Monthly newsletter Edition 7 Sir Robert reports:- Page 1
The Daresbury saga continues. At the invitation of Carl Cross, PPC for Weaver Vale, I paid a brief visit to the Laboratories and talked with senior staff about the effects of the Government decision to locate the new Synchrotron Project in Oxfordshire. Jobs will be lost, particularly amongst the "leading edge" scientists who are already going elsewhere, and management think that the whole operation will be but a shadow of its present form in seven years time. I had a pint in the "Ring o' Bells" in Daresbury Village, where the Landlord, Martin Moylon, won a seat on Halton Council for the Conservatives which we have never won before, simply because of the anger locally about the Labour Government's inexplicable and deceitful decision. So some clouds do have a silver lining!
I was invited earlier this month, by the local Chamber of Trade at Windermere, to see for myself the potentially disastrous effects of the Government's proposed 10 mph speed restriction on the Lake. Although there are differing views on the virtues of such a policy, I have no doubt that the implications are detrimental. I was Minister for the Environment when the matter was last disussed about six years ago and, initially, I looked at the issue with an open mind. I learnt very quickly that the damage to local industry and tourism would be immense, particularly since a pledge had been given by the Lake District Planning Board that water-skiing and motor-boating would continue at Windermere ad infinitum, following their banning from Coniston and Ullswater. There is nowhere else for these pastimes to locate. So I made the Ministerial decision not to impose a speed limit and I still stand by that view. During my visit, I spoke at length to hoteliers, motorboat and water-skiing operators, yachtsmen, anglers, shop-keepers, parish councillors and residents and I found no one in favour of the policy decided by a Labour Minister, without proper consultation and in the face of local opinion. I have since heard from a good number of Constituents throughout the North West who use Windermere and who agree with my stance. I have only had one person against.
Commissioner Bolkenstein came to my Committee last week to tell MEPs about his proposals to liberalise Europe¬πs postal services. Howls of outrage from the Socialists and their Trade Union friends, who believe that mail delivery should be a sacrosanct public sector operation. I made it clear that, in principle, Conservatives supported the Commissioner, with the important caveats that the universal service provision to all parts of the United Kingdom be maintained and that rural sub-post offices do not suffer.
The previous day had seen a three-hour Committee Hearing on the transportation of nuclear and radioactive waste, at which were present a wide variety of "experts" representing every sector from BNFL through to CND. There was an astonishing amount of ill-informed and distorted rubbish emanating from the Left and the Greens, both MEPs and witnesses, so I took the pro-nuclear corner to speak up and fight for the many thousands of constituents who work at Sellafield and Springfields. No one is ever complacent about safety but forty years of transportation, by land sea and rail, without a single injury or death is a pretty good advertisement for the industry. I cannot think of another with a comparable record.
We had the company of about 30 Macclesfield Conservatives in Brussels last month, who came on a trip to Parliament organised by my office. In addition to the sightseeing, we had a splendid dinner and then a briefing and discussion with all five of the Tory MEP team the next day. I hope our Visitors enjoyed it as much as I did!