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John Howell MP Writes - April 2017

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A look back at recent key issues in Westminster and the Constituency

In addition to the national and international issues hitting headlines of late there have been some important local issues raised with me. This month I would like to focus on these.

A number of constituents across the area have contacted me about school funding and I fully appreciate the concerns. Funding for schools in the constituency has been an issue that I have pursued on behalf of the schools over some time. In the last couple of years I have support the F40 fair funding campaign, I have petitioned parliament, I have arranged meetings with local school heads with fellow MPs and have myself raised the issues with Ministers. On this latest issue I am personally meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss the situation with her. At the time of writing this meeting has not taken place. I will report back on my website for those interested in following up.

In a meeting with local farmers the issue of hare coursing and rural crime has again come to the fore with a surge of activity in recent months. We have discussed this with the Police and I am pleased with the action they propose to take. I also raised the issue in the House of Commons during debate this month to draw attention to the fact that whilst farmers can dig ditches and barricade their fences, many are reluctant to do so for fear of retaliation. My principal concern is the threat that hare coursing poses to farming communities. I am pleased to have had confirmation from the Local Police Superintendent that this is a priority on which they are working on behalf of our farmers.

Improving air quality is a major issue for Government and we have some hotspots in this constituency. I took part in a recent debate in the House of Commons on low emission vehicles which brought home their importance to air quality issues. We are currently meeting the limits of most air pollutants. The one we are struggling to meet is the target for nitrogen dioxide. Sadly this is not just a British problem but one spread across sixteen other countries in the European Union. The principle cause of nitrogen dioxide emissions is transport. Across the country this accounts for 80% of emissions. In response to this the Government is spending over £2 billion on green transport initiatives including the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles in the period to 2020. The government has been at the forefront of action to secure more accurate, real-world emissions testing for diesel cars. EU standards for diesel vehicles have not delivered the necessary reductions in nitrogen dioxide.

The state of our roads is another hot topic and thus I am pleased that local road-users will benefit in 2017/18 from a dedicated £1,315,000 pothole fund. This cash is part of a £1.2 billion fund for local roads that is being allocated to councils to repair and rebuild transport links. There is more good news too with an award of £239,000 from the Department for Transport to Oxfordshire for schemes to improve road journeys with a focus on users suffering with some form of disability.

There is certainly plenty going on and if you would like to know more about my work you may like to be on the circulation list for my regular e-newsletter and special briefings sent on an occasional basis on specific issues. To be added to the list please email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

On a regular basis lobby groups or specific organisations launch email, postcard and letter campaigns to MPs on a wide range of subjects. In common with many other MPs I place my responses to this campaign correspondence on my web-site. This enables me to make my responses available to everyone in a timely manner.

For more information about my work both in Westminster and in the constituency please do visit my website which is regularly updated. The address is You can also follow me on twitter @johnhowellmp or on Facebook