Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

News Highlights

During a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday 28th January 2020, Sharon spoke about the planning application for a gasification plant in Hillthorn Park, Washington. 

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You can read the full debate here

You can watch Sharon's speech here

You can read Sharon's speech below:

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hosie. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), both for securing this important debate and for his excellent speech to set the scene.

In 2017, a planning application for a gasification plant to be built in Hillthorn Park in Washington was submitted to Sunderland City Council. Since then, approximately 10,800 people have signed petitions opposing the plant—I presented one of them to the House last week.

Many of my constituents have contacted me about the planning application, and it came up a lot on the doorstep during the general election, so I am left in no doubt about how my constituents feel. Never in my 15 years as an MP have I seen an issue galvanise my constituents in such a way. They are totally against it. I share their concerns and join them in opposing the application. Although the planning application was submitted almost three years ago, we still do not know what type of gasification technology will be used if it is approved.

I am told that some of the options have never been used in the UK or in Europe. The technology has, however, been used in Japan, which has very different safety measures from the UK. Does the Minister think it right or fair for our constituents to be used as guinea pigs to test a new technology? Would she be happy if this took place in her constituency? I am sure that her constituents would not. My constituents are concerned about the short-term and long-term health and safety of those living around the plant.

The proposed site is as close as 100 meters to homes, and there are nine schools within a one-mile radius. Those communities will bear the brunt of increased traffic and the associated pollution, and they will be most at risk should anything go wrong with the plant, bearing in mind that the technology is totally untested in this country. The plant would not even be a great future employer—only 35 full-time equivalent jobs would be created. Basically, I can see no positives at all in the building of the gasification plant in my constituency—only many negatives.

The planning application is in direct contradiction to the Government’s own policies on climate change and waste processing, and the proposed plant could be expected to release millions of tonnes of CO—my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff South and Penarth mentioned that risk—within its anticipated lifetime. Undoubtedly, that will have a negative impact on our environment and on climate change. What assessment have the Government made of the impact that waste incineration could have on climate change?

I am happy to report that the planning application for this gasification plant was rejected in July last year by the local planning and highways committee. However, the application is up for appeal by the applicant, Rolton Kilbride, and the appeal will start on 18 February. I am sure that Members present will have no doubt that, based on my concerns—some of which I have raised today and many others I have not had time to mention—I plan to make strong representations to the planning inspectorate and to ask it to reject the application.

I have already written to the planning inspectorate and the national planning casework unit to request that, in the event that the application is approved, the Secretary of State recovers the appeal. If that request is approved, it will then give the Secretary of State the final say on the application, which I will lobby her strongly to reject. For now, it is a waiting game for me and my constituents, but I remain absolutely committed in my opposition to the plant. The health and the lives of my constituents should not be gambled with.

I will continue to work ceaselessly with constituents, campaigners and local councillors of every party—they all oppose the plans—to oppose the building of this plant. It must not be allowed to happen, and the united voices of all local people must be heard and heeded.

 

Read Sharon's work on the gasification plant at Hillthorn Park here >

Westminster Hall debate on Industrial and Commercial Waste Incineration 28.01.2020

During a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday 28th January 2020, Sharon spoke about the planning application for a gasification plant in Hillthorn Park, Washington.  You can read the full debate... Read more

Sharon Hodgson MP supports RSPCA to improve animal welfare among youngsters in Washington and Sunderland West

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Sharon Hodgson MP attended the RSPCA’s drop-in in the House of Commons and met with Chief Executive Chris Sherwood to hear about its Generation Kind initiative, which helps teach compassion to new generations and work to protect animals in Washington and Sunderland West.

Research by the RSPCA revealed that nearly a quarter of school children aged 10-18 have witnessed animal cruelty and neglect on social media.  Generation Kind, the charity’s biggest ever education and prevention programme, was developed to help address this.

Chief Executive, Chris Sherwood, said: “It’s great that Sharon attended our drop-in event to find out how we help animals in their constituency.

“Our frontline officers see some really horrific suffering and our research revealed that children as young as 10 have seen cruelty and attacks in social media videos and posts which is worrying.

“We are working hard to create a generation of children who treat animals with kindness, compassion and respect through Generation Kind - a series of projects working with youngsters at risk of offending, animal care sessions for children in care and also talks and competitions for primary and secondary school children designed to make them think about animal welfare.”

The RSPCA has been protecting animals since its foundation in 1824. To this day, they are increasing their work to prevent cruelty occurring in the first place and to educate the next generation of animal lovers.

Sharon Hodgson attended the RSPCA’s drop-in in the House of Commons to hear more about the charity’s work.

Sharon said: “I’m proud to support the RSPCA and the work that they do to protect animal welfare in our constituency. It was fantastic to hear about their work and to thank them on behalf of the animal lovers in our area for all that they do.

