Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham today called out the Environment Secretary’s, Therese Coffey MP, disinterest in the plight of local fishers and coastal communities, after she refused to set out an action plan to ensure the health of the Teesside and North Yorkshire coastline.
Speaking at DEFRA Questions Alex quoted a local school pupil, Erin-Rose Cawley, who wrote an impassioned speech about the plight of the local coast in response to the sea-life and crustacean die-offs. Questioning the Secretary of State, Alex asked:
“When 11-year-old Erin-Rose Cawley from Redcar was asked to write a speech for school, she wrote:
“‘The year is 2019 and our beaches have just received the Blue Flag meaning our beaches are some of the country’s best. Fast forward two years to beaches knee deep in dead, twitching crabs—a die off that was a never-before-seen phenomenon.’
“Will the Minister tell Erin-Rose what the Government are going to do to ensure our dead sea is brought back to good health?”
The question came after further reports of dead mussels and other sea life washing up on Saltburn beach on Wednesday 29 March.
Alex’s request was ignored by the Secretary of State who simply referred to previous investigations.
The plight of local fishers was also raised by Shadow Environment Secretary, Jim McMahon, who referred to his recent visit to Teesside and Hartlepool to meet with some of those who have had their livelihood impacted by the die-offs. The Environment Secretary refused to meet local fishers when asked.
“Once again the plight of local people and the fishing industry have been brushed aside by an Environment Secretary with no interest in meeting with them or getting to the bottom of this ongoing ecological disaster. Her complete disinterest in the matter, as seen in her responses at the despatch box, is plain to see yet it is people who are suffering the consequences of her inaction.
“The Conservative Government is failing our coastal communities.”