THE Government has made clear throughout this crisis that, should the number of cases rise, they would not hesitate to act.

While relaxations of restrictions over recent months have been welcome, sadly, rates are now rising.

Therefore, on the advice of scientific and medical experts, new measures have come into force which mean that you may socialise in groups no larger than six (indoors or outdoors) unless everyone is from the same household or support bubble.

Education and work settings are unaffected, and a full list of exemptions can be found on

It is vitally important that we all continue to wash our hands, cover our faces in enclosed spaces, and keep plenty of space between ourselves and others from outside our household (or support bubble).

Some of you have understandably been in touch with me regarding your problems in getting a test with the consequent impacts on speed of return to work or getting a child back to school.

I am working locally to help smooth out the operational challenges. Those working in our schools as well as local business leaders have done an enormous amount to help welcome children and employees back and I am constantly feeding in concerns to Government as their eyes to achieve the best outcomes.

As we recover from Covid-19 we must deliver an economy which is stronger and greener.

In my role as Environment Minister, I was pleased to announce funding this week for a pilot that uses nature-based solutions to offset harmful nitrates produced from new housing developments in the Solent. This will inform a national approach to this issue.

I also launched the £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund. This will create or consolidate 5,000 jobs (ecologists, surveyors, education advisors for example) working on projects to enhance the environment run by environmental charities and partners.

Locally, Bridgwater and Taunton College received almost £1.5 million to upgrade facilities across their estate which is welcome news and will make an important contribution to the high-quality education and training our students deserve.


MP for Taunton Deane