In my first column of the year, I must start by wishing all Herald readers a very happy New Year.
We begin 2023 with the ongoing economic challenges including the pressures on the NHS and strike action in many parts of the public sector.
Having been directly involved in the NHS for more than a decade, I know how incredibly hard people are working on the frontline.
I also understand the concerns felt by many – not just nurses – about the cost of living. The government wants to engage openly and sincerely but we will not take any decisions that mean inflation stays with us for longer.
There are many challenges locally but last year we made some real progress with my campaign for a new cancer centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
My legs are still recovering from running the marathon which added £34,000 to our fundraising total – thank you to the many Herald readers who sponsored me.
Watch this space for more personal challenges to help us head towards our target which we will continue to work towards throughout the year.
Another big priority will be to increase the area covered by our local Surrey Hills AONB (now renamed as Surrey Hills National Landscape).
I also want to upgrade its status to a National Park which would increase the protections even further because it would then become a planning authority in its own right.
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey, fresh back from the Amazon, has agreed to come down to the patch so she can see for herself.
I also want to continue keeping our local environment as pollution and litter free as possible.
Three priorities here will be the transformation of Farnham town centre which is finally happening at long last and will see a significant reduction in pollution in the town centre.
I want to see sewage discharges reduced, so will be following up on the commitments made by Thames Water CEO Sarah Bentley to put infrastructure in place this year to deal with storm overflows.
And I will also be continuing my regular litter picks – if you are interested in joining me on one, please let me know by emailing [email protected]
Another busy year beckons, but please be assured that however busy I am in Westminster, I will continue to be available for support, advice and surgeries so please do get in touch through my constituency office in Hindhead if you think I can help as your local MP.
Best wishes for the year ahead which I am convinced will be a more encouraging one than the one that has just passed.