Letters - January 7, 2016

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GAMBLING

Betting terminals not for the high street

We write in response to article headlined ‘Under-18 gambling sting sparks rap’ (Gazette, December 29).

It is very concerning that volunteers as young as 14 were allowed to gamble on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in BetSid shops in Blackpool.

These machines represent the most addictive form of gambling and allow users to stake up to £100 every 20 second spin.

Amanda Quirke is right to point out that gambling at a young age is more likely to lead to addiction, and it is welcome that BetSid have been made aware that a harder line will be taken if failures persist.

This might ward off the sort of complacency espoused by their operations director, Paul Kirkby, who assured viewers of the BBC Sunday Politics in April 2014 that: “We’ve got a strict Think 21 policy, the same as you’d find in any pub or licensed premises. No one under 18 is allowed to enter the premises, and we do regular in-house and external checks as well.”

Just not quite regular enough, it seems. Age verification is made more difficult as betting shops are an easily accessible venue, which are not required to operate door staff. It is time for the government to recognise that hard gambling products like FOBTs do not belong in low regulation environments like betting shops.

Campaign for Fairer Gambling

ENERGY

Fracking is simply 
a dead duck now

April Fools Day!

I could scarcely believe the date when I read the letter allegedly written by David Haythornthwaite headlined “Anti-frackers have been conquered” (Your Say, Gazette, December 31)

Is this seriously the work of one of the leading lights of the recent Defend Lytham campaign against the Kensington Homes Lytham Quays development? Surely not!

Anyway, fracking is a dead duck both locally and internationally, due to the plummeting oil price and history of poisonous contamination of the environment wherever it has been carried out.

Peter Roberts

Clifton Avenue

Warton

HISTORY

The name game at a ‘seasonal feast’

Is there anyone anywhere who has ever heard Lytham referred to by its Domesday Book name as ‘Lide-dun’?

I ask because my husband and I, Lytham born and bred and now in our 70s, heard this pronunciation during an announcement at the Lidun Singers’ outstanding recent concert at Park Street Methodist Church. We could not believe our ears, but yes, those around us confirmed it. Never in our lives have we heard our ancient town called other then ‘Lidd-un’.

Have we all been wrong all these years, or is it that the announcer has known something which the rest of us have always been ignorant of?

Perhaps there will be historians in Lytham who can enlighten us. Nevertheless, nothing could distract the large audience, who enjoyed a true seasonal feast of quality singing interspersed by well chosen readings delivered so well by choir members.

J Salter

East Cliffe

Lytham

FLOODS

EU dredging rules created flood risk

We all know about the recent devastating floods, but not everyone is aware of some of the reasons behind them.

These include the European Water Framework Directive which came into UK law in 2000. This has meant that dredging – a highly effective method of mitigating rising river levels – has virtually halted.

While not explicitly banned the circumstances in which it may be authorised are significantly limited and involve a lengthy assessment process. Any sediment removed from the river bed, which previously may have been used to raise the river banks, is now classed as hazardous waste and must be disposed of.

This restriction on dredging has had a devastating impact, as sadly many many people personally found out last month, particularly in Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Furthermore, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has led to widespread chopping down of trees to meet farm subsidy requirements. But chopping down our trees increases the risk of flooding, as water sinks into the soil 67 times faster under trees than it does under grass.

The situation has also been aggravated by house building being allowed on flood plains. New figures show that new homes are being built in England’s highest-risk flood areas at almost twice the rate of housing outside flood plains.

The Environment Agency may consider that adequate protection is in place but the recent “unprecedented” floods may well became the norm meaning problems are being stored up for tomorrow.

The increasing need for more and more housing would not be such an issue but for uncontrolled immigration. So again another problem created by our EU membership. The answer is simple – we just leave the European Union.

Paul Nuttall

UKIP North West MEP and deputy party leader