An appeal for the continued use of the herbicide asulam, the only marketed herbicide that can control the spread of bracken, was thrown out by an appeals committee in Brussels today. Sale and supply of asulam will end on the 31st December 2011 and stocks of the herbicide must be consumed by the 31st December 2012. Without the ability to control bracken, many farmers will be unable to use their land effectively. Richard Ashworth MEP, the Conservative agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, said in response to the news: “Banning the use of asulam on bracken makes no sense whatsoever. “Simply banning the product in all areas of use, simply because the European Commission decreed it wasn’t to be used on foodstuffs such as spinach, shows a complete lack of foresight and I will now be supporting emergency contingencies for it’s continued use. “There are no practical alternatives to asulam for controlling bracken so we could well see large portions of our countryside rendered useless at great cost to our farmers.”
The Week Ahead in Strasbourg
State of the Union
President Barroso will deliver his third ‘State of the Union’ speech setting out the commission’s agenda. ECR group chairman Martin Callanan MEP will argue that the EU needs fundamental reform and a change of direction in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century and restore its relevance.
Debate: Wednesday @ 09.00
MEPs will vote on several aspects of reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, including proposals led through the parliament by ECR MEP Struan Stevenson regarding the organisation of markets in fishery and aquaculture products.
Struan’s proposals set out conditions to incentivise fishermen to support sustainable fishing practices, help Producer Organisations deal with day to day resource management and market issues and improving the market position of the EU. Mr Stevenson is proposing an enhanced role for Producer Organisations to ensure the smooth running of the markets, to help fishermen minimise discards and to have an EU wide eco-label to help consumers make informed choices. Increased labelling on where and when the fish was caught will also be important parts of the reform.
Vote: Wednesday @ 12.30
A report containing proposals on how the EU can produce less burdensome legislation, authored by ECR MEP Sajjad Karim, will be put to the vote. In his report Sajjad calls for the smallest businesses to be exempted from regulation unless the commission can prove the benefits to them. The report is critical of the commission for failing to fully respect the subsidiarity principle when drawing up impact assessments for new legislation. It also supports efforts to increase transparency in national transposition, so as to prevent ‘gold-plating’ of legislation. Finally, the report continues to press the Commission on the need to reduce the overall regulatory burden imposed by European legislation, and for a ‘one-in, one-out’ policy to be put in place for future legislation.
Vote: Thursday @ 12.00
The parliament will vote on an agreement reached with national governments that will help consumers to make ambitious but realistic energy savings that form part of the EU’s goal to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020.
ECR shadow rapporteur on the proposal Vicky Ford MEP believes that the deal represents a fair compromise, particularly considering the often rigid approach taken by some MEPs. Countries have agreed to establish strategies for renovating buildings, with three percent of central government buildings to be renovated each year. Countries will need to set up energy efficiency obligation schemes requiring energy distributors or retail companies to help consumers by saving 1.5 percent of their energy sales each year. Companies will also have improved access to energy audits, which in particular help SMEs to cut the costs of their energy bills.
Vote: Tuesday @ 12.00
Syria and Russia
The EU’s High Representative Baroness Ashton will debate the situation in Syria, and the recent concerning judicial cases in Russia. ECR foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock MEP believes that the international community must continue to exert maximum diplomatic pressure on Syria, and on those countries, such as Russia, that have refused to suitably condemn the regime. On Russia itself, Dr Tannock will argue that the Pussy Riot case is one of a growing number of concerning apparent abuses of the judicial system, following on from the Khodorkovsky case, which undermine the perception that Russia is governed by the rule of law.
Debate: Tuesday from 15.00
Pakistan flood assistance
Following the devastating Pakistani floods in 2010 the EU proposed a temporary trade waiver that would give preferential access on 75 tariff lines – mostly textiles – to assist the country with its reconstruction.
Despite being proposed in 2010, the waiver has been blocked in the World Trade Organisation by, amongst others, India and Bangladesh. Successful EU lobbying and improved bilateral ties between the countries has encouraged them to drop their objections. Now the parliament will finally vote on the proposals. ECR international trade spokesman Robert Sturdy MEP has been a strong advocate of the measure, which helps Pakistan through trade instead of solely aid.
