Weekly Column 05.09.18

After working in Staffordshire Moorlands over the Summer recess, it’s back to Westminster this week with Northern Ireland Orals on Wednesday where you will see me at the Despatch Box taking questions. 

I have been honoured to be able to attend many fantastic events over recess such as Club Day, the Biddulph Festival and the Leek Show just to mention a few. I was pleased to open the Country Tool Store in the Buttermarket, visit the new Coca-Cola recycling initiative at Alton Towers as well as meet the Management team there and go on the new Wicker Man ride.

We have sadly had the devastating Moorlands fires and in particular the one up at the Roaches that was started by a camp fire and quickly got out of control due to the extremely dry conditions and strong winds. So it was with a heavy heart that I met Julian Woolford, CEO of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Roaches Warden Jon Rowe last week up at the Roaches.

There are approximately 250 acres of damage on the Roaches Estate and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue are still monitoring areas where hot spots are present which makes certain locations of the site not safe to visit. These hot spots are areas where the fire is still alight and goes right down under the peat. It is estimated that it will take over 5 years to bring the land back to a healthy state and there have been changes in wildlife, with grouse being displaced and being seen in areas where they wouldn’t normally be.

Staffordshire Wildlife and I would like to thank to all the fire and rescue staff, wardens and especially volunteers who have pulled together to carry out this important work. Roads to the Roaches are now open although entry to the Roaches site may be restricted.