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Letters - August 8, 2018

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Tory assault on our fire service is deadly

In last week’s Gazette, Fire Service Minister Nick Hurd met firefighters at their Chorley training college (pictured).

We don’t know what they spoke about, but firefighters have warned us over and over again of budget cuts and not having enough firefighters left to keep us safe, with the service cut to ribbons.

Fire deaths have increased, as has the amount of time it takes to respond to an emergency.

Firefighters have seen job losses and the closure of stations. Since the Conservatives took power in 2010, nearly 12,000 front-line jobs have been cut. Scotland has borne the brunt with 1,120 lost, in Wales 300 have been lost, in Greater Manchester, 700, and London 1,400.

In that time 40 fire stations have gone. The Tories have led the longest, most sustained assault on the fire service in its entire history.

The devastating forest fire in Greece was no natural disaster. Cuts to the fire service, firefighting planes grounded, water storage tanks in poor repair and decades of austerity made the Athens fire so deadly.

They heap praise on firefighters after every major incident, yet they do not listen one iota to the professional concerns about the state of an overstretched and underfunded service.

Royston Jones

Anchorsholme

DROUGHT

Where will all the water come from?

I have read about water leaks, usage and the weather.

This is the first drought that we have experienced for several years.

It comes during a period where water companies are completing several flood defence systems to ensure fewer homes and businesses are blighted by constant flooding.

I have long held the opinion that we are not short of water in the UK. We are, however, extremely short in reservoir capacity. With the exception of Kielder reservoir in Northumberland, I’m struggling to think of any major increase in capacity to hold water in recent years.

We are in the middle of a drought year. Yet it is only four months ago that it never stopped raining for weeks. We also had a good fall of snow during the winter and spring.

During this period, our rivers were bank top high with excess water that just flowed out to sea day after day.

Yet here we are struggling for water and a hosepipe ban has only recently been called off.

Reservoirs silt up by natural process year on year, thus reducing capacity to half of what they were built to hold.

If government figures are to believed, 300,000 new homes are to be built every year to meet growing demand. All of these homes will have washing machines and dishwashers, not to mention showers and hosepipes to wash hundreds of thousands of cars.

Yet I’m unaware of any programme of increased holding capacity to meet this growing demand.

Can someone enlighten me as to where all this much needed water will be held to supply all these houses, especially since we are told that long hot summers are to become more of the norm rather than the exception?

Chris Ramus

Address supplied

SOCIETY

Fines are getting totally out of hand

I recently read in the paper about a lady being fined for littering.

She had dropped a cigarette end and was ordered to pay the court over £300.

Who are the people who set these outrageous fines? By all means issue fines for littering but let’s not go raving mad. Some people who are put in a position of power tend to abuse it. There seems to be no limit to what they can demand from you.

How long will it be before we get to £1,000 for a minor offence? Things seem to have got out of hand and are getting worse. Some time ago I wrote about the approach of a police state... well it’s looking like I was right. I am in my eighties so one good thing looking to the future is the thought of dying doesn’t seem as bad - it’s the only way to escape these abuses.

Name and address 
supplied

TRIBUTE

Barry’s still making all of us Chuckle

Imagine the scene as the hearse arrives carrying Barry Chuckle’s coffin.

The pallbearers step forward and ease out his coffin from the hearse, each saying to one another ...

“To me!” “To you!”

Thanks for the laughs, Barry. Even when dead you can still make us chuckle.

Neil Swindlehurst

Via email