Labour wins key vote on shale gas extraction
26 January 2015
Michael voted in the Commons this evening for stronger regulation on fracking. The Government was forced to accept Labour's proposals for a stronger framework of environmental protection in New Clause 19 of the Infrastructure Bill.
In a response to constituents who had written with concerns about a lack of regulation, Michael said:
Thank you for writing to me recently regarding the issue of shale gas extraction and the changes being made to the Infrastructure Bill.
I voted in the House of Commons on 26 January for Labour amendments to the Infrastructure Bill. Specifically, I voted to prohibit shale gas extraction in groundwater protection zones, to require baseline assessments for methane gas in groundwater and to place an obligation on operators to monitor and report fugitive emissions.
I am very pleased to say that the Government accepted the Labour amendment which called for the introduction of new environmental protections before fracking can proceed. Furthermore, fracking will be banned outright in national parks and areas of outstanding national beauty following the vote.
This is a huge U-turn in policy from the Government and a massive victory for the protection of Britain’s environment.
It is clear that a comprehensive framework of environmental protection should be implemented before any fracking can take place and now, thanks to the amendment passed in the House of Commons, no fracking will be able to take place before proper protections and tough safeguards are implemented.
I believe that this new regulation is a step in the right direction and will help to increase safety standards and protect the environment.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me about this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me again regarding this or any other matter.
Michael Dugher MP
Member of Parliament for Barnsley East
Winter crisis in casualty
23 January 2015
As reported by today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has raised concern over the government's health policy as latest figures show that Barnsley Hospital failed to meet the government's target of seeing 95 per cent of A and E patients with four hours in the last quarter.
Commenting Michael said: " Barnsley Hospital's A and E department is facing real pressures this winter on this government's watch. This A and E crisis stems from cuts to social care and GP access, which cost Barnsley £18 million alone."
Michael nominates Fit Reds
23 January 2015
As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael is proud to annouce that he has nominated local heath education programme Fit Reds for a Public Health Hero award, organsied by the Department of Heath. Targeted at men aged over 35, Fit Reds, part of Barnsley FC’s Community Sports & Education Trust, has teamed up with the British Heart Foundation to tackle the high levels of cardiovascular disease in Barnsley.
Barnsley life expectancies are below the national average, with the average Barnsley male lifespan standing at 76 years – 2 years shorter than the national average of 78.
Since September 2012 over 340 men have benefited from the programme which has improved waistlines, blood pressure readings and weight levels.
The decision to nominate Fit Reds comes as Labour has announced a string of new public health policies, including a commitment to promote physical activity and the introduction of standardised cigarette packaging.
For more information about the Fit Reds programme click here
Commenting, Michael said:
“I am very pleased to nominate Fit Reds for the Public Health Hero awards following their excellent work in the community in Barnsley. Their outreach work has been truly phenomenal and deserves public recognition.
“Life expectancies in Barnsley are below the national average which is a problem of great concern.
“Fit Reds are addressing this very important public health issue and I am sure that the people of Barnsley will want to join me in wishing them the best of luck in the Public Health Hero competition.”
Michael calls on Government to tackle ticket touts
23 January 2015
As reported in yesterday's South Yorkshire Times and last week's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has this week called on the Government to stop ticket touts ripping off people in Barnsley and across the country.
Many fans of popular sports and music events are forced to pay extortionate prices for tickets on the secondary market as a result of ticket touting – often at several times the face value of tickets. Recent examples include One Direction’s UK tour, whose sold out October dates at the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena were originally sold at face value from £43.45 - £71.50, but are now available for purchase on secondary ticket marketing websites from £125.00 - £142.00.
Michael called on the Government to introduce proposals to prevent the bulk-purchase of thousands of sports and music tickets the moment they are available online. Michael voted in favour of these proposals in the House of Commons on 12 January, which were unfortunately defeated by the Government.
The vote follows an open letter to the Government from prominent bands and figures in the music and sports sectors including South Yorkshire’s Arctic Monkeys, international rock band Iron Maiden and the Rugby Football Union, calling for action against ticket touts.
You can read the full article from the South Yorkshire Times by clicking here
Michael was interviewed this morning about this during the 'Toby at Breakfast' show on BBC Radio Sheffield. You can listen to the interview by clicking here and scrolling to 01:09:00.
Commenting, Michael said:
“As a keen sports and music fan myself, I’m sure people in Barnsley will be very disappointed that the Government has ruled out action to tackle ticket touting.
“It is incredibly frustrating for fans to be unable to buy tickets to see their favourite events when they go on sale and then have to pay massively inflated prices if they still wish to go.
“I voted to protect fans interests but this Government is only interested in standing up for a privileged few.”
Michael becomes patron of LIVE in Barnsley
23 January 2015
As reported in yesterday's South Yorkshire Times and last week's Barnsley Chronicle, Sheffield Star and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has become a patron of prominent local music festival LIVE in Barnsley.
The festival is an annual free metropolitan music event which is spread across a number of venues in Barnsley town centre.
Michael has been a strong supporter of the event since its creation, performing at both the 2013 and 2014 festival.
Each year, the festival has grown with event organisers Steve Clifford and Dave Pearsall estimating that around 3,000 people attended in 2013 and over 4,000 people attended in 2014.
Building on this impressive track record, 2015’s LIVE in Barnsley is set to be the biggest and best yet. Applications for acts hoping to perform at this year’s festival will open on 20th February and the event will take place on 20th June.
Commenting, Michael said, “It is a great honour and a privilege to be made patron of the LIVE in Barnsley festival. The festival has been a fantastic success, bringing visitors to the town, supporting local businesses and putting Barnsley’s creative credentials on the map.
“I have been fortunate enough to perform at the festival for the last two years and have seen first-hand the benefits it brings to Barnsley. It is also a great showcase of local musical talent.
“I would encourage any local performers thinking of playing at this year’s event to apply in February. I hope that 2015 is a very successful year for the festival.”
Festival organisers Steve Clifford and Dave Pearsall added, “We are very grateful to Michael for supporting LIVE in Barnsley – he has been more and more involved from day one.
“As well as playing at the festival twice, Michael has helped organise some fantastic acts such as Feargal Sharkey, lead singer of the Undertones.
“We asked Michael to become a patron of LIVE in Barnsley so that we can publically recognise his efforts and cement our local MP’s links to the festival. We are very pleased that he has accepted.”