A monthly column by West Dorset MP Chris Loder
WITH Storm Jorge still working its way across West Dorset, I dropped by to visit Nick Marks, lifeboat operations manager, and some of the crew at Lyme Regis RNLI Lifeboat Station on the Cobb.
You may have seen the crew’s recent appearance on the BBC’s ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ series, with rescue footage shot using cameras attached to their own safety helmets.
It was good to sit down with the team to learn more about how they work in tough emergency situations and to thank them for being there for our communities, and visitors to the area, in all weathers.
Special thanks to crew member Nikky Williams who showed me the ropes onboard the station’s B Class inshore lifeboat – while it was still on dry land I’m pleased to say!
She explained the lifesaving technology the crew relies on, not only on the boat but also carried in their suits and life jackets; a huge amount of kit which crew members only have 90 seconds to climb into during an emergency shout!
In other news, during the second reading of the Environment Bill last week I had an opportunity to speak to the House and used this time to raise various local issues. I spoke of our farmers and their stewardship of the countryside, of plastics and my challenge to ban plastic milk containers (more of that soon), but especially of our air quality in West Dorset.
It surprises some, but won’t surprise residents along the A35, that Chideock, set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is especially subject to air pollution. The A35 runs directly through it; therefore the air is polluted with harmful exhaust fumes from vehicles, made worse by the problem of traffic congestion.
I am actively lobbying government to make air quality a much higher priority, to ensure the wellbeing of all residents in villages such as Chideock and to protect our communities from harmful exhaust fumes.
I also plan to re-start the A35 Steering Group; inviting local council, parish and highways representatives to join me in improving air quality, addressing traffic flow issues and drawing up diversion contingency plans.
You can read my speech during the Environment Bill in full, or watch the video link via my website at www.chrisloder.co.uk