“However, I am saddened that young children are being exposed to horrific incidents of animal suffering online, in ways previous generations have simply not experienced.  We all have a duty to raise the next generation to be kind and compassionate to animals and I will continue to work closely with the RSPCA to help improve standards of animal welfare in Washington and Sunderland West and across the UK.”

More details about the RSPCA Generation Kind campaign can be found here: https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/education

Sharon supports RSPCA to improve animal welfare

Sharon Hodgson MP supports RSPCA to improve animal welfare among youngsters in Washington and Sunderland West Sharon Hodgson MP attended the RSPCA’s drop-in in the House of Commons and met...

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health is supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to tackle the myths and stigma around the common virus HPV and get the facts out.

Across the UK, cervical screening is moving to testing for HPV first, it is a far more sensitive test but also means many more women will be told they have HPV. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is running its #SmearForSmear campaign during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20-26 January) to tackle the misconceptions about the virus.

In the majority of cases, HPV infection goes away without doing the body any harm. Sometimes it causes cells to change which, if not treated, could develop into cervical cancer. Testing for HPV is a far more accurate test estimated to prevent almost 500 diagnoses of cervical cancer every year.

Sharon Hodgson MP and the UK’s cervical cancer charity want as many people as possible to understand the importance of cervical screening and to feel informed and comfortable when they get their results.

New research conducted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found a third of women consider HPV a taboo topic and would not want anyone to know if they had it. A quarter haven’t heard of HPV and one in five would feel embarrassed if they were told they had the virus. Calls to the charity’s Helpline about HPV have already risen 50% over the past year. It is expecting this to significantly rise as more women are tested for HPV and is calling on health professionals to be prepared for increases in questions from patients and encouraging open conversation.

Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: “HPV can be confusing but it is nothing to be ashamed of. 80% of us will get at least one type of HPV in our lives and in most cases the immune system will get rid of the infection without it causing any harm. We need to get the facts out about HPV and get rid of harmful myths and stigma around this really common virus.”

More information can be found at: www.jostrust.org.uk/smearforsmear

HPV stigma must end says Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health is supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to tackle the myths and stigma around the...

You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website

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I would like to once again thank voters in Washington and Sunderland West for re-electing me in the December General Election.

Whilst the national election result was not as I hoped, I remain as committed as ever to delivering for all of my constituents.

That means standing up for our local area and everyone who lives here.

One of my first appearances in the new Parliament was this week, when I presented a petition to the House of Commons signed by constituents who oppose the building of a gasification plant in Hillthorn Park.

Like thousands of my constituents, I am opposed to the building of this plant in our area.

The main reasons for my opposition to the plant are threefold:

1) The location of the proposed plant is close to houses and schools. It is these communities who will bear the brunt of increased traffic and associated pollution, and who are most at risk should anything go wrong with the plant.

2) The applicants have failed to satisfy any questions from myself and campaigners. We still do not know what technology will be used by the plant if building goes ahead, for example.

3) The proposed plant could be expected to release millions of tonnes of CO2 during the anticipated lifetime of the facility. This will undoubtedly have a negative impact on our environment and climate change.

As I said at the Planning and Highways Committee meeting in July, where the application was rejected, my constituents should not be used as guinea pigs; the health and lives of my constituents should not be gambled with.

Although the planning application was rejected in July by the Planning and Highways Committee, the application is now up for appeal, which will be held for 8 days from 10am on Tuesday 18th February at the Stadium of Light’s Montgomery Suite.

Because so many of my constituents have expressed concern about the planning application, I have written to the Planning Inspectorate and the National Planning Casework Unit to request that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government recovers the appeal, which if approved, will give the Secretary of State the final say on the application.

I will continue to work with constituents, campaigners and local councillors to oppose this plant and raise this issue in Parliament.

If you would like to get in touch with me about this issue, or any other concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office on Sharon.hodgson.mp@parliament.uk. Please provide your full postal address.

Sunderland Echo Website

ECHO COLUMN: The health and lives of my constituents should not be gambled with

You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website I would like to once again thank voters in Washington and Sunderland West for re-electing me...

On Wednesday 22nd January 2020, Sharon wrote to the Planning Inspectorate and the National Planning Casework Unit, requesting that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government recover the appeal of the planning application.  If accepted, this will give the Secretary of State the final decision on the planning application and I will do all that I can to urge him to reject the planning application.

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Click on the image above to read the letter

 

Read the Government's guide to the planning system here >

Read Sharon's previous work on this here >

 

Sharon writes to Planning Inspectorate requesting that the Secretary of State recovers the appeal for gasification plant in Hillthorn Park

On Wednesday 22nd January 2020, Sharon wrote to the Planning Inspectorate and the National Planning Casework Unit, requesting that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government recover the...

On Tuesday 21 January 2020, Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, presented a petition to Parliament signed by constituents who oppose the building of a gasification plant in Hillthorn Park, Washington.

