MP urges residents to respond to Southend airport consultation

Mark Reckless MP is calling on Rochester and Strood residents to respond to the proposals by London Southend Airport to re-establish controlled airspace around the airport which could result in an increase of low-level flights over Medway.

Mark is particularly concerned for residents living on the Hoo Peninsula and St Mary’s Island who would be most impacted should this large area of controlled-airspace be established. However, potentially all residents living in Medway could see their lives and homes blighted by increased noise and pollution, though to a far lesser degree than if the Thames Estuary Airport went ahead, and Mark is urging everyone to respond to the consultation before the closing date of 13th December 2013.

While the proposal is quite technical and complex, to summarise; Southend Airport is proposing to establish a large area of controlled airspace below the existing London controlled airspace. It would stretch from Rochester to Walton-on-the-Naze and from Maldon to the Isle of Sheppey covering some 2000 sq km:

Southend_ControlledAirspace

Click to enlarge

  • Where the existing controlled airspace has a base of 4,500ft, 5500ft or 8500ft it would be lowered to 3500ft.
  • Where the existing controlled airspace has a base of 3500ft amsl it would be lowered to 2500ft, 1500ft or to the surface depending on the section

Mark is in agreement with The Royal Aero Club of The UK which believes the proposals are unreasonable and contrary to existing airspace principals. It would exclude other airspace users and have significant implications for those living beneath the proposed airspace.

Mark believes aircraft using the airport should be integrated into the existing London controlled airspace which already overlays the whole area and not fly lower than those using Stansted and Heathrow. Southend’s proposal would increase noise and air pollution for local residents, as well as presenting access and potential safety issues for other airspace users such as Rochester Airport and Medway Airsports Club.

Although the consultation document suggests there will be no environmental impact near the airfield and reduced noise exposure further away, this proposal will lower the base of controlled airspace over the whole area enabling substantial numbers of jet aircraft to fly below the existing London Terminal Control Area. The number of jet aircraft flights using London Southend Airport last year was 8,000, but the consultation document proposes to increase this to some 26,000 jet flights by 2020 and the airport already has planning permission to increase the total to 53,300 flights per year. This means that a wide area of Essex and North Kent would be exposed to more disturbance from aircraft noise and pollution than at present, both day and night. Once the controlled airspace is approved there is unlikely to be any means to challenge it effectively.

200241_10150165354751068_5938208_nUrging constituents to respond to the consultation, Mark Reckless said:

“I do not support the establishment of the proposed airspace because of the significant negative impact which it would have on us all. Residents living on the Hoo Peninsula already experience increased noise and pollution due to frequent low-level flights into Southend Airport which we were never consulted on.

At a time when we are fighting off proposals for a Thames Estuary Airport, I am concerned that residents now have the threat of increased low-level flights into Southend Airport and all the concerns which that will bring, albeit on a lesser scale. However, many of the same concerns regarding the Estuary Airport – noise, pollution, increased danger of bird strike – apply equally to flights into Southend which may come in low over the North Kent Marshes.

I am asking all concerned residents to make sure they respond to the consultation by writing directly to London Southend Airport.”

Responses can be made to the e-mail address lsacas@stobartair.com or in writing to:

Ms Sam Petrie
Airport Development Coordinator
London Southend Airport
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS2 6YF

Please indicate clearly that this is a RESPONSE to the consultation in the subject heading. The consultation closes on 13th December 2013.

View Consultation Document with information on how to respond – Click Here

Future Airspace Strategy – Click Here

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BLOG: Nick Clegg in Paternity Battle

nick_cleggIt will be enormously welcome if George Osborne ends overseas residents’ exemption from capital gains tax in the Autumn Statement. It is, however, preposterous to describe this as “Mr Clegg’s plan” as the Daily Telegraph does on its front page today.

I first publicly pressed the issue of this disgraceful tax loophole left by Labour two years ago, and had the Today programme pick it up and interview me on it. This interview was heard by the Prime Minister, who later that morning highlighted the case I had made at a meeting of the Conservative Parliamentary party.

I followed up again at PMQs last month and I know that in the intervening period Treasury officials have been working to iron out some of the technical difficulties involved in applying capital gains tax to non-residents.

Success has many parents, and of course Nick Clegg claims to have sown his oats widely, but his paternity claim here is simply false. Indeed, one reason I have continued to campaign on this issue is that I thought I might be pushing on an open door, because it is something I have discussed with George Osborne long before the last election and formation of the Coalition.

