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Rutland MP Alicia Kearns demands more engagement from Mallard Pass Solar Farm developers

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I am a firm believer that education is one of the most important responsibilities of any Government, writes Rutland MP Alicia Kearns (Con).

When we get education right and give young people a bright start in life so many of our other problems solve themselves. That is why I was so pleased to welcome the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, to Rutland for an official visit to Harrington School and Catmose College since I last wrote.

Nadhim was full of praise for both, setting out how they represent his ideal model for schooling across our country. Both schools, their teachers, and their pupils should be proud of their success - I know our whole community is. Whilst Nadhim’s recognition was appreciated, I am also extremely pleased that 11 schools across Rutland and Melton have been awarded money to upgrade their buildings and facilities.

Xander Cooke, Maya Banerjee, head of Harington School John Harrison, MP Alicia Kearns, secretary of state Nadhim Zahawi, principal of Harington School Stuart Williams, Tom McEnery and Amy Callaghan
Xander Cooke, Maya Banerjee, head of Harington School John Harrison, MP Alicia Kearns, secretary of state Nadhim Zahawi, principal of Harington School Stuart Williams, Tom McEnery and Amy Callaghan

These include works on the roof of Brooke Hill Academy and the replacement of the old temporary teaching blocks at Uppingham Community College. There were also funding announcements for St Nicholas Church of England Primary School, Ketton Church of England Primary School and Great Casterton Church of England Primary School. This money will help ensure our children learn in safe and well-maintained environments for many years to come.

I also visited Oakham School last week, where I was invited to meet GCSE pupils who have been completing a project on the proposed Mallard Pass solar plant. I was deeply impressed by how engaged our young people are with the issues around Mallard Pass and I can only commend their research efforts. It is great that GCSE students took the initiative to invite me to discuss Mallard Pass whilst the developers refused to even attend the public meeting held in February.

The second consultation will run from May 26 to August 4 and I have made it clear to the developers that Rutlanders demand more engagement and less evasion. Together we can fight Mallard Pass and I urge everyone to have their say in the consultation period. I hope to have held a meeting in Parliament this week with representatives from Canadian Solar and Windell Energy.

Mallard Pass solar farm
Mallard Pass solar farm

This will give me the chance to raise the concerns of those living near the proposed site. I will soon be launching a letter writing campaign to complement the petition against Mallard Pass so stay tuned!

Last week, I secured a debate on Levelling Up in rural areas, so that I could raise Rutland’s most pressing issues with the Minister for Levelling Up. I want fair funding for our community, and I told the Government that it was completely unacceptable that Rutlanders are forced to pay the highest levels of council tax in the UK. I also used my debate the highlight the need to improve transport, health service and digital connectivity across areas such as ours. I was pleased that the Minister recognised the need to invest more in rural areas, and I look forward to working with our council to get the most out of new Levelling Up funding.

I also wish to congratulate Lucy Stephenson on becoming council leader. Lucy is passionate about our county, and I know she will fight tooth and nail for Rutland’s interests. She has my full support, both in Parliament and at home in Rutland.

Whilst I have had a busy few weeks working for Rutland, I was able to find some time to enjoy myself at the first Prickleback Urchin Hedgehog Rescue quiz night. Since launching last July, the local heroes behind the charity have saved at least 57 hedgehogs, and the night was a fitting tribute to their dedication. If you find a hedgehog in need you know who to call!

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