There have been a number of occasions lately where the local MPs have been working together to try to resolve common issues for the betterment of all of us.
Most recently, St Albans MP Anne Main and I have been angry at the news that Watford General Hospital’s accident and emergency department has been so overwhelmed that patients have been shipped across the county, in some cases as far as Stevenage.
Both Anne and I campaigned to preserve the A&E facilities at Hemel Hempstead and we both saw the previous government downgrade our local hospitals in order to shore up Watford.
We have consistently argued that the overstretched and badly located A&E department at Watford would not be able to cope with the extra demand.
It is time to plan for a new and better-located general hospital in this part of the county and I am delighted that Anne has agreed to join me in calling for a review of the provision of acute health services in this area.
In the meantime, I will meet with West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust management to see if I can better understand the causes of the immediate problems affecting our A&E and see if there is any way I can help ease them.
In turn, I have been supporting Anne’s campaign to halt the construction of a massive freight terminal which is proposed for the Radlett Aerodrome site.
It is clear to me from recent meetings with local hauliers that such a huge development would have a detrimental impact on our local area.
The concentration of such a massive freight infrastructure at Radlett would attract the larger players in the industry to that location and cause our existing local haulage companies to suffer as a result.
I worry that this could hinder our position as a strategic location for the haulage industry.
We have done a lot of work locally to recover from the devastation caused by the Buncefield disaster back in 2005, but it would be another major setback to that progress if these proposals were to get the go ahead.
A third area where Anne and I have been working together is in our attempts to preserve the Green Belt.
Both Dacorum and St Albans District are under pressure to find new housing and both are finding themselves forced to consider encroaching on to highly valued quality Green Belt areas.
I believe, and Anne agrees with me, that a good place to develop would be that land which lies between Hemel Hempstead and the M1 motorway.
This land is technically in the St Albans district so all new housing built here would count towards their ‘quota’ but the new development would ‘feel’ part of Hemel Hempstead as the land joins Hemel’s urban area.
I believe that we could create a special arrangement between Dacorum and St Albans that meets both our needs.
While I would prefer that no local amenities were threatened, this option would, in the opinion of many, be far preferable to some of the alternative Green Belt areas threatened by infill development around Warners End, Fields End and Potten End.
Mike Penning is the Conservative MP for Hemel Hemp[stead. You can contact his office on 01442 251126 or through his website at www.mikepenning.com