Holly Lynch MP

Working hard for the people of Halifax, Illingworth & Mixenden, Town, Ovenden, Park, Skircoat, Northowram & Shelf, Sowerby Bridge and Warley

News

Labour MP Holly Lynch and local councillors have expressed their deep concern at ‘shocking’ new crime statistics for the Sowerby Bridge area. 

The latest statistics for the ward, released by West Yorkshire Police this week, show a rise in overall crime of over a third year on year.

Anti-social behaviour has increased by almost 60% and theft from motor vehicles is up by a staggering 162%. A total of 769 crimes have been recorded in the area in the year to date compared to 571 last year.

Sowerby Bridge Councillor Dot Foster said:

“These statistics are truly shocking and show exactly why our police need more resources.

“It has been clear for some time that problems such anti-social behaviour have been getting worse but there are simply not enough police officers to tackle it. 

“As a councillor I have been working with the police and other agencies to try and remedy the problem and I am pleased that the Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson is working hard to find the money to recruit new officers.”

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has spent a number of shifts with the police locally and has been leading a national campaign to bring in new legislation to protect emergency service workers.

She said:

“We have lost 2000 police staff since 2010, a reduction of 20% of the force so it really is no surprise that the effects of these government cuts are being acutely felt in our communities.

“As well as simply having fewer officers, we are increasingly seeing officers ‘single crewed’, and deployed to emergencies on their own. If police officers themselves are not safe, then communities are not safe and only more boots on the ground will help us take back control of escalating crime.   

“A Labour government would properly invest in our police service, recruiting an extra police officer for every ward in the country.”

Labour calls for urgent action as crime soars in Sowerby Bridge

Labour MP Holly Lynch and local councillors have expressed their deep concern at ‘shocking’ new crime statistics for the Sowerby Bridge area.  The latest statistics for the ward, released by...

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has called on prominent Conservative Angela Leadsom to 'clarify' comments made about frontline policing numbers after she claimed that frontline numbers had increased since 2010.

In a letter to Ms Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, Ms Lynch notes that the Government's own figures show that there was a reduction of 17,815 personnel from the frontline between 2010 and 2017.

In addition, figures compiled by the BBC also show how Government cuts have impacted on community support officers. Their numbers dropped from 14,393 to 10,205 between 2012 and 2017.

Ms Leadsom has recently told the House of Commons, however, that frontline policing has "in fact, slightly increased since 2010".

Ms Lynch's letter is available to read below. She is hoping that Ms Leadsom will consider a 'clarification of these remarks".

 

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Government 'risk misleading the public' about frontline police numbers: Holly Lynch MP

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has called on prominent Conservative Angela Leadsom to 'clarify' comments made about frontline policing numbers after she claimed that frontline numbers had increased since 2010. In...

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Halifax MP, and Labour’s Shadow Floods Minister, Holly Lynch has criticised the Government for failing to include measures for tackling flood risk within its long awaited 25 year Environment Plan.

Speaking from the front bench in Parliament, she criticised Environment Secretary Michael Gove for “failing to provide any proposals or funding relating to flood risk beyond just the next 3 years”.

Ms Lynch was speaking after Calderdale was recently put on high alert for flooding with heavy rain leading to warnings of travel disruption and high river levels.

The Government published its 25 year plan for the environment last month which sets out their long term priorities for responding to the biggest challenges facing our environment, however, Ms Lynch claims the plan was a “missed opportunity” due to a lack of detailed planning for flood protection.

Speaking after the debate in Parliament she said:

“Residents at risk of flooding want to know that flood protections will continue to be a top priority with resources committed to tackling this issue well into the future.

“The Government has drawn out tackling avoidable plastics over the full duration of the 25 year plan which could have been addressed much sooner, however conversely, they failed to think beyond the next 3 years in responding to the increasing frequency and severity of flood events.

“The whole point of a 25 year plan should be to offer certainty and a clear vision for how flood risk should be tackled. I wanted to see proposals for ambitious flood defence investment, new ideas for managing reservoirs and a show of determination to really work on slowing the flow of water to the valleys.