Clegg claiming credit for others’ work to close tax loopholes now rather reminds me of his performance this time last year on the EU Budget.

While I was garnering support from enough MPs to vote a motion through Parliament to cut the EU Budget, Nick Clegg opined that there was “absolutely no prospect” of a cut in the EU Budget. When the Prime Minister successfully followed through and cut the EU Budget Nick Clegg then claimed this reflected his personal diplomacy and EU network.

Can we believe anything this man says?

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MP welcomes continued fall in unemployment in Rochester and Strood

200241_10150165354751068_5938208_nMark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, has welcomed Office for National Statistics figures which show that unemployment in Rochester and Strood has continued to fall in line with the national trend.

The most recent figures show that the percentage of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance has fallen to 3.5%, down from 4.5% when Mark was elected in May 2010. It is the eighth consecutive month in a row where we have seen a fall in unemployment in Rochester and Strood this year and the first time that the claimant count has fallen below 2,000 since the general election (currently 1,917).

Mark, who opened last month’s Medway Jobs Fair alongside his colleague Tracey Crouch, also welcomed the continuing fall in youth unemployment in the constituency, down from 6.9% in May 2010 to 5.3% which means that there are now 180 more young people in work or training since Mark was elected.

Speaking of the latest ONS data, Mark said:

“It is great news that unemployment continues to fall in Rochester and Strood, in line with the national trend. Unemployment has been falling consistently in recent months and is now a full one percent lower than it was in May 2010 under the last Government.

I am also delighted that youth unemployment in the constituency has fallen by 1.6% to 5.3%, which compares favourably to the national average of 5.6%. I would like to thank everyone at Jobcentre Plus, Medway Council and all of the other local organisations who are working hard to get people off welfare and into training or work.

The most important thing for me is to ensure that my constituents feel the full benefit of the economic recovery, and this fall in unemployment is welcome. There is, however, always more to do and I will continue to work as hard as I possibly can to ensure that we finish the job which we have begun.”

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Welcoming our new baby

Reckless_Family_13Nov2013

I am proud to say that at 12.34pm on Monday 11th November my wife Catriona gave birth to Toby Edward Reckless. He is our second son and a little brother for Jamie.

Toby weighed in at eight pounds five ounces and both mother and baby are doing well. Thank you for all the kind wishes.

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Rochester Santa Fun Run 2013

IMG_6002_edited-1On Saturday 23rd November Rochester plays host to our now annual ‘Santa Run’. Each year in the run-up to Christmas several hundred people, and hopefully next year if not this thousands, hire Santa Claus outfits and ‘parade’ through Rochester High Street and the Castle gardens and area.

Some run and some walk the relatively short route, but all have great fun, and it is just £10. It is an extraordinary sight to see so many people of both genders, from Medway and from further afield, and of all ages kitted out in red and white with fluffy white beards.

As well as bringing increasing publicity and trade to Rochester – the following weekend is the Rochester Christmas Fair – the Santa run raises money for the Medway Rotary charities.

To sign up or for further information, visit the Santa Fun Run website – Click Here

From The Website:

Entering this year’s event couldn’t be easier, just complete our simple online application form for you, your family and your friends. The entry fee is just £10 per Adult and just £7.50 per child (under 12 years). If there’s 4 or more of you the entry fee is reduced further to just £7.50 per person. The entry fee includes your own Santa Suit of Hat, Beard, Jacket, Belt and Trousers, and when you register online we’ll deliver your santa suit to your front door. So get your family and friends together, register today, join in the Fun and support Medway Rotary’s Childrens Hospice Holidays.

In addition to the Fun Run you can try your hand at Archery and get in the spirit with a warming Mulled Wine, all available in the Rochester Castle Moat from 12pm. Then, at 1.45pm The Right Step Dance Company will lead a fun musical warm-up. This really is a sight to behold, 500+ Santas stretching and dancing to hits old and new.

At 2pm all Santas will parade from the Castle Moat, through the High Street, to the starting line, near Star Hill. At the start line the more athletic Santas will be invited to the front for a leisurely run, while the more casual santas bring up the rear as they dance, stroll, amble and meander the Fun Run course. The course itself takes in the full length of the High Street, turns left at the Crown Freehouse, then turns left again into Castle Hill and finishes back at the Castle Moat.

