Time to look ahead with optimism

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Aldous.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Aldous. - Credit: Archant

As I write this on a cold February morning in what has been a long winter, there is with the lengthening days the prospect of spring.

It is important to remain optimistic at this time of year. It is not always easy at national level, but progress is being made on a number of key projects in Waveney.

Fast reliable broadband has been a real problem for people in rural areas. In Suffolk we are moving towards the goal of over 95 per cent of the county having access to fast broadband.

The first new green cabinet was switched on in South Lowestoft back in 2012. Since then wireless technology has been experimented with in some parts of Waveney, which has allowed BT to bring very fast speeds (over 300 megabits per second) to isolated rural areas.

When you consider the average speed in Suffolk a few years ago was just 7mbps, this is quite an achievement.

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The Beccles Southern Relief Road is being built on the Beccles/Weston border. It seems incredible to think that the heaps of mud and clay should be transformed by the summer into a new road. This is good for the local economy and will remove traffic from Beccles town centre.

The next big project is to straighten out the Barnby Bends on A146 to Lowestoft, and continue to improve road links to the town.

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Finally a word on Brexit, which is of particular importance in Waveney due to our fishing and farming heritage. With fishing there is an opportunity to revive an industry which along the Suffolk and Norfolk coast has declined alarmingly in recent decades.

There will be a Fishing Conference in mid March in Lowestoft to look at the future prospects for the industry.

With farming there is a different challenge. The new UK Agricultural Policy must provide the framework that enables the industry in East Anglia to retain and build upon its pre-eminent role in the supply of the nation's food and at the same time enhance our unique landscape.

There are plenty of challenges, but it is important to remain optimistic and look ahead to warmer longer days.

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