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Approximately 10,800 people have signed petitions opposing the building of the gasification plant since 2017, with people raising concerns about health and safety, the environment, congestion on roads and the affect on nearby house prices.

The gasification technology that will be used by the plant has not yet been decided by the applicant, causing concern about safety.

The planning application was rejected in July by the Planning and Highways Committee, but has been appealed by the applicant. The appeal will begin on Tuesday 18th February.

Sharon, who also opposes the building of a gasification plant said:

“The planning application for the gasification plant is deeply controversial and has led to many of my constituents writing to me to express their concerns.

“That so many people have signed petitions over the last three years proves just how strongly the people of Washington and Sunderland West oppose the building of this plant.

“I share their concerns and I am also opposed to the building of this plant. That is why I am pleased to present this petition to Parliament today. I will continue to take actions to oppose the building of this plant.”

The petition reads:

“The Petition of residents of Washington and Sunderland West Constituency,

Declares that the petitioners oppose the building of a Gasification Plant in Hillthorn Park, Washington.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to recognise the opposition to the planning application; and calls on the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to reject the planning application 17/02085/MW4.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.”

ENDS

You can watch Sharon's speech on Facebook here or on Twitter here

Sharon presents petition opposing the building of the gasification plant in Hillthorn Park

On Tuesday 21 January 2020, Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, presented a petition to Parliament signed by constituents who oppose the building of a gasification...

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec-Jan 2020 number 123

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Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Dec-Jan 2020 number 123

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec-Jan 2020 number 123

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec-Jan 2020 number 123 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Dec-Jan 2020 number 123 Read more

Following the 2019 General Election result for Washington and Sunderland West constituency, Sharon made the below speech at the count in Silksworth Sports Complex.

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**CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY**

I want to start by thanking voters in Washington and Sunderland West. It is an honour to be re-elected as your Member of Parliament.

Thank you to the Returning Officer, Patrick Melia and the team at Electoral Services, polling station staff and the counting agents, who have done a sterling job working on this snap election in the midst of winter.

Thank you to the police who have kept us all safe whilst we campaign during these turbulent times.

Thank you so much, as always, to my husband, Alan, and my kids Joseph and Emily who support me endlessly. Without your continued love and support I could not do any of this.

To my agent, Sean Laws, my campaign team and the amazing CLP activists and volunteers who have given up so much of their valuable time over the last 6 weeks to help with my campaign, you have been out in all weathers delivering leaflets and speaking to voters: I can’t thank you enough.

Boris Johnson thought that a December election would scupper us, but we are made of sturdy stuff in the North East.

By re-electing three Labour MPs, voters in Sunderland today have shown that they reject the politics of division and if there is a Conservative Majority, as the exit poll is showing, then I will return to Parliament, as soon as it is recalled, as the representative of Washington and Sunderland West to hold the most right-wing Government of our times to account.

Of course, the results aren’t in yet, not everywhere is as quick as Sunderland so we have a long night ahead of us, but I can assure all of my constituents that I will continue to be a trustworthy voice in Parliament that will put them at the forefront of all of my decisions.

I will defend our NHS from further privatisation and from a bad trade deal with the US.

I will call for more funding for our schools and emergency services.

And I will continue to be a voice for the North East, championing our local areas and calling for further investment in the region.

The North East exists all of the time, and not just when the Conservative Party want it to exist during election time.

The North East must be heard and I will do all that I can to ensure that it is in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Thank you.

Sharon's acceptance speech following 2019 General Election

Following the 2019 General Election result for Washington and Sunderland West constituency, Sharon made the below speech at the count in Silksworth Sports Complex. **CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY** I want to...

Sharon Hodgson has today handed over a petition from the Washington and Wearside Against Gasification group to the leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Graeme Miller and written to the Development Management Committee to reiterate her opposition to the planning application.

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Sharon has supported the group whilst an MP and continues to as the Labour Party candidate in the upcoming General Election. Sharon passionately spoke against the planning application at the planning committee hearing in July.

Sharon said, "It is important people realise that, whilst we won the first round, we must be vigilant and prepare for the public enquiry taking place in February."

You can read Sharon's letter by clicking on the image below:

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Sharon writes to Development Management Committee about Gasification Plant planning application

Sharon Hodgson has today handed over a petition from the Washington and Wearside Against Gasification group to the leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Graeme Miller and written to the...

Click on the picture link below to donate to Sharon Hodgson's campaign.

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The link above will take you to the Labour Party's secure donation page.

Unlike the Tory Party, Labour don't have the same access to donations from vast numbers of multi-millionaires.

Labour relies mainly upon small donations from many ordinary people and Trade Union members from across the country.

Any amount will be gratefully received.

Labour is here for the many, not the few.

Donate to Sharon's campaign

Click on the picture link below to donate to Sharon Hodgson's campaign. The link above will take you to the Labour Party's secure donation page.Unlike the Tory Party, Labour don't... Read more

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