Vote: Thursday @ 12.00
Plans to upgrade broadband speeds across East Sussex must not be delayed any further. European red-tape must not stand in the way of super-fast broadband being provided across East Sussex and the South East.
In a letter to the EU Commission’s Vice President Jacques Almunia I have am seeking assurances that their are no further delays in the plans of East Sussex County Council or Broadband Delivery UK, to upgrade broadband speeds.
I have expressed my own concerns that businesses in my constituency and rural communities are being adversly affected by the delay; super-fast broadband will allow SME’s and rural communities to functionand compete against businesses and win new trade.
I am extremely annoyed EU red tape has blocked essential improvements in tele-communications and internet speeds in East Sussex and across the South East. I am seeking an immediate remedy here by Commissioner Almunia and a clear explanation as to why this delay has taken place.
I would appreciate readers views on this issue and how they are being affected by slow internet speeds particularly in East Sussex, please email email@example.com
Richard Ashworth MEP
Our Olympic Team have brought a renewed sense of national pride, and I support the flying of our national flag on all local and national government buildings to celebrate our great nation. This is under threat however, following a pernicious EU regulation (Article 7 (2) of EC Regulation 1828/2006 which compels EU member states to fly the EU flag outside government buildings. I believe flag flying should be a pleasure and not a chore. The European Commission has said that nation states face “financial corrections” if the EU flag is not flown, in other words we will be fined for not flying the EU flag. These types of measures will not provide for greater support for the European Union, and in fact I am sure the public will resent this imposition from Brussels bureaucrats. This obsession to try and create a European identity via top-down diktats shows how out of touch the Brussels elite are with British people. I would like to receive your views on the EU flag issues please email me direct at
Richard Ashworth MEP
Across the South East we saw water companies impose a hosepipe ban because of chronic water shortages, only to be lifted in July following what many described as monsoon-like rainfall.
It is high time we looked at how water is being stored across the South East with a new focus on the creation of reservoirs.
The Environment Agency has predicted that temperatures will rise by 1.3% – 4.6% across southern England by 2050 which will lead to an 80% decrease of summer run-off gatherable rainfall available.
South East Water have said that 75% of its water supply is dependent on ground water.
The company is now embarking on a $390 million plan to ensure clean and safe water continues to be delivered in the South East.
I would be interested to receive your views to see if South East Water is doing enough to preserve and provide water across the south east. We must not forget the public and politicians have an important role in formulating policies that affect our daily lives.
Please email me your views at firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Ashworth MEP
Sir, It is time we made greater use of regional airports to alleviate pressure off Heathrow and Gatwick, and also to allow businesses to fly direct to the thriving BRIC (BRAZIL, RUSSIA, INDIA and CHINA) economies, Dubai and the rapid growth markets in south-east Asia.
We need the government to start looking at improving the already greatly stretched transport infrastructure around some of these airports so that greater capacity does not lead to log-jam in the areas near the airports.
The future economic success of the south-east is linked to having 21st century transport infrastructure that will see investors from the across the globe taking direct flights to cities all over the south-east.
We must therefore encourage regional airports to look at how they can share extra airline traffic because airports within the south east will be more or less full by 2030. We must think about how we meet this long-term capacity challenge.
Please send me your views on this issues to email@example.com
Richard Ashworth MEP
Welcome to the website of Richard Ashworth Conservative MEP for the South-East.
The UK is represented in the European Parliament on a regional basis and the South East is one of ten separate regions. There are ten MEPs representing our region, four of which are currently Conservative. The system for electing MEPs in each region is Proportional Representation. Unfortunately this is a system which, although appears fair, makes the link between MEP and constituent even harder. For this reason, my Conservative MEP colleagues and I try to pay special attention to particular areas to compliment our work across the region. In my first term, I have focussed my work in Kent and East Sussex.
The South East includes Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Kent, Sussex and the Isle of Wight – if you live in one of these areas you are one of my constituents. Having lived in the region all of my life, I am very proud to represent the South East. Please have a look at my work album to see what I’ve been upto in your patch so far (insert link)
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