“Disappointingly there were no proposals or funding set out beyond 2021, it’s a missed opportunity when they could have shown real leadership and demonstrated that flood defence and resilience which is such a big issue for us here in Calderdale, was at the forefront of this Government’s priorities.”

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan is available to view at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/25-year-environment-plan

Holly raises concerns over Government failure to plan for long-term flood risk

Halifax MP, and Labour’s Shadow Floods Minister, Holly Lynch has criticised the Government for failing to include measures for tackling flood risk within its long awaited 25 year Environment Plan....

I write to object in the strongest possible terms to planning applications 17/00113/WAM and 17/00114/VAR. Like many of my constituents, I am extremely concerned about the environmental and health impact that an incinerator will have at this location.

The site is wholly unsuited for the burning of waste, being situated in a steep-sided valley, very close to an air quality management area in the centre of Sowerby Bridge, as well as local primary schools and many residents’ homes - situated as close as 100 metres away. The air quality through Sowerby Bridge town centre is already extremely poor as noted in the officers’ report, with levels of pollutants persistently exceeding lawful limits and having a detrimental impact on the health of my constituents.

Calderdale Council’s own website is very clear about the dangers of air pollution in our area:

“In 2013 in Calderdale 4.5% (Public Health England (PHE), Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) Adult mortality indicators) of all adult mortality was estimated to be due to long-term exposure to harmful particulate air pollution. It is now widely accepted that this rate is even higher when the effects of nitrogen dioxide are taken into consideration.”

“The two main causes of lung disease are smoking and air pollution. Between 2012 and 2014, Calderdale was ranked 122 out of 149 local authorities with one of the highest rates of premature death due to respiratory disease.”

I would also like to bring to the attention of the planning committee a case that was upheld by the High Court just a month ago. Swale Borough Council refused a planning application for 330 homes and 60 sheltered accommodation units next to Air Quality Management areas. The proposals were refused on the grounds that the development could impact air quality. The decision was appealed and after the Planning Inspectorate backed the council the case was taken to the High Court. It upheld the decision of the council and determined that air quality is something that must be considered within the planning process.

Public Health England have been unable to rule out adverse health effects from modern municipal waste incinerators and any increase in the concentration of air pollutants in an air quality management area is unacceptable, no matter how small.

The applicant has used data from Leeds-Bradford airport to model the impact of emissions and made assumptions in the modelling that are not explained. The recent fire at the Belmont site demonstrated that particles and fumes do not easily disperse within the valley.

There is also the cumulative effects of the proposed SWIP at the applicant’s Mearclough Road site to consider, which is not addressed in the application or their modelling. It would be irresponsible to not consider the cumulative impact of having two incinerators at either end of Sowerby Bridge.

I conclude that it would be wholly inappropriate for the council to grant an application that would worsen the air quality of an area that is already suffering from unsafe levels of air pollution. I therefore call on the Planning Committee to exercise its powers and refuse the two applications on health and environmental grounds, relating to the anticipated impact on air quality.

Holly Lynch
Member of Parliament for Halifax

My statement to the planning committee about waste incinerators in Sowerby Bridge

I write to object in the strongest possible terms to planning applications 17/00113/WAM and 17/00114/VAR. Like many of my constituents, I am extremely concerned about the environmental and health impact...

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I have received a lot of correspondence about Green Belt land over recent weeks. I appreciate the particular importance of this issue to many residents in Calderdale who have expressed concern at the scale of development in the Council’s proposed ‘Local Plan’. Given the strength of feeling on this issue locally, I have been following the process extremely closely.
 
I will outline my understanding of the current situation which I hope will provide some clarity over how we have ended up where we are.
 
The Council were initially told by Conservative Central Government that they needed to produce a plan for allocating around 17,000 additional homes in Calderdale by 2032. Faced with such a large housing requirement it wasn’t possible for the Council to avoid planning for development on some Green Belt land.
 
Following lobbying by Calderdale Council Labour leader Tim Swift, and other councils across the country, the Government have decided to revise their formula for calculating housing need in an area. For Calderdale this means that the Council must now find space for under 10,000 homes which, although still a large level of development, will mean that much less Green Belt land will need to be included in revised plans. The Council leadership have asked council officers to draw up a new plan based on these numbers and I understand that they expect to publish these revised proposals in February. This will identify how the reduced housing numbers can be allocated across each area of Calderdale, before a final plan is produced for formal consultation in early summer.
 
