Sam's Snapshot

25 NOV 2014

Supporting National Tree Planting Week at Lingfield Nature Reserve

On Sunday I was at Lingfield Nature Reserve to join with volunteers planting new trees as part of National Tree Planting Week.

Preserving our natural heritage is one of the most important legacies we will leave for the next generation. It is a real credit to Lingfield Parish Council that two decades ago they had the foresight to acquire this land for the benefit of the whole community.

The nature reserve has become home to an increasing variety of wildlife in recent years, and these trees will have an important role to play in further enhancing this diversity. I would like congratulate everyone involved in this fantastic project.

24 NOV 2014

St Catherine's Hospice Santa Fun Run

I was delighted to be in Caterham on Sunday to kick off this year's Santa Fun Run.

This is a fantastic annual event which is not only a lot of fun for everyone involved, but an important fundraiser for an excellent local charity. St Catherine's Hospice makes an invaluable contribution within our community, providing specialised end of life care and support to local people, their families, friends and carers. For more information on the work of the hospice, including how to donate, visit

My congratulations to all the runners who took part.

21 NOV 2014

Pupils must be free to speak out on mental health issues, without fear: my speech on our schools-based strategy to improve children's mental health services

Click here to read my comments at the Children and Young People Now awards, in which I discuss my vision for the future of children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

19 NOV 2014

Protecting the green belt in Bletchingley

Residents in Bletchingley are rightly very concerned by an application to convert land on Warwick Wold Road for use as a traveller site. This is green belt land that sits within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The Government's planning guidance is clear that unmet housing need (including for traveller sites) is not sufficient reason to justify greenbelt development in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. This is not the case here, which is why it would be unacceptable for the application to progress further. The application is being considered by the planning committee tonight, and I would urge members of the committee to reject the proposal.

Tandridge District Council's recommendation for approval is being made with reference to a decision at Burstow. As I understand it there are important differences between the two cases, with the Burstow application relating to land that had previously been developed. I have therefore written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to request clarification that this precedent would not be sufficient to justify development in this case.

13 NOV 2014

Aircraft Noise: Gatwick needs to think again on P-RNAV

Residents have now experienced months of misery due to increased aviation noise, as a result of the introduction of the Precision Area Navigation System (P-RNAV) for aircraft at Gatwick. Enough is enough; Gatwick must think again over the impact this policy is having.

P-RNAV allows planes to fly with increased accuracy in and out of Gatwick, and has been mandatory for all aircraft at the airport since May of this year. Designed to maximise runway use at Gatwick, the effect has been to concentrate aircraft along a much narrower 250-500m corridor of airspace over Felbridge, Lingfield and Dormansland.

Clearly, residents were not made aware of this impact at the time of Gatwick's consultation in 2012, which is unacceptable. However, the consultation did state that traffic could be reverted to the conventional flight paths if the change had a sufficiently detrimental effect. I believe that the present circumstances are sufficient to justify this step, or at the very least for alternative actions to be taken to mitigate the unbearable impact this change has had for my constituents. I have written to Gatwick to make this case, and I hope that these concerns will receive the full and serious consideration that they deserve.

13 NOV 2014

Childcare: our moral mission

Yesterday I spoke at the Nursery World Business Summit, to talk about the role of innovation within the sector and our moral mission to give the next generation the best possible start in life. You can read the speech here:

10 NOV 2014

Horley town centre needs free parking

Free parking is a simple idea that could make a big difference to businesses in Horley. When people don't have to worry about watching the clock to move their cars, they take longer and visit more shops than they otherwise would, helping local firms and revitalising the town centre.

Saturday 6th December is Small Business Saturday, a national campaign to encourage people to support local businesses in the community, so it would be the perfect opportunity for the council to introduce free parking. This is not just about the run-up to Christmas: we need free parking in Horley full stop, as part of a long-term strategy to support firms in the town and boost our local economy.

07 NOV 2014

Sam Direct in South Nutfield

On Friday I was at the Christ Church Hall in South Nutfield, for the latest 'Sam Direct' – an informal opportunity for residents to come along and ask questions of me as your local MP. The event was well attended with around 60 people from South Nutfield, Bletchingley and Outwood. There were some excellent questions, covering local issues such as planning and HGV traffic on our roads, as well as topics of national interest including wage growth and what the Government is doing to support businesses.

I would like to thank Mark Chabrel for helping to organise the event, as well as everyone who came along to take part.

31 OCT 2014

Giving children the best start in life: speech at Policy Exchange

Last week I gave a speech to the think-tank Policy Exchange in my capacity as Minister for Childcare and Education, in which I outlined some of my thoughts on how we give children the best start in life. You can read the speech here:

24 OCT 2014

Protecting yourself from fraud: new advice published

Earlier this year, after I was approached by constituents hit by a vishing scam, I called for a new, industry-wide public information campaign, to improve awareness of the latest scams and what customers can do to avoid them.

Having met with the British Bankers Association to discuss the issue, I am delighted that the Know Fraud, No Fraud public information campaign has now been launched.

You can read the BBA's advice here. I would encourage everyone to read this information carefully, and share it with family and friends to reduce the risk of falling victim to these pernicious scams.

See older posts (303 more)Loading...

See all posts (313)