Thornton Community News - September 2015

As well as a holiday in Anglesey, I have enjoyed spending time with my family in the constituency this summer.  I’ve been busy out and about meeting local residents and businesses too.


One of the biggest issues facing local residents this summer has been the requirement to boil tap water before consumption, due to the contamination of our water by the Cryptosporidium bug.  I really do appreciate the difficulties and disruption this has caused to households, particularly in the preparation of cold drinks and food.  I am pleased that the requirement to boil water has now been lifted across the constituency, but am angry at the length of time which United Utilities took to resolve the matter.  Following my visit to the Franklaw Water Treatment Works, which I mentioned in my last column, I continued to be in regular contact with senior managers at United Utilities demanding that they ensure that the infection was eliminated and that the company increased its efforts to communicate with those affected.  I pushed for compensation to be awarded and am continuing to raise concerns about some aspects of the current offer which are not acceptable.


I also spoke to the Environment Secretary, Liz Truss MP, to raise my concerns and those expressed by local residents.  As a result the Government intervened to insist that United Utilities provided greater clarity to local residents, in terms of when water needed to be boiled and the progress which was being made to clear the network of the contamination.


Going forward, lessons must be learned.  To do this, we need to know how the contamination was caused and I will be following closely the work of the Drinking Water Inspectorate, which is responsible for investigating.  I will not hesitate to call for a full Parliamentary Inquiry, if I have any doubts about the veracity of the Inspectorate's investigation.


Over the summer, I was delighted to visit the new RSPCA Animal Centre in Stalmine.  It is an impressive, state of the art animal centre, which helps to rehome animals which have been removed from their owners by RSPCA Officers due to welfare concerns.  The new centre opened this summer after 10 years of planning and at a cost of just under £3 million (paid for by the generosity of donations and legacies from local people).


I also visited the British Association of Dental Nurses, which is based at Hillhouse.  The BADN is the only professional association with its headquarters in Wyre.  They work to protect and represent the interests of dental nurses and I will be helping them with a number of issues which they raised with me, ranging from training to taxation and pensions.


I had an enjoyable, but serious, meeting with dairy farmers from around Out Rawcliffe who are concerned about milk prices.  In Westminster, I am in touch with the Farming Minister to raise their calls for stronger powers for the Grocery Adjudicator to help tackle the abuse of the supply chain by the market dominance of the supermarkets and for more help for small and medium-sized farms with regard to milk pricing, specifically collective bargaining.


As term began, I popped in to see Jill Gray, Principal of Blackpool Sixth Form College, to discuss funding for sixth form colleges.  This is something which I will be following up with the Education Secretary in the coming weeks.  Blackpool Sixth Form College is one of our great assets and I want to see it continue to go from strength to strength.



Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance to you.  You can email me at or write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.  If you would like to book an appointment please call my Office at the House of Commons on 0207 219 5804.  Alternatively, I can be contacted at my Constituency Office on 01995 672976.