Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

Sharon in and around Washington and Sunderland West - some highlights

You can read Sharon's Echo Column on the Sunderland Echo website or below.

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Many of you will be rightly concerned about the outbreak of Covid-19.

First and foremost, my thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have sadly died and with those who have contracted the virus.

As always, the NHS workforce has demonstrated its determination to provide the best possible care at such a difficult time. I pay tribute to all health staff, as well as the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor who have shown exceptional leadership throughout this outbreak.

Public health and safety must be the priority and I believe that the Government are taking necessary steps, based on scientific and medical advice, to contain and delay the spreading of the virus.

As worrying as Covid-19 is, what it has highlighted is the inequalities in our society.

People working in the gig economy, on zero hour contracts or in insecure work, are in a difficult position if they’re told to self-isolate: do they follow the advice, and lose out on the wages they need to make ends meet, or do they ignore the advice and potentially contribute to the spreading of the virus?

No one should have to make the decision between their health and hardship, yet 2 million workers in the UK are ineligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The Prime Minister announced that the three-day wait for SSP would be scrapped for patients with Covid-19, but the Government has not yet brought anything forward on this.

Even so, trying to live on £94.25 a week, which is about a quarter of the national minimum wage, or having to wait 5 weeks for Universal Credit, will only exacerbate the existing inequalities, and could vastly compromise the nation’s attempts to contain the virus if people choose to work, instead of self-isolating, due to the need to pay their bills and eat.

The Government’s inaction to improve these inequalities in our society will not only continue to hurt the poorest and most vulnerable; in turn, the rest of society will also suffer.

If this outbreak teaches us anything, it should be to tackle inequalities across our society and bridge the gap between the least and most well-off.

If you or your family are concerned that you have Covid-19, then please do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 and speak to someone. NHS 111 also has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. Use this service if you think you might have coronavirus if; in the last 14 days you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus or you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.

Sunderland Echo website >

ECHO COLUMN: Covid-19 has highlighted the inequalities in our society

You can read Sharon's Echo Column on the Sunderland Echo website or below. Many of you will be rightly concerned about the outbreak of Covid-19. First and foremost, my thoughts...

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2020 number 125

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Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2020 number 125

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2020 number 125

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2020 number 125   Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2020 number 125 Read more

Sharon Hodgson MP encourages constituents to prepare for power cuts by registering with Northern Powergrid’s Priority Services Register

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Image copyright Northern Powergrid, 2020.

Sharon encourages vulnerable constituents to prepare for power cuts

Sharon Hodgson MP encourages constituents to prepare for power cuts by registering with Northern Powergrid’s Priority Services Register Image copyright Northern Powergrid, 2020. Read more

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, is to hold a public meeting on Saturday 7th March on noise and air pollution.

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The meeting, which is part of Sharon’s series of public meetings, will be held at the Oxclose and District Young People’s Project, Dunlin Drive, Ayton, Washington NE38 0EB on Saturday 7 March, 2020 at 1.30pm – 3pm.

The meeting is open to all constituents, but will focus on the noise and air pollution from the A1(M) and problems with litter on highway verges and slip roads and the impact this has on the area and the wider environment. There will be time for other issues to be discussed too.  

If you, your family or friends are able to attend the meeting, then please do email [email protected]

If constituents have a specific issue they would like future meetings to focus on, then please do email my office.

ENDS

Sharon to hold public meeting on noise and air pollution

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, is to hold a public meeting on Saturday 7th March on noise and air pollution. The meeting, which is part... Read more

On Wednesday 26th February, Sharon received a response from the Government to the petition she presented on 21st January about the gasification plant at Hillthorn Park. 

Petition

You can read Sharon's speech and petition here >

You can read the Government response below:

Observations from Minister for Housing (Christopher Pincher):

The application referred to is now the subject of a planning appeal to the Secretary of State. The appeal inquiry opened on 18th February 2020 and it was attended by approximately 250 people. Before any evidence was heard, the main parties submitted an application to the Inspector to adjourn the inquiry to allow time for confidential commercial negotiations to take place the outcome of which was expected to be the withdrawal of the appeal. The request was endorsed by all objectors and by the MP who was present. The Inspector found the application represented exceptional circumstances and agreed to the request. The inquiry will resume on 18th June 2020 if the negotiations falter and the appeal is not withdrawn before then.

The Planning Inspectorate has received a request from Sharon Hodgson MP that the appeal be recovered by the Secretary of State on the grounds that it conflicts with national policies on important matters and raises significant questions regarding the interpretation of those policies for RDF-based gasification plants. The Secretary of State will consider and respond to this request as soon as possible.

Whilst the Government recognises the opposition to the planning application/appeal, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the eventual decision as to do so could prejudice the Inspector’s, or Secretary of State’s (if the appeal were to be recovered), consideration of the appeal prior to having heard and then considered all the evidence, both for and against the proposal.

You can read Sharon's work on this issue here

Government responds to petition on Gasification Plant

On Wednesday 26th February, Sharon received a response from the Government to the petition she presented on 21st January about the gasification plant at Hillthorn Park.  You can read Sharon's...

The Planning Inspector ruled today (18th February 2020) at the Stadium of Light, that the appeal inquiry for a gasification plant to be built in Hillthorn Park has been adjourned until June.

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Sharon Hodgson MP, who opposes the building of a gasification plant, said at the appeal inquiry:

"This is great news for my constituents who do not want this gasification plant built.