In a further complication, last month the Government made a surprise statement and announced their intention to intervene in this process. There are concerns that under an ‘intervention’ the plan could be drawn up by civil servants based in the Department for Communities and Local Government rather than by Calderdale Council. I am asking the Government a number of questions on this matter to urge them to make clear their intentions towards the planning process in Calderdale.
 
The Government cited delays in the process as the main reason for its intention to intervene, however the delays locally have been as a result of lengthy and extensive consultations with local communities. It is my fear that Central Government intend to push ahead without conducting such consultations if they wish to conduct the planning stages at a faster pace.
 
On the wider policy in this area, the Conservatives have made a number of changes to our planning system to the detriment of the Green Belt. In 2012, the Coalition Government replaced all existing planning guidance - except on waste - with the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and National Planning Practice Guidance. I believe these reforms weakened the National Brownfield Strategy, promoted in 2003, which actively prioritised building on brownfield sites.
 
The Government published its housing white paper in February, along with a consultation seeking views on amending the NPPF to allow local authorities to amend Green Belt boundaries in "exceptional circumstances". The consultation ran from 7 February to 2 May 2017 and the Government said it expects to announce its conclusions "in due course".
 
I am concerned that the Government's planning reforms have failed to do enough to promote brownfield development. The Government rejected a Labour amendment to the Housing and Planning Act during its consideration in Parliament which would have ensured automatic planning permission would be limited to housing on brownfield land.
 
I believe it is important that the Government fully considers the responses to its consultation and bears in mind the concerns raised by groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
 

Holly's Blog: My views on the Calderdale Local Plan and Green Belt land

I have received a lot of correspondence about Green Belt land over recent weeks. I appreciate the particular importance of this issue to many residents in Calderdale who have expressed...

St_Marys_card.jpgA Christmas card designed by Halifax schoolgirl Suhaani Sharma will be finding its way through the letterboxes of hundreds of people across Halifax and the country, including the Prime Minister.

MP’s Christmas card designed by talented Suhaani

A Christmas card designed by Halifax schoolgirl Suhaani Sharma will be finding its way through the letterboxes of hundreds of people across Halifax and the country, including the Prime Minister.... Read more

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Halifax MP Holly Lynch has accused the Government of treating flood-hit residents as a low priority after it was revealed that they have refused to reopen a vital grants scheme, which assisted thousands of households in Calderdale and around the country in 2015/16, for those affected by recent flooding. 

Lancaster and the village of Galgate were the worst affected in last month's floods as heavy rain fell in areas which were also badly hit by Storm Desmond two years ago. Lancaster University recorded the highest ever 24hr rainfall total in 50 years of observations.

After Storm Desmond in 2015 the Government made grants available of £500 to support households in the immediate aftermath, and offered up to £5,000 to help make properties better prepared to cope with any future flooding. 

The scheme also provided support for businesses, providing local authorities with funding worth over £2,500 for every business flooded. At the time Calderdale Council said that they had received over 1,120 applications and expressions of interest for the repair and renew grant from residents, and nearly 40% of eligible businesses had applied.

However, the Government have now revealed that they will not offer Lancaster City Council the funding to provide grants to those affected by the latest floods, raising questions about their commitment to providing these grants after future flooding events in other parts of the country. Responding to a written question Minister Jake Berry said:

“For events of the scale as seen recently, local areas are expected to provide support from within their own resources. The Government therefore has no plans to activate a wider cross government recovery programme.” He added that Storm Desmond and Eva “was an exceptional case.”

Labour's Shadow Flooding Minister Holly Lynch MP has called on the Government to reconsider this decision and raised the issue in Parliament this week. She believes that the decision is concerning for all those at risk of flooding who may require these grants in the future.                                                                                   

Ms Lynch said:

"Conservative Ministers decide whether to offer these crucial grants on an ad hoc basis with the money then delivered by Local Authorities. I think it shows appalling judgement that the Government claim these recent floods are not severe enough for them to provide support.