All Santas completing the course will receive a commemorative medal and everyone taking part is invited back to the Crown Freehouse for a FREE buffet.

To take part in this year’s Fun Run simply complete the online application form adding the relevant fee, and we’ll deliver your Santa Suit to your front door.

Come on get into the Christmas spirit early, join the Santa Charity Fun Run to help support our worthy Rotary Childrens Hospice Holidays charity and enjoy a fun family day out.

All Proceeds go to Rotary Childrens Hospice Holidays charity.

Click here to SIGN UP NOW!

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VIDEO: Backing the Bill for an EU referendum

I’m delighted to be supporting James Wharton’s EU Referendum Bill which will be debated later today in Parliament.

It’s a Bill to give people the first say on Europe since 1975. A referendum to decide once and for all – in or out? Do we want to be part of a closer union in Europe forever more, or do we want to be an independent country, trading with Europe but governing ourselves?

For more information and to show your support for the I Support A Referendum campaign – Click Here

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Parliamentarian of the Year awards

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Mark Reckless was honoured today when he, along with 14 other Members of Parliament, was awarded the title of joint ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ in The Spectator’s 27th Parliamentarian of the Year Awards.

In a break from tradition, the title this year was awarded jointly to the 15 MPs, described by The Spectator as ‘The Glorious 15’, who went through the ‘No’ lobby in principled and historic opposition to state regulation of our press.

The 15 MPs are:

  1. Richard Bacon
  2. Christopher Chope
  3. Tracey Crouch
  4. Nick de Bois
  5. Philip Davies
  6. Richard Drax
  7. Nigel Mills
  8. Andrew Percy
  9. Mark Reckless
  10. John Redwood
  11. Jacob Rees-Mogg
  12. Andrew Turner
  13. Martin Vickers
  14. Charles Walker
  15. Sarah Wollaston

Mark believes that a free democracy requires a free press to hold politicians to account. This is why Mark voted against statutory underpinning of press regulation and exemplary damages to punish anyone who does not comply, believing that it is better to have a free but flawed press rather than a press which is at the mercy of errant celebrities and their political cronies.

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VIDEO: MP renews call for tax loophole closure

Mark Reckless, Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood, took the opportunity during today’s Prime Minister’s Questions to renew his call to end the capital gains tax exemption on property for non-residents.

Speaking after PMQs, Mark said:

“Why should foreigners be able to continue buying and re-selling investment properties in central London, extracting perhaps tens of millions profit, without paying capital gains tax, when UK residents are taxed on capital gains?”

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Mark Reckless MP: Website Survey

In order to ensure Mark Reckless MP continues to deliver the very best access to his local constituents in Rochester and Strood, we are conducting a short online survey regarding Mark’s website and we would really appreciate your response. If you would like to help us with this short survey, please click here:

Mark Reckless website survey – Click Here

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Vote to cut green energy costs today

Today the House of Commons votes (in a deferred division between 11.30am and 2pm) on whether to restrict funding to the Green Investment Bank following the Prime Minister’s statement a week ago that we “need to roll back the green charges”.

In Committee on Monday a majority of Conservative backbenchers selected by the whips to consider next steps for the Green Investment Bank voted to restrict its funding. We did this by voting ‘No’ to a ‘Designation’ Order proposed by Vince Cable for the Green Investment Bank to receive government financial assistance.

The minister updated the Committee that “The bank has so far made commitments totalling £714 million into green projects, including projects in each of its four principal priority areas, which are offshore wind, energy efficiency, waste recycling and waste to energy” and that it had previously been proposed “that it will have a total of £3.8 billion of funding for the period to March 2016”.

Bizarrely we learnt that, rather than just being added to electricity bills, £775 million of funding for the Green Investment Bank was to come from track access charges paid by Kent commuters and Eurostar passengers using HS1. We were also concerned to learn that the Bank would have its HQ in Edinburgh but its ‘major transaction team’ would be based in London, similar to the RBS model.

Today’s vote on whether to support this bank financially is unusual since, while Parliament scrutinises tax decisions closely, it usually has little say on spending decisions, with government ‘Estimates’ usually going through without debate and on the nod.

Because of the way the Green Investment Bank is structured, a separate vote in Parliament is needed on whether to ‘Designate’ the Bank for the government to give it financial assistance through what the minister described as “a bespoke power to fund”.

Whether the Liberal Democrats like it or not a ‘No’ vote in the deferred division today could roll back the green levies to get bills down for our constituents

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