The past few weeks have been hugely important for our great city of York and the surrounding communities. Only last week we learned of the disturbing news that the National Rail Museum could face closure.

I remember visiting the NRM on numerous occasions as a young boy with my parents, and more recently as a parent myself taking my young children. To me, the museum is not only a hugely important place for those interested in the history of the railway industry; it is also part of York’s DNA.

The enormous museum sits alongside York’s other iconic landmarks like the Minster and our city walls. It contributes significantly to making our great, historic city, not only a fantastic place to live and work, but also an inspiring place to come and visit. I acknowledge we are very clearly still in a difficult financial climate and I am supportive of the Treasury's attempts to make Government more efficient for the taxpayer, but I wholeheartedly believe the NRM needs to stay open.

That’s why, when the announcements were made last week, I added my voice to the calls for a parliamentary debate on the importance of museums, like the NRM, in protecting our culture and heritage for future generations. I have also written to Ed Vaizey MP, the minister responsible for museums, to reiterate how important the NRM is to York and the many strong reasons why it should be kept open. I will be working with MPs across the region to secure the NRM’s future.

Moving on to a different issue, which is no less controversial; the past few weeks have seen some important developments on the council’s local plan. My scepticism over the questionable benefits of onshore wind power will be well known to readers and I am sure they will easily imagine my reaction at hearing of the council’s proposals to introduce a staggering 40 wind farms which would encircle our beautiful city, as part of their draft local plan.

Following the publishing of the draft local plan in April, I wrote to Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, to express my grave concerns over the scale and quantity of the proposed sites within the plan. I also asked that planning policy be strengthened so local communities could be given greater say over the location of proposed wind farms. In his response, he stressed the existing planning policy framework “sets out rigorous protection for the green belt”.

Since then, however, I was delighted to see the Government has gone further by announcing a series of planning reforms to ensure local communities have earlier and better involvement in deciding where proposed wind farms are to be situated. They have made it clear the need for renewable energy should not automatically override environmental protections and planning concerns of local communities.

Without a doubt, these planning reforms will be hugely important in the campaign to protect York’s green belt from the incredibly disturbing proposals within the draft local plan. Above all else it shows central government is listening to the views of local communities and so too should our local councils.

Readers must not forget it is not only 40 wind farms sites that have been proposed; it is also 22,000 homes, including 16,000 on the green belt, and 80 traveller and show people pitches. Whatever your views are on the proposals, I would implore you to take part in the council’s consultation process. We are at a pivotal moment in deciding the future of our great city and I firmly believe whatever gets decided absolutely must be representative of the views and wishes of all those who live here. Details of how to take part in the consultation can be found on both my website and the council’s.