Letters - January 19, 2017

Fracking protesters hold up a lorry on Preston New Road
Fracking protesters hold up a lorry on Preston New Road

ENERGY

No regard for the health of citizens

In his letter to the Gazette on January 16, I fear Dr Rugman’s concerns about Radon gas exposure near fracking sites merely scratches the surface.

In its planning request, Cuadrilla states its intent to flare 130,000 cubic metres of methane and ethane gas each day, exposing people to thousands of tons of both flared and unflared gas. Cuadrilla and the Government have failed to state the risk presented by such exposure, however in a report by Robert Oswald at Cornell University, a list of the effects studied over six states exposed to this industry lists serious medical consequences on humans, their pets and farm livestock.

The list of effects is long and alarming and includes reproductive problems, respiratory and immunological problems and damage to the endocrine system. Some of these are attributed to the exposure of farming stock to so-called “wastewater”, the by-product of a “frack”, which is created in millions of gallons and which will be left in every drilled well, ready at some point, when the well fails, to contaminate whereever it leaks to. All of these effects are attributed to both normal and accidental operations of shale gas sites.

As Coun Hodson so succinctly put it,the British public have overwhelmingly stated their opposition to Cuadrilla, it is a point of complete contempt for the democratic process that the Government has inflicted this industry on the population with no regard whatsoever for the health of citizens, or the wellbeing of our farming industry .

Andrew Barbour

Roseacre Drive

Elswick

ENERGY

Ordinary folk need rights protecting

I noted with some bemusement the hysterical responses to my letter earlier this month when I warned of the threat to local people on the Fylde coast from professional anti-fracking protestors from outside the area. I was accused of peddling “childish and negative stereotypes” by one correspondent and “intellectual poverty” by another. Crikey!

The letter containing the last rebuke was printed on January 11, coincidentally the same day that the A538 was blocked by anti-fracking protestors eastbound for three hours and for around one hour in both directions.

Money was lost by local businesses, guests to a wake held in the local area were prevented from getting to the venue and life was put at risk as ambulances and other emergency services faced lengthy diversions. Your own paper pointed to the role of protestors from outside the area in this inconsiderate and dangerous activity.

I realise these facts are inconvenient for some of those with axes to grind in the great fracking debate, but as a sandgrown’un who has fought for many years for law and order to be maintained in the local area, I will not shy away from highlighting such abhorrent and morally indefensible behaviour, and I will continue to call for Lancashire Constabulary to use all resources and legal options to defend the right of ordinary people to go about their business unhindered by such callous extremists.

Brian Coope

via email

ROADS

Will it take a death to provoke action?

I welcomed the article by Rob Stocks in the Gazette of January 9 concerning the installation of hi-tech speed cameras across Lancashire’s roads. It is good news that LCC is taking the problem of speeding seriously. Maybe it is about time.

On Tuesday, December 27, 2016 the Gazette carried an article on County Councillor Andrea Kay who is ‘leading the charge’ for safety measures on a “busy Thornton road” i.e. Lawsons Road, after a teenage motorcyclist was seriously injured after a hit-and-run collision with a Ford on December 14. David Shaw – station manager at Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: “13 crashes resulting in injuries have happened on a half-mile stretch of Lawsons Road in the past 18 months”, yet no traffic calming measures have been introduced.

On April 17, 2015, at 3.10pm, a serious incident occurred on Lawsons Road when a car speeding towards the Thornton Shopping Centre clipped the kerb and ploughed into a group of Millfield students coming home from school. One student was airlifted to hospital, two others were less seriously injured, and a mother with a toddler and a baby in a buggy had a narrow escape. Lawsons Road was closed for four hours.

The road is narrow, with pavement on one side only in places and well used by pedestrians and users of disability scooters to reach the shops as well as children to and from school.

At the time I wrote a letter outlining the dangers which was published by the Gazette, asking LCC officers for traffic calming measures to be installed. My neighbour subsequently wrote numerous letters to the LCC. The result was that, months later, a speed sensor was briefly erected but never activated and then removed a few days later.

How many accidents have to occur to trigger action? Does someone have to be killed before this is taken seriously? This speeding problem occurs on many Thornton roads – selfish drivers care little for pedestrian safety.

Jenie Phillips

Chairman, Thornton Action Group

HEALTH

The NHS needs a radical overhaul

In the recent days the media has been focusing on the problems affecting the NHS. Instead of showing statesmanship and a willingness to help the government ease the crisis, Jeremy Corbyn has concentrated on attacking the government. Not once has he said how Labour would solve the problem.

His only contribution has consisted of the well-worn cry of ‘more money is needed’. Not only is this unhelpful, it is wrong. Every government, including this one, has over the past 20 years poured millions into the NHS, to little avail.

The problem with the NHS is not simply money, it is systemic. In simple terms, the 1940s model is no use today. We need a major overhaul and a new model. Only this will solve a monster organisation under suffocating pressure as a result of people living longer, and a medical profession dependent on new and very costly drugs and technology.

In the meantime, it would help if Corbyn and his team could demonstrate an ability to suggest solutions that do not depend on an outmoded ideology.

Dr Barry Clayton

via email