"We're working in Westminster to pressure Ministers to make sure they provide a full support package for residents and businesses affected.

"It sets a worrying precedent that this widespread flooding is being treated as such a low priority by the Government and will be of concern to residents in Calderdale who are threatened by future flooding."

Anger as Government refuse to reopen flood grant programme

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has accused the Government of treating flood-hit residents as a low priority after it was revealed that they have refused to reopen a vital grants scheme, which assisted thousands...

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Halifax MP Holly Lynch has criticised the Conservative Government’s Budget delivered on Wednesday for failing to provide additional funds for local services.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a number of new proposals including a pledge to spend £30m to improve mobile and digital connectivity on the TransPennine rail route.                                                   

But she was concerned that the Government hasn’t taken action to address the housing crisis or restore funding to the Police and Social Care services, all of which she says are crucial for residents of Calderdale.                                                   

She said: “This was not a budget that delivers for Halifax. Although many of our essential local services are facing a funding crisis, the Chancellor has mostly ignored their calls for extra resources.        

“There is no extra money for Calderdale Council, even though they have seen the worst cuts in a generation.

“They simply can’t provide the same level of services when their budget continues to be slashed.  It will also be a huge challenge to ensure that quality Social Care is provided to all our elderly residents who need support.

“Homelessness is rising yet this Budget takes no significant action on affordable homes and changes to Universal Credit are not due until as late as April. This means we’re not going to tackle this growing problem any time soon.”

Ms Lynch has also backed calls by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, for more cash for the service, saying that since 2010, West Yorkshire police have faced cuts of £160 million and lost 1,200 frontline officers and about 800 members of staff.                                                                                                        

“Police budgets need to increase so that the public, and officers, are safe and the forces can tackle all kinds of crime in a quick and efficient way that provides justice for victims of crime” she said.

“With violent crime rising, and increased threats from terrorism, I was hugely disappointed that the Government offered no extra money for policing. Proper community policing cannot be done on the cheap.”

Holly criticises Budget - "it doesn’t deliver for Halifax"

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has criticised the Conservative Government’s Budget delivered on Wednesday for failing to provide additional funds for local services. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a number of new...

Courier Column 29/09/17

It’s been clear for a long time now that our rail services are in desperate need of investment. The frequent delays, overcrowding and outdated trains are all evidence of the need for change.

The Conservative Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is certainly aware of the situation. During his whistle-stop visit to Sowerby Bridge railway station during the general election campaign he repeated the promise that our local rail services would be modernised and electrified. However, fast forward three months and you will now see the Government arguing that full electrification might not be feasible, even while the hugely expensive Crossrail 2 in London is getting the green light.

Those who live and work here know that our transport infrastructure has been ignored for too long. There is a clear cross-party consensus in Yorkshire, and amongst councillors in Calderdale, that electrification should be a top priority and that Central Government funding is the only way to achieve this.

The benefits of electric trains are clear; they are faster and more reliable than the diesel trains we currently have on the line. They would be less polluting, quieter and provide a first impression that we can be proud of to business travellers and tourists coming by rail.

Electrifying links on the main trans-Pennine line from Liverpool and Manchester to Leeds, and on the Calder Valley Line, would also benefit our regional economy. It would be possible to live in Halifax and look for jobs in Manchester, Liverpool, Chester or beyond knowing that you’d be able to commute in comfort and arrive on time. Businesses here could recruit from a wider pool of workers making Halifax a more attractive place to start or relocate a firm.

It would also help increase tourism, building on the success of recent developments. The exciting new ‘cultural quarter’ including the Piece Hall, the newly-built library and extended Square Chapel will attract many more people to our town and it would be great if they could travel here using a modern transport system.

A recent report found that more than half of the UK’s total spending on transport networks is invested in London. While on average every person in Yorkshire and the Humber receives the equivalent of £190, they found the figure for London was £1,943 per head. This is the reason why talk of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ was so welcome; it seemed to signal a recognition of how unbalanced our country has become between London and everywhere else, and a desire to address this.

So, I will continue to make the case in Westminster for improved rail services and more generally for increased investment in the North. It’s time the Government delivered on its promises to voters and committed to supporting our region.

