural England about concerns in relation to Halite’s plans to excavate the salt caverns using high pressure water and to then release the brine water produced into Morecambe Bay.  I reminded them that throughout the planning process I raised concerns about the damage this brine would have on the delicate ecosystem and that recently I have been contacted by constituents who have expressed similar concerns.  The Environment Agency has acknowledged the growing unease around the project and have sought to assure me that appropriate measures have been put in place and will continue to be taken to ensure that there is minimum impact on the marine environment.  This will be an on-going issue and I aim to ensure that the work of Halite is monitored robustly.

I continue to meet residents at my advice surgeries covering a wide range of issues. Please remember if you would like to attend one the most effective way to contact me is by e-mail, with a brief description of the issues you wish to raise and your contact details. It is worth bearing in mind that I can often offer assistance without the need for a meeting.

If I can be of any assistance to you please ring my Office at the House of Commons on 0207 219 5804 or my Constituency Office on 01995 672976, email me at wallaceb@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.