Last week saw the publication of two important reports. Both have a direct bearing on the future of Herefordshire. Together they reinforce the importance of the Government’s new Levelling Up strategy, and the urgent need to clean up the river Wye.
This is the time of year when we pay tribute and give thanks to all those who work in the public service: those who give up their Christmas and New Year in order to provide vital services through the NHS, the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services, those in our Armed Forces, both here and overseas, those who serve as carers, and of course the families to support them.
With a population of 190,000 and an area of 837 square miles, Herefordshire is small in numbers but large in size. Herefordians know that it is a heaven on earth, of course, but the truth is that somehow we have never quite been able to get this message out to the wider world. Instead Herefordshire has been regarded as the UK's best-kept secret.
Gazette readers will need no reminder of how important the River Wye is to the identity not just of Ross-on-Wye – the clue is in the name – but to the whole region. As I highlighted recently in the House of Commons, this is a priceless national asset which we must do everything we can to protect and enhance in the face of serious phosphate and nitrate pollution.
There are plans for additional appointments being made available on 4th/5th December (Hereford City) and 18th/19th December (Leominster). NHS England and the CCG are also looking to bring pharmacies on board to deliver vaccines from next week. More details to follow.