As we steam out of September and into October, there have been a number of items that I have been pleased to be able to raise as I joined my parliamentary colleagues in Parliament following a typically busy summer recess in the constituency.
I have always looked to champion the rural community. The agricultural industry is the UK’s largest employer, and it is vital that the very people that protect the outside spaces that we all so enjoy, and grow the food that we later put onto our table are properly protected.
It is therefore hugely regrettable that there is one threat effecting farmers across the country - particularly within my constituency - which isn’t currently being adequately managed, and that is the spread of Bovine TB.
During a recent debate in Westminster Hall, I looked to highlight what I feel would work best for my constituents and farmers across Sussex, putting forward the argument for the County to become a trial area for vaccination.
I recognise that East Sussex contains both High Risk Areas and Edge Areas, and therefore argued that such a move would make a significant difference to my farmers, particularly those within the ‘Edge Area’.
My plans for a vaccination programme within East Sussex have received support from local farmers, the NFU, trained volunteers and the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and although I acknowledge that due to an international shortage the vaccine is currently unavailable, have requested that talks to move such an opportunity forward resume immediately after the vaccine goes back on stream for such projects.
Not only does the culling of cattle due to Bovine TB bring misery to farmers but it also has a direct knock on effect on the public purse. I strongly dismiss that carrying out a vaccination programme across East Sussex isn’t cost effective, and will continue to make the case to the Government wherever, and whenever possible.