Letters - April 6, 2017

Preston New Road fracking site
Preston New Road fracking site
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FRACKING

Lack of road signage does not bode well

Although announced as reduced from 50mph to 20mph last week, the signage approaching and leaving the fracking site tells a different story and causes confusion and anger among drivers.

Signs all show a 30mph advisory limit approaching the site with no signage leaving the site. This morning there was traffic traveling at between approx 20mph and well OVER the enforceable limit of 50mph!

This is a ridiculously dangerous situation again caused by the inability of Lancashire County Council and the Constabulary to get their acts together before a major accident occurs.

What hope is there for their promise to monitor fracking the industry at a gold standard?

Peter K Roberts

Clifton Avenue

Warton

FRACKING

What happens if frack firms go bust?

The government was recently asked about plans to establish a contingency bond, to cover the costs of environmental clean-up in the event of a shale oil or gas company going into administration.

The answer stated that department officials are working with the industry’s trade body “to ensure that liabilities for shale wells are addressed … where all of the companies on a licence became insolvent “.

The need for such a Bond for Abandonment was raised in 2012 with John Hayes, then Energy Minister, by Mike Hill, a local resident and Chartered Engineer with 25 years in the oil and gas industry.

The matter of shale companies folding, leaving no funds for long term monitoring or environmental clean-up, was raised again later that year. Aware that Cuadrilla is made up of several companies, in fact every pad is a separate limited company, a local Chartered Accountant asked the question at a public debate in St Annes, chaired by Mr Menzies.

Construction of a shale gas well is a challenging task. A pad is already under construction at Preston New Road that could host 40 or more wells. Huge sums of money are involved, it costs in the region of £5m to drill a single well.

Further, following abandonment Cuadrilla is allowed to hand back the Permit to the Environment Agency and once this has been done they are no longer responsible for any leakage and emissions from the ageing wells – the taxpayer is! Yet the government are only just discussing the question of Bonds for Abandonment now.

Why has it taken them so long and why is it not in place prior to construction and drilling?

One has to wonder why the government have chosen to be so lax about this new industry, one that they have imposed on Lancashire residents against the will of the County Council.

T Froud

Lytham

BREXIT

People in EU look at our path with envy

Jean -Claude Juncker’s revenge threats to campaign for the break up of the United States shows the bitter desperation of Eurocrats to stop their own union collapsing.

Apparently the EU Commission president’s remarks that he would push for Ohio and Texas to split from the rest of America if Donald Trump does not become more supportive of the EU were not meant to be taken literally.

But it does reveal how worried Juncker et al are, not just about Brexit, but the very possible knock on effect on some of the remaining 27 member states.

I personally have no doubt that as we progress along the bumpy road to regaining our independence, which we were tricked into relinquishing four decades ago, people in other EU countries will look on enviously and may well follow in our courageous footsteps.

Paul Nuttall

UKIP North West MEP

TRANSPORT

Modernisation does not include job cuts

After years of under investment, our modernisation plans are set to provide rail passengers with the services they want and deserve.

These plans will ultimately deliver easier journeys for commuters and leisure travellers – underpinning the economy, creating jobs, and will make the north a better place to live and work. By 2020, everyone travelling on Northern will benefit from a £580m investment in 98 new and 243 refurbished trains.

Our plans will mean more services, an increase in peak time capacity and faster city connections through our new Northern Connect network.

Modern train technology means that drivers will have the capability to control the opening and closing of doors.

This process, which is known as Driver Controlled Operation (DCO), exists on more than a third of the UK’s main line railway network and has been in existence for 30 years.

But importantly, whoever operates the doors is entirely separate from how Northern might choose to staff trains with a second person in the future.

That is why we want to talk with the RMT to discuss the future roles and responsibilities of our employees, some of whom are members of the union.

Northern has been clear from the outset: our modernisation plans do not include cuts to jobs, pay or safety standards.

They are about looking to secure jobs and pay for the long-term, as well as delivering real benefits for our customers.

Paul Barnfield

Regional Director

Northern