"Over the last three years, constituents have contacted me over concerns about public health, climate change, road congestion and the impact on the local landscape.

"That is why I was pleased to support the calls for an adjournment as this could lead to our ultimate goal: no gasification plant being built at Hillthorn Park. However, any deal that is made must be transparent and put in the public domain for scrutiny.

"This would not have happened today without the community spirit and determination from residents, campaigners and Councillors. The little people have stood up to the big guys and won. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the campaign to oppose the building of a gasification plant in Washington."

ENDS

You can read Sharon's work on this issue here > Sharon Hodgson MP - Rolton Kilbride, Washington planning appeal

Update on the gasification plant appeal inquiry

The Planning Inspector ruled today (18th February 2020) at the Stadium of Light, that the appeal inquiry for a gasification plant to be built in Hillthorn Park has been adjourned...

The appeal for a planning application for a gasification plant to be built at Hillthorn Park, Washington begins on Tuesday 18th February at 10am at the Stadium of Light, Montgomery Suite.  It will continue for 8 days, with an evening meeting on Monday 24th February.

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Sharon opposes the planning application and will be speaking at the appeal meeting on Tuesday 18th February to set out the concerns of her constituents.

We need to show the Planning Inspector that the people of Washington and Sunderland West do not want this gasification plant.

Crowds will therefore be gathering from 9:30am on Tuesday 18th February at the main car park (Red Car Park) at the Stadium of Light to rally against the planning application.

If you are able to come and show your opposition, please do so.  The more people the better.

You can read Sharon’s work on this issue here.

Gasification Plant Appeal and Protest

The appeal for a planning application for a gasification plant to be built at Hillthorn Park, Washington begins on Tuesday 18th February at 10am at the Stadium of Light, Montgomery...

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

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A planning application for a waste gasification plant to be built at Hillthorn Park in Washington has been ongoing for almost three years.

Local residents, campaigners, Cross-Party Councillors and I oppose the building of this plant and have been relentless in our campaigning against the planning application.

Last July, the application was rejected by local Councillors on the Planning and Highways Committee. But our journey did not stop there.

The applicants, Rolton Kilbride, have appealed that decision which will now be heard by the Planning Inspectorate in an 8-day inquiry starting next week, on Tuesday 18th February at the Stadium of Light.

Campaigners and I will be at the appeal hearing, to show our intense opposition to the planning application.

Last week, I held a public meeting in Washington to speak to residents about the application and listen to their concerns.

Over 100 people attended and shared their worries with me including public health issues, climate change challenges, the impact on our local landscape and house prices.

I have raised these issues several times in Parliament, most recently this week in a Westminster Hall debate and directly to the Prime Minister during Prime Minister’s Question Time.

In my 15 years as an MP, no issue has galvanised so many people in opposition to an issue like this; approximately 10,800 people have signed petitions opposing the gasification plant and I have been contacted by hundreds of constituents about it.

What this campaign has shown me is that there is power in our people working together.

I do not know what the Planning Inspector will decide following the appeal hearing; they are not elected or political and as an MP I do not have any further influence over them than anyone else.

But what I do know is that when we all come together united in one mission, we can succeed in building a people-powered campaign that demonstrates the community spirit and determination of our local area.

We are united in opposing this proposed gasification plant and I will continue to do all that I can to represent my constituents on this issue.

I will be holding a public meeting throughout my constituency each month covering various issues. For more information, please visit my website: http://www.sharonhodgson.org/tags/public_meeting or contact my office: [email protected]

Sunderland Echo website

ECHO COLUMN: There's power in our people working together

You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website A planning application for a waste gasification plant to be built at Hillthorn Park in Washington...

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Jan-Feb 2020 number 124

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Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Jan-Feb 2020 number 124

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Jan-Feb 2020 number 124 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report Read more

The below information has been provided by UKWIN (UK Without Incineration Network) ahead of Sharon's Westminster Hall debate on waste incineration facilities on Tuesday 11th February.

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- https://ukwin.org.uk/oppose-incineration/ - UKWIN's arguments against incineration

- https://ukwin.org.uk/facts/ - Recent incineration-related statistics, including how in Wales 74.5% of residual C&I waste was potentially recyclable (and in many areas across the UK more than half of what is in the residual municipal waste stream is recyclable), indicating we need to be investing in education and better recycling services rather than yet more incineration capacity

- https://ukwin.org.uk/quotes/ - Quotes about incineration, including from EFRACOM, the Government and the National Infrastructure Commission

https://ukwin.org.uk/2020/01/30/mps-use-westminster-hall-debate-to-raise-concerns-about-incineration/ - UKWIN's account of what was said at the Westminster Hall debate on commercial & industrial waste on 28th January 2020

As before, you should be able to watch the debates live via https://parliamentlive.tv/ and UKWIN will post an account of the debate once the official transcript has been released.

You can read Sharon's work on opposing the gasification plant at Hillthorn Park here.

Constituents are invited to join Sharon on Saturday 8th February at The Hopespring Centre, NE37 3BD, between 10:30-12:30, to discuss the planning application.  More details are available here.

Arguments against the gasification plant and getting involved

The below information has been provided by UKWIN (UK Without Incineration Network) ahead of Sharon's Westminster Hall debate on waste incineration facilities on Tuesday 11th February. - https://ukwin.org.uk/oppose-incineration/ - UKWIN's arguments against... Read more

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