I hope everyone had a restful Easter. It was certainly good weather for a change and there were lots of events across Hertford and Ware for everyone to enjoy regardless of their faith or beliefs.
Parliament has been in recess for a couple of weeks which allowed me a few days’ rest, then a trip to Washington DC with some fellow MPs and then some constituency visits.
One visit was to the East Herts Black Parents Assembly (EHBPA) where I met with members Abdul Momoh and Nii Thompson, and the Sawbridgeworth Town Clerk, Chris Hunt.
The meeting was a chance for me to introduce myself to EHBPA and help support the group in its work and in growing its network of members across East Herts.
The aim of the assembly is to create positive social space for black and biracial families. The group meets to discuss action on EHBPA priorities that include education, policy, planning and local services.
Chris Hunt and the Sawbridgeworth Town Mayor, councillor Greg Rattey, are also developing a partnership engagement event for the community later this year which will be supported by both myself and EHBPA members. I am looking forward to it.
There was more good rail news for local passengers as work to extend platforms at Hertford East and Ware stations started this month.
The project is being undertaken to allow the stations to accommodate Greater Anglia’s new ten-carriage electric commuter trains.
There has been some disruption to services from the stations as a result of the improvements but I think most people will think it is well worth it.
More work is expected to take place this summer and the longer platforms are expected to be ready for use this autumn.
Earlier this month the Government announced its British Energy Security Strategy to ensure we can meet our long-term energy needs.
Over the decades we have imported energy in the shape of electricity from the continent or supplies of oil and gas from across the globe but the rise in energy prices, due to a post-Covid spike in global demand and the war in Ukraine, has made ministers come up with a plan to ensure our energy security.
The strategy lays out medium to long-term proposals to give the country energy security through a variety of ways and using different forms of power generation.
New nuclear power stations will be built to give us carbon free high-density power but major investment will also be made in renewables like offshore wind and solar plus the development of hydrogen.
In the meantime, licences to extract gas from the North Sea will be given as we transition to cleaner energy and fuels.
This will give all areas of the UK, including Hertford and Ware, opportunities to be part of this strategy either as locations for green energy or through supply chain opportunities.
We need a good, reliable and clean energy mix if we are to continue to power our homes, industry and the new generation of electric vehicles coming online.