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Volume 531: debated on Monday 18 July 2011

Future of the British Train Building Industry

Mr Speaker, you will probably be aware from press reports that the British train building industry hangs in the balance because of a Government proposal to build trains in Germany for the Thameslink rolling stock programme, rather than at Bombardier in Derby. Feeling in the city is running extremely high. I have secured more than 50,000 signatures for the petition, calling on the Government to look again at the proposal to award the contract to Siemens in Germany, not least because the Prime Minister visited Derby only three and a half months ago and said that he was committed to rebalancing the economy in favour of the manufacturing industry. The citizens of Derby are hoping that he and the Government will take the same course of action that we saw in 1971 when Rolls-Royce went bust and the Government at the time did the right thing.

The petition states:

The Petition of citizens of the United Kingdom,

Declares that they are concerned about the future of the British train building industry. Their concern is a consequence of the decision to appoint Siemens as the preferred bidder for the new fleet of trains for the Thameslink Programme. The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Transport to reverse this decision.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Consultation on Electricity Transmission in Somerset

I rise to present a petition from the residents of Wells and others who are concerned about the standard of National Grid’s consultation relating to 152-feet high pylons that are proposed to go across the Somerset levels, which would spoil beyond belief the Somerset countryside and damage incredibly the tourism on which most of Somerset is dependent. The people of Wells and others have asked that National Grid consider a choice of various forms so that they can see the cost and other factors that are involved in using alternatives to pylons and overhead lines—in particular, that it should consider undergrounding using an under-sea route through the Bristol channel or a version alongside the M5 corridor. The petition includes the signatures of over 1,500 residents of Wells and the surrounding area.

The petition states:

The Petition of residents of Wells and others,

Declares that the Petitioners believe National Grid’s consultation on proposals to erect 152 ft high pylons is flawed; that the proposal would blight the beautiful unspoiled Somerset countryside; and further declares that the Petitioners accept that electricity transmission is essential but the Petitioners are concerned that National Grid is offering consultees a choice between two unacceptable routes, chosen by National Grid solely on the basis of cost, to the exclusion of other viable options such as undergrounding, under the Bristol Channel or along the M5 corridor.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take all possible steps to encourage National Grid to stop the current consultation into electricity transmission in Somerset and consider other viable options.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Licensing of Mobile Home Parks

I wish to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Palma park homes in Loughborough that has been signed by 284 people. The House will be aware of concerns that have been expressed by Members of Parliament in all parts of the House about the way in which many park homes are managed. Such homes are often occupied by older and more vulnerable people. In Loughborough—I know that this experience is shared in park homes across the country—there are high maintenance and management charges and difficulties in selling these homes. At Palma park we have also recently had alleged incidents of violence between the former owner and the current owner of the park.

The petition states:

The Petition of the residents of Palma Park Homes, Loughborough, Leicestershire

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned about the standards of conduct exhibited by the owner of Palma Park Homes.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to introduce a fair, clear and simple licensing system for those owning mobile home parks, so that licence holders must show that they are fit and proper persons to hold such a licence, and that any regulations or legislation should set out how a licence may be revoked if a licence holder is found by the local authority to no longer meet the fit and proper criteria.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.