19 JAN 2018

MP CALLS FOR BETTER ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING NETWORK IN A BID TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY

Creating a better charging network for electric cars will play a vital role in improving air quality, according to MP Caroline Dinenage.

The Gosport MP, recently named Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, made the comments today as she visited a Hampshire petrol station that has installed electric vehicle (EV chargers).

"We're in a real chicken and egg situation when it comes to cleaning up the UK's toxic air problem," she said. "We know that swapping older, more polluting cars for electric vehicles will help to reduce toxic air. But we can't expect motorists to buy electric cars unless there's the infrastructure there to charge them."

The Conservative MP visited a petrol station in her constituency today to find out how private companies are working together to tilt the balance.

Fast-growing Hampshire firm InstaVolt has installed two rapid chargers at Lee-on-the-Solent Service Station, enabling drivers to take their EV from 0 to 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes. The company's installing thousands of others across the UK at places like gyms and council car parks.

Oli Lodge, managing director of Rusdene Services, which owns and operates the petrol station in Broom Way, says petrol stations should be gearing up for electric cars now.

He said: "We didn't want to bury our heads in the sand and wait until it was too late to adapt. Not a day goes by without another announcement pointing towards electric cars being the future so we were keen to move quickly and become part of the country's charging infrastructure."

Tim Payne, CEO of InstaVolt, added: "Sales of electric vehicles are on the rise, with record market share for plug-in cars in December. Caroline is absolutely right when she says we need to create a reliable charging infrastructure to encourage more people to go electric and, ultimately, help improve air quality in the UK. That's why companies like ours are working day and night to install thousands of chargers all over the country."

The InstaVolt chargers at Lee-on-the-Solent are available for electric vehicle drivers to use on a subscription free, pay-as-you-go basis. Motorists simply tap their contactless credit or debit card, charge-up and go. Users are charged only for the electricity they use on a per-unit basis. There is no connection fee, minimum charge or monthly subscription fee.

Like all InstaVolt chargers, they were installed for free and Lee-on-the-Solent Service Station won't have to pay a penny for them. In fact, it will make a rental income for housing them on its land.

Caroline added: "It's great to see two local companies coming together to make our roads an even easier place to drive an electric vehicle."

To find out more about InstaVolt visit www.instavolt.co.uk


19 JAN 2018

CAROLINE BACKS HELP FOR HEROES MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGN

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has today backed an information campaign for veterans of the armed forces and their families who, it is feared, are suffering in silence.

Run by the national charity Help for Heroes, the campaign encourages friends and relatives to seek advice if they need help.

The charity has also released new research showing that stigma is the main reason many of those surveyed do not speak up: 39 per cent said that they "don't feel [they] have the right to seek help", almost half (43 per cent) say they "need to be the strong one", and 16 per cent admitting they would be "afraid of appearing weak". One in three would turn to a family member, friend or other veteran wives and families before approaching their GP or a medical professional.

Caroline said: "This campaign will resonate with Gosport as a naval town; as behind every serving member of the armed forces there is an armed forces family who also need support.

If anyone has any concerns about a veteran or needs extra advice and support, they can contact Help for Heroes through hidden.wounds@helpforheroes.org.uk or the freephone number 0808 2020 144"


17 JAN 2018

CAROLINE SIGNS HOLOCAUST EDUCATIONAL TRUST BOOK OF COMMITMENT

This week local MP, Caroline Dinenage signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

Saturday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year's commemorations is 'The power of words'.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Caroline commented:

"Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Gosport and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust. A few years ago I was honoured to take a group of Gosport sixth form students to Auschwitz - we must never forget and always persevere to educate young people about this dark period of history. I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day."

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

"The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words. Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to Caroline for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms."


15 JAN 2018

Carillion

Some local residents may be concerned regarding the news about Carillion's insolvency today.

For information or advice please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-protects-essential-public-services-as-carillion-declares-insolvency

The Second Sea Lord has also made the following comment: "Can I reassure Royal Navy personnel and their families that today's announcement on the financial situation of Carillion has no direct impact on them. Use all the normal processes, help desks etc. Check the Defence Intranet for more info"


15 JAN 2018

CAROLINE GETS READY FOR SAILOR SOCIETY BICENTENNIAL

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has met with the Sailor Society as it prepares for its 200th birthday.

She met with representatives Jon Foster and Melanie Warman and they discussed how the charity supports sailors and their families in over a hundred countries.

The charity, based locally in nearby Southampton, has recently launched its own brand of coffee to help support its work.

Caroline said: "I was really impressed by the work of the Sailor Society; something that will resonate with Gosport as a naval town.

It was moving to hear stories where the Society has made a difference; such as connecting a sailor to his family to give him the wonderful news that he had become a Dad.

I look forward to working with the Sailor Society in the future and celebrating their 200th birthday in March." 


12 JAN 2018

ENVIRONMENT MINISTER LAUNCHES PIONEERING CUP RECYCLING IN GOSPORT

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has today joined Environment Minister, Thérèse Coffey, to launch a new recycling initiative for paper coffee cups in Gosport – the first of its kind in the UK. Created through a partnership between Gosport Borough Council and paper cup manufacturer Huhtamaki, the scheme will pilot a collection and recycling service for used coffee cups for residents and businesses.

It will provide dedicated cup recycling bins at strategic sites across Gosport including the ferry port (used by commuters as well as tourists) and council-owned premises such as the town hall and the leisure centre, with plans to extend collection points to main high street locations, local offices and transport providers in the future.

Caroline said "I was delighted to invite the Minister to Gosport to launch Huhtamaki's innovative new recycling scheme. Taking such positive steps to allow single-use cups to be recycled is not only great news for the environment and for the local community."

