My week, October 2009

On Saturday I went to Cumbria to see the effects of the recent floods.  The area was hit by record rainfall which flooded 1,300 homes and displaced 200 people.  I was extremely impressed by the efforts of the emergency services and so many local volunteers who were working tirelessly to support the community.

On Monday I responded to the Environment Secretary's Commons statement on the floods.  We must not forget the people who have been affected, and must do all that we can to ensure that they can return to normal life as soon as possible.

As we know all too well in Sussex, flooding is a growing source of concern - an industrial site in Haywards Heath had to be evacuated a fortnight ago.  Indeed, a staggering one in six properties in England are now at risk.

I was back in the Commons on Tuesday, speaking in the Queen's Speech debate on the environment.  It is vital that we secure a deal at Copenhagen to prevent dangerous climate change, but we must also adapt to its effects now, in order to help our wildlife adapt and to guard against more extreme weather events in future.

The environment theme continued on Wednesday when I launched the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers' ‘Carbon Army' project with celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock.  It's a great initiative which encourages people to take practical steps to conserve nature.

As I write on Thursday I'm on an early train heading to East Anglia.  I'll be meeting with local people to discuss coastal erosion, which is also a contentious issue here in Sussex, too, and then speaking to farmers in the evening.

I'll then be back in the constituency on Friday with a full day of meetings and surgeries, and I'll be addressing the West Sussex Growers Association in the evening. 

On Saturday I'm having my second Christmas lunch of the year and in the evening the former Chancellor Norman Lamont will be visiting us.  Given the dire state of the economy it will be fascinating to hear his thoughts.

Michelle Taylor