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Snettisham Primary and Heacham Infant pupils ask North West Norfolk MP about wildlife protection

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Have you seen a unicorn in North West Norfolk? I ask as one of the pupils at Snettisham Primary and Heacham Infant schools that I visited on Friday was pretty sure they had and was keen that they and other local wildlife were protected.

I was visiting as part of Parliament Week to raise awareness and understanding of democracy. Preparing rosettes, making campaign pledges, and taking part in debates were among some of the activities the young people had enjoyed.

An issue the pupils were particularly concerned about was the environment and tackling pollution. This week the House of Commons voted to strengthen measures in the Environment Bill to tackle the discharge of sewage into rivers and coastal water.

Snettisham Primary School.
Snettisham Primary School.

A detailed report published last week estimated the cost of the complete separation of waste water and storm flow systems that some have called for could cost up to £600 billion. But to ensure further action is taken to address this important issue the government is now under a duty to bring forward a plan on where the most impact can be had, the cost, and how to deliver it.

I voted to back new duties and powers on water companies, the Environment Agency, the regulator, and the government in this landmark legislation to reduce the impact of discharges and increase investment in the ageing network.

Along with a focus on the environment and climate change, living with Covid and managing NHS winter pressures is still top of the political agenda. Ten million people have now had their booster jab which will give increased protection to those most at risk.

In Norfolk and Waveney, nearly 60 per cent of those eligible have had the booster – that includes residents in over 200 care homes with plans in place to visit the remainder. Changes mean that people can book their jab a month in advance, making it easier to get a vaccine. In addition, walk-in booster jabs are available seven days a week at Shakespeare Barn Vaccination.

With a sizeable proportion of daily cases coming from schools, the vaccination programme for children is a local and national priority. Every area of Norfolk and Waveney has vaccinated a higher percentage of 12-15 year olds than the national average. However, rates in Lynn are lower than other places locally and the NHS is looking at the reasons for that and how to increase take up. Walk-in vaccinations are available for 12-15 year olds at weekends and Tuesday evenings at Shakespeare’s Barn too.

On Sunday, we mark 100 years of Remembrance to remember the service and sacrifice of all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life.

It is right that we take time to think about the soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and their families, from Britain and the Commonwealth, as well as members of the emergency services and civilians who have lost their lives as a result of conflict or terrorism. It was poignant to place a stake in the House of Commons constituency garden of remembrance as part of a new initiative to highlight the contribution of people from every area. Lest we forget.

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