Letters - February 7, 2018

The Preesall site planned for Halites gas storage
The Preesall site planned for Halites gas storage
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Have your say

Surely it’s time for a
rethink on gas storage

News that Halite’s dumping of brine is to be delayed by a year is very welcome, if only to allow time for Halite and the Conservative Government to come to their senses.

At a recent presentation for Wyre councillors, when Halite’s CEO Keith Budinger was probed on the daily dumping of up to 80 million litres of brine 2.3km off Rossall, he ignored calls to investigate alternative methods to safely dispose of the brine.

The Halite CEO had several opportunities to agree to re-think this, but steadfastly refused, quoting the Secretary of State’s Consent Order, as though somehow this makes it acceptable to pollute our sea and kill marine life.

Is Halite’s attitude surprising though? After all, once the Conservative Government overruled democratic decisions made locally to stop this scheme, thereby ignoring their own 2011 Localism Act, Halite were effectively given free rein to put profit before people and planet.

With renewable energy expected to be cheaper than fossil fuels in two years according to a recent report, the projected profit margin must be reducing, and perhaps that’s why Halite have refused to properly consider alternatives to their Irish Sea Dead Zone.

The costs of this scheme don’t just last for the 30-40-year lifespan of gas storage, the community will have to live with the Halite legacy long after they disappear from the scene.

With 19 additional new caverns to maintain, Halite are effectively adding to the threat of collapse that residents live with.

It’s difficult to understand why Halite’s scheme wasn’t scrapped immediately after the Paris Agreement signing, but with renewable energy on the up, and so many unacceptable elements to Halite’s scheme, surely it’s time for a re-think.

Coun Lorraine Beavers (Leader)

Coun Rob Fail 
(Deputy Leader)

On behalf of the Wyre Group Of Labour councillors

HEALTH

Yet another flawed benefits disaster

It has not been widely publicised that the government has been forced by the high court to amend their rules on Personal Independent payments (PIPS). The judgement means that every disabled person receiving PIPS will have their case reviewed.

The Department of Work and Pensions has had to make an embarrassing climb-down which has been estimated to cost the tax-payer around £ 3.7bn.

This means that a total of 1.6 million claimants of the main disability assessment will have their benefits reviewed, after the high court verdict found that people with mental health problems were being discriminated against unfairly. The PIP regime has been criticised by disabled campaigners, such as human rights originations, legal officers and even the United Nations for all the suffering, premature deaths and suicides it has caused.

Work capability assessments were outsourced to ATOS until 2014, then Capitus and now Maximus. The cost to the tax payer of over £1bn has been much criticised too, since Ian Duncan Smith introduced them as part of the phasing out of Disability Living Allowance. The Tories also cut the amount of PIP support for people with mental health conditions in 2017. This move was found to be discriminatory by the court and also punitive by limiting the independence for many.

Thus this has been yet another embarrassing and costly u-turn for the government, following so closely behind the Carillion debacle just weeks ago.

Heralded as a flagship overhaul of disability benefits, Personal Independent Payments has turned into yet another flawed and costly disaster for the government. With the cost to taxpayers increasing week by week from outsourcing our health services, public works departments, and now our benefits systems. The government has led the country into unprecedented debt, which is unforgivable given the six years of austerity the working class has endured as well. It is time for a general election to elect a government that stops defending the indefensible and cares more for the poorest and sick in society.

Marjorie Nye

Knowle Avenue
Blackpool

POLITICS

UK’s double standards

I didn’t see the Piers Morgan interview with Donald Trump, but heard Piers bleating on about the scoop of the century on radio and TV.

I don’t really have an opinion on either of them but, listening to Morgan on Radio 2, he said something I hadn’t thought of. He said Britain offering Donald a state visit was not the wrong thing to do as Britain offers the welcome mat to Saudi Arabia and China and we have all heard about the human rights issues these countries are accused of. Yes, Donald may have a bad track record where women are concerned, but in China, women can only have one child. These are abuses as well, but when Britain wants to trade with these nations, the diplomats don’t care.

Jayne Grayson

via email