Residents simply need to make sure used cups are empty before separating the lid from the cup and placing both items in a dedicated bin. Cups and lids will be recycled into products such as garden furniture, park benches and flower tubs that could be used in and around Gosport. The initiative is underwritten by Huhtamaki and will go live in February 2018.

Commenting on the scheme, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey added: "I am very pleased to see Gosport Borough Council and local industry coming together to take positive action to increase the recycling of cups. Tackling paper and coffee cup waste is a vital way to protect our environment and this is a great example of how collaborative action can have a real impact to make recycling even easier.

"This is exactly the kind of initiative that we would like to see following the launch of our 25 Year Environment Plan." 

Cllr Mark Hook, Leader of the Council, said: "We're delighted to be able to support such a pioneering scheme, which makes it easier for residents to recycle coffee cups on the go. We'd encourage all local businesses and residents to get involved and help make this a success."

Neil Whittall of Huhtamaki added, "The cups we manufacture in Gosport are sustainably sourced, responsibly produced and fully recyclable. However we recognise that many are not being recycled and we are actively working to change this. Improving cup collection and recycling infrastructure in Gosport will help local people make a difference and improve recycling rates. We hope this new initiative will create a blueprint for similar schemes across the UK."


11 JAN 2018

CAROLINE BACKS PLASTIC WASTE PLAN


Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has today backed plans to tackle plastic waste.

The Prime Minister Theresa May has today launched a strategy for a cleaner, greener Britain by eliminating all avoidable plastic waste within the next twenty five years.

Key announcements include extending the 5p charge for plastic bags to all retailers, to encourage recycling, examining further changes to charges, and to encourage innovation in alternative materials.

The strategy builds on the world's toughest and most comprehensive ban on microbeads which came into force this month.

Commenting, Caroline said: "I was shocked to discover that 1 million birds, and over 100,000 other sea mammals and turtles die every year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

I know how important looking after our marine environment is to Gosport and I am pleased the Government is taking this forward.

It is right to act now to ensure we leave our Britain cleaner and greener for our children."


09 JAN 2018

Caroline Welcomes Microbead Ban

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the introduction of the ban on microbeads which has come into force today.

Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that are easily swallowed by marine life – in cosmetics and personal care products such as toothpastes and shower gels.

The ban is one step to tackle the large number of plastics which are choking marine life.

The news has been welcomed by the Marine Conservation Society and other environmental groups.

Commenting Caroline said: "It is great news for Gosport that the Government has taken action to tackle this growing environmental problem. As a coastal area we know all too well that plastic in the sea and on our beaches is a growing problem.

This builds on the hugely successful charge for plastic bags; reducing plastic bag waste by 9 billion in a very short amount of time.

There is always more to do but I am confident this will be a positive step for our marine environment."


22 DEC 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES RETURN OF ICONIC BLUE PASSPORT

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has today welcomed the news that the Government will reintroduce the blue passport from 2019.

The current burgundy passports were introduced to standardise passport colours in the European Community from 1988, replacing the previous blue British passports which had been in use since 1921.

From the first day of Brexit in March 2019 EU insignia will be removed and five months later all British passports will be a dark blue colour.

In addition, anyone who wishes to apply early to have their current burgundy passport changed can do so.

Commenting Caroline said: "It is good news that the Government will reintroduce the iconic blue passport.

The passports will need to be redesigned to reflect Britain's departure from the EU and this is an ideal opportunity to create a unique British style of passport"


21 DEC 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES BROADBAND BOOST

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the announcement that universal high speed broadband will be delivered by a regulatory Universal Service Obligation (USO), giving everyone in the UK access to speeds of at least 10 Mbps by 2020.

This is the speed that Ofcom, the independent regulator, says is needed to meet the requirements of an average family. After careful consideration the government has decided that regulation is the best way of making sure everyone in the UK can get a decent broadband connection of at least 10 Mbps as soon as possible.

Following the creation of new powers when the Government passed the Digital Economy Act 2017, they launched a consultation on the design of the regulatory USO in the summer. The Government will now set out the design for a legal right to high speed broadband in secondary legislation early next year, alongside a detailed response to the consultation.

Ofcom's implementation is expected to take two years from when the Government lay secondary legislation, meeting the Government's commitment of giving everyone access to high speed broadband by 2020.

In the summer, the Government received a proposal from BT to deliver universal broadband through a voluntary agreement. They welcomed BT's proposal and have considered this in detail alongside a regulatory approach. They did not feel the proposal was strong enough for us to take the regulatory USO off the table, and have therefore decided not to pursue BT's proposal in favour of providing a legal right to broadband.

The government believes that only a regulatory USO offers sufficient certainty and the legal enforceability that is required to ensure high speed broadband access for the whole of the UK by 2020. However, they welcome BT's continued investment to deliver broadband to all parts of the UK.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"This is great news for constituents, not only in Gosport but across the UK!

Broadband speeds are regularly mentioned to me within certain areas of the constituency and this legislation should ensure that everyone will have access to equal and high speed broadband."

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said:

"We know how important broadband is to homes and businesses and we want everyone to benefit from a fast and reliable connection. We are grateful to BT for their proposal but have decided that only a regulatory approach will make high speed broadband a reality for everyone in the UK, regardless of where they live or work.

This is all part of our work on ensuring that Britain's telecoms infrastructure is fit for the future and will continue to deliver the connectivity that consumers need in the digital age."

This regulatory approach also brings a number of other advantages for the consumer:

  • the minimum speed of connection can be increased over time as consumers' connectivity requirements evolve;
  • it provides for greater enforcement to help ensure households and businesses do get connected
  • the scheme will maximise the provision of fixed line connections in the hardest to reach areas.
  • places a legal requirement for high speed broadband to be provided to anyone requesting it, subject to a cost threshold (in the same way the universal service right to a landline telephone works)


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