Halifax Courier Column - Improving our rail services

Courier Column 29/09/17 It’s been clear for a long time now that our rail services are in desperate need of investment. The frequent delays, overcrowding and outdated trains are all...

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Holly Lynch at Sowerby Bridge Railway Station

 

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has warned that proposed changes to rail timetables by train operator Northern could see a cut to services at Sowerby Bridge station.

 

Northern are currently working with Network Rail to determine the timetable proposals for the Calder Valley Line from May 2018 which will impact the frequency of services, which stations they stop at, and the times of the first and last trains of the day.

 

Ms Lynch has written to Northern’s Director Alan Chaplin, highlighting a number of changes which she believes will negatively impact rail users in Sowerby Bridge.

 

She has raised concerns that the last direct train from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge could be as early as 21:20, that there will be a diminished service for those travelling from Sowerby Bridge to Huddersfield, and that direct services on Sundays from Sowerby Bridge to Todmorden and Manchester could be discontinued.

 

Commenting on the proposed changes Ms Lynch said:

 

“There are many problems with Northern services at present, including massive overcrowding for commuters so I’m working closely with local rail users to ensure that things start to improve.

 

“I appreciate that it is difficult to schedule trains so that everyone is happy with the result, however it does appear that Sowerby Bridge is being left behind with these particular proposals.

 

“Cuts to services at Sowerby Bridge could bring a number of problems for rail users. For example those heading for a night out in Manchester could be forced to return home just after 9 o’clock, or pay for a taxi at significant extra expense.

 

“There are elements here that are to be welcomed such as the new routes to Manchester Airport and Chester due to Network Rail’s construction of the new ‘Ordsall Chord’ in Manchester.

 

“However, to maximise the benefit of these investments it is crucial that Sowerby Bridge is well served by the new timetable.”

 

Halifax Action District Rail Action Group's (HADRAG) have also campaigned on this issue. Their ‘Rail Views’ Autumn 2017 reads:

 

HADRAG and the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance Sustainable Transport Group responded jointly to Northern’s timetable proposals. Welcoming new connectivity, we also listed a catalogue of concerns—unintended consequences maybe of ambitious plans. The train company will have submitted its proposals to Network Rail by now. We hope at least some of our concerns will have been addressed. More detail on website but some key points include:

 

  • Calder Valley Manchester trains to go through all day hourly to Chester and to Manchester Airport — the expected good news.

  • York-Blackpool trains to call Sowerby Bridge and Mytholmroyd all day ‒ long standing HADRAG aspiration and welcome increase in weekday frequency. But these two stations appear to have no Sunday trains to Manchester — surely not acceptable.

  • Brighouse (Leeds-Halifax-Huddersfield) to go hourly on Sundays, improving on present 2-hourly. But no proposal to run the Leeds-Brighouse-Manchester service on Sundays — missing an opportunity to develop leisure travel along the valley.

  • Loss of attractive connections upper Calderdale-Huddersfield.

  • Uneven spacing of 4 trains/hour service Leeds-Halifax/Hebden Bridge — far from even quarter-hourly. Pathing of the new services round Manchester and via the new Ordsall Chord has resulted in a less than ideal pattern eastwards towards Leeds.

  • Some increased journey times via the Brighouse Line. Leeds-Brighouse-Manchester trains are to run fast Rochdale Manchester but look to be little if any faster overall because of extra time between Brighouse and Sowerby Bridge. Disappointing.

  • Missing early morning trains Halifax/Brighouse-Leeds.

  • Late evening Manchester-Calder Valley trains not serving intermediate stations such Sowerby Bridge and Mytholmroyd despite being improved to half-hourly. Surely this can be fixed!

  • HADRAG is also concerned about the next big timetable change in December 2019. We have asked for a meeting with the train company.

  • Update to follow in Winter edition of Rail Views.

 

Halifax MP warns of cuts to Sowerby Bridge rail services

Holly Lynch at Sowerby Bridge Railway Station   Halifax MP Holly Lynch has warned that proposed changes to rail timetables by train operator Northern could see